Friday, April 22, 2011
There are many animal lovers who are fooled into thinking that the pigs will stay tiny and then when they grow to be a lot larger than they expected, they end up in Sanctuaries. I would like to put all the blame on the people who buy these pigs, but I don't think thats the case. I made the mistake, 12 years ago, of believing the Royal Dandies were tiny pigs. Until I had pigs, I was never in touch with other pig people so really didn't have any of the information that I do today. I saw something about them on the web, got excited about it and went ahead and contacted the breeder. Knowing what I do today, I am really angry with myself for doing that.
When I buy a new appliance for my home, I research it before I buy, yet I was stupid enough back then not to do that for a living being. I love my Royal Dandie and it didn't matter how big he grew, he's 12 now and about 120lbs and I love him as much, if not more, than I did when he was 10lbs. But it does matter to a lot of people. Many because they just don't have the space and many because they can't carry around such a large accessory.
I feel badly for the people who genuinely love their pigs but can't keep them. I have no sympathy whatsoever for those who see them as an accessory or a way to get attention.
Thankfully, today there are way more resources out there for people to get information. Back when I bought my Royal Dandie, doing a search basically only showed up pigs for sale. However, I'm not using that as an excuse for supporting a breeder who lied. I should have taken more time and contacted other pig people and got the entire story. I really hope that with all the resources out there today, people will take the time to learn as much as they can.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
1. I just love pigs
2. I want a pig.
3. I want a small pig
4. I want one that will never get over 30 to 35 lbs.
Why is it that people claim to love the pig and want one for a pet but they don’t want a pig.
They don’t want an animal (pig) that will get dirty; eat their flowers; root up the yard; and they don’t want it to be a normal size. Answer is easy. They want to be in the craze but they really don’t love or want a pig.
So many breeders out there selling their lies and people are buying into them. One is the Julianni pig from Germany commonly called the painted miniature pig. Back in the early to mid 1990's several breeders bred them. But like the Royal White which was a cross between a Swiss Miniature and a potbelly, they grew to be about 300 lbs and people didn’t want them. So the breed died out. Then came the Julianni’s and low and behold they also grew to about 300 lbs. They were a mixture of reds and silvers. Some that started out red, would actually change to a silver color as it matured.
While living in Florida at the time, we were fortunate enough to rescue a couple from Marco Island from an old German man who had brought his breeding stock over from Germany but after awhile when he couldn’t make a lot of money decided to let us place them for him into homes and sanctuaries. To me, they were a very beautiful pig.
Then some breeders got the idea to mix them with the potbelly to get them smaller. That worked for awhile but soon, they too were considered to be to large for the average pig person to want in their homes. Then a breeder up in NY decided to experiment with them and soon produced some spotted Julianni pigs which were smaller. She made a good living selling breeding stock around the US. And so the craze went on. They just needed them smaller so breeder kept line breeding (actually INBREEDING) and marketing them as Julianni pigs. What a lie. They have a lot more potbelly in them then julianni. In fact I doubt that the DNA on them would show any of the original Julianni line in them at all. But, hey, anything to make a buck.
But genes don’t lie and most don’t stay small. Sanctuaries are busting at the seems with this craze for micro mini and Julianni and Teacup piggies. The ones that do remain small usually don’t have a long life span and many develop health issues by the time they mature.
Do these people buying and purchasing them really love the pet pig? Pig lovers love the pig no matter the size or color. They love the companionship they give and to snuggle with them and love on them. Size doesn’t enter the picture. It is time for breeders to STOP the nonsense and to be honest and quit spreading their lies about them.
Just this week we received a call where a man and girl bought on and was sold a special “pig food” made up of mostly bird seed and just a few pig pellets and told to feed it 1/4 cup once or twice a day. When they took it to the vet because it wasn’t thriving like it should, they showed the veterinarian the food. His response was “that is the reason. Throw it out and get miniature pig pellets for this pig.” Now it is running and playing and growing and is a very happy pig. And it is growing normally. Yet if they had not taken it to the veterinarian, it probably would have died from malnutrition. How sad that we stand by and allow breeders to peddle their garbage and lies just to make a buck. And at the expense of the naive person who hasn’t a clue about loving or raising a pig.
