Finding a Good Breeder

How do you find a good breeder of  pet pigs?

As you probably expect, there are good breeders who work hard and do everything they can to ensure you end up with a healthy, well-bred, wonderful pet. There are others who are, shall we say, less than ethical.

Your job, as a potential purchaser of a pet pig, is to try to figure out who’s who.

Taking on a piggy, as with any pet who will live many years, is a huge commitment. It is well worth your time to do your research beforehand so that you get the type of companion animal that you’re looking for.

Please, please do your research! After your spend time looking through a number of websites, you’ll start to get a feel for which ones are the breeders you may want to deal with, and which are the ones you want to stay far away from.

Here are some questions and ideas to consider:

Does the breeder have up-to-date pictures of the breeding stock? All piggies start out tiny (and cute!). You want to see what the adult parents look like!

Where is the breeding facility? Are you allowed to or encouraged to visit? If not, you really have to wonder why.

How long have they been breeding? How old are the parent piggies? We took over an existing flock, so our eldest pigs are now five years old.  All of our breeding sows and boars are premium breeding stock.

What ages are the current breeding stock? The sows are physically ready to start breeding around five months of age, and the boars are ready even earlier. We feel that a piggy that young is way too immature to become good parent piggies. At five or six months, a piglet still has quite a bit of growing and maturing to do. We will not breed any pigs before they reach at least one year of age, and we will only breed each sow once in a twelve-month period. Giving the mama pigs a rest in between litters keep them healthy and strong, and will produce healthier piglets.

If you can’t get to the breeding facility to see the breeding stock for yourself, then ask if the breeder can send you a recent picture of the sow and boar who are going to be bred (if there aren’t already very recent pictures on their website). An ethical breeder should be very proud to show you the current size of their breeding stock.

Piglets will grow to approximately the size of the parents.  If you aren’t comfortable with the size of the parents, you won’t like the size that you piglet will eventually grow to.

If you’re looking at a breeder’s website and they use terms like “micro-mini” or “teacup” pigs, but they don’t provide actual size information, then you need to ask them directly what they mean by whichever term they are using

Does the price include the spay/neuter? Pet pigs NEED to be altered or they do not make pleasant pets. If a breeder does not go the expense of making sure that all piglets are neutered or spayed, that should throw up a red flag. Yes, it expensive surgery, but you don’t want an intact piggy making a mess of your house. Females go into heat about every three weeks, and the intact males always want to demonstrate that they know what their job is.  Another thing to consider is that the cost of spaying or neutering an older, larger piggy can be higher. You may “save money” by buying a less expensive piglet, but you may end up paying out a lot more when you end up having to arrange the spaying or neutering yourself.

How are the breeding pigs housed? Do these piggies get to play outside? Or are they caged in a pen all the time? Our pigs are out in their own little barn and have access to outdoor pens in good weather. Piggies really don’t like to be outside in very cold weather. We open the door for them, but they say, “No thanks!”

How well socialized are the breeding stock? You will want to know if the parents of the piglets are well socialized, well-behaved, well-mannered adults who are used to being handled. This will help to determine if the piglets will be well-behaved, well-mannered pigs. Our Little Piggy is located on the Heal with Horses farm. Besides the daily time scheduled for care and interaction with the piggies, there are almost always volunteers and visitors around who stop to visit with the piggies because they’re just soooo cute. Suzanne’s children usually feed the pigs and visit with them, and often bring their friends, too.

Does the breeder have a website? In this day and age, it would be very unusual for a serious breeder not to have a website. Being a serious breeder requires the investment of a lot of time and effort, not to mention a large financial investment. A website is a natural part of that investment.

Does the breeder’s website answer your questions? We believe that by the time you’ve studied a website, you should feel like you’re pretty well educated about the breeder’s program.

Why shouldn’t I just buy a piglet at a flea market or pet show? Reputable breeders want you to be well-educated about piggy ownership before you sign on the dotted line. It’s not a decision to rush into if you want a wonderful outcome. There are lots of stories on the internet about people buying a “micro-mini” pig that grows much, much larger than they were expecting. There are reasons why humane societies always require you to apply to adopt an animal at least 24 hours before you pick it up. It’s way too easy to fall in love with a cutie and want to take it home without giving it serious thought. We want ALL of our clients to make an educated decision about purchasing a piglet.

Is your breeder available to answer your future questions?  We wish that we could help everyone who has questions, but that’s just not realistic. For our Our Little Piggy clients who have purchased their little pet from us, we offer online support whenever they need it.

For people who have purchased their pet pigs elsewhere, we invite you to use our site to educate yourself as much as possible. We have sections on feeding, skin care, hoof trimming, and other basic care. Hopefully you will find some of the answers to your questions there. We also encourage you to educate yourself from other sources. The more education you have on the subject, the better the piggy parent you will be.

Thank you for reading this page. We hope that we’ve helped you to recognize the good breeders.