Time to get real and quit the nonsense. Time to get the word out. If you want a pig and size matters, then buy a guinea pig, not a Teacup or Julianni micro mini. They do grow up. Or at least most do. So before buying, do your homework. With the Internet, your education on pet pigs in unlimited. Just search for them and read a lot. Visit a sanctuary in your state. Don’t just take a breeders word. They only want your money and they sure don’t love the pet pig.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
When breeders tell you that they will never be over 35 - 40 lbs, they are selling for the money and not telling the truth. Although breeders have done a great job of breeding them down in size, if you look at our history pages at http://www.farec.org you will find that the first ones that came over and into the United States weighed in excess of 225# when they died. Because of that genetic come into play and size can never be guaranteed. Also the smaller they are as adults, they develop more health issues.
So please do your homework first. Then consider adopting versus buying from a breeder. Rescues will be truthful as they are not in it to make big bucks.
But what is the truth about the new craze of "teacup," "micro-mini" and other super-small pigs such as the "Royal Dandy." They are just so cute and many movie stars are buying them up. You see them on the news and in the tabloids, so you want to own one too.
First let's look at pigs and their sizes. Below is the average size of normal pigs.
Farm Hog - 700 to 1200 pounds at maturity.
Feral or wild hogs - 450 to 700 pounds at maturity
Kune Kune Pigs - (Originally from New Zealand) 100 to 250 pounds at maturity.
Potbellied pigs - 80 to 140 pounds at maturity.
(And they mixed ALL these breeds to get a smaller pig???? Let me do my math.)
When do pigs mature? Not until they are over 3 ½ yrs old. So just how do these breeders get them to stay so small? Read on for the truth.
Back in the mid 1980's when the Viet Nam pigs were brought over to Canada and then down into the United States, people thought they would stay small because they were being bred young and sold young. But the truth of the matter was that they didn't stop growing until way over three years old. All of them were way over two hundred pounds when they died. But breeders started breeding them down by picking out the smallest of the litter and breeding it to another small one from another breeder. Breeders call this "line breeding" but in essence it is "inbreeding" which produces smaller pigs. But the problems become more pronounced. The more inbred, the longer the snouts and legs become. Also they would take a pig with one of those squished up snouts and breed with another like it so that the snouts because shorter and more squished looking. Again problems have developed in practicing this procedure. They actually develop problems within the snout which causes a lot of breathing problems. Some of these problems are not seen until the pig begins to age. But by then the breeder has sold it and it is no longer their problem but the problem of the new owner.
The good thing that did happen to the potbellied pigs was when they did get them smaller, the veterinarians would give an average range of 80 to 140 pounds as being normal. Yet that was not enough. Breeders wanted to make more money on them because the funds had dropped to nothing on the average potbelly and people heard the word miniature and thought of that miniature toy poodle.
Today we have over three hundred pig sanctuaries and rescues across the USA. Most are 501(c)(3) non-profits and all are now bulging at the seams and over-flowing with unwanted pigs that don't stay forty pounds. And they root just like normal pigs. So they get dumped in kill shelters, on back roads, and some sneak in and put them over the fences of nearby sanctuaries. Potbellies are selling at auctions for one to five dollars. Many backyard breeders are now breeding them with other type of pigs, and of course they get a lot larger.
One teacup breeder that I spoke with on the phone told me that her "teacups" were guaranteed to stay small. That she had mixed the potbelly with the ferals and Kune Kunes. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at their normal size and see a problem in the future. All the mini, micro-mini, and teacups will produce a recessive gene from time to time, and then the pig turns out normal, but way too big for the "teacup buyer." So another pig gets dumped through no fault of it's own.
Another problem with the "teacups" is their health. Their life span is shortened to an average of 5 to 6 years compared to a normal pig that will live to be 15 to 20 years old. Their bones quit growing but their inner organs continue to grow and become crowed on the inside until something has to give. The pig dies a painful death most of the time. The more inbred, the more the health problems.
Pigs are herd animals. They do make great pets for the right people but the right people are few and far between. If you can't have two then they require lots of interaction so they feel that they are a part of a herd. The family becomes their herd and with it comes all the problems of a herd. They set a pecking order and if you don't have a dominate personality, it will rule you. Some owners over-feed them until they are so fat they can't walk and arthritis sets in and they become crippled. This is no life for any pig.
So the bottom line is . . . If size is important to you, don't get a pig. If you do, please do your research and learn about them and their care first. Don't wait and then break the heart of a pig that has grown attached to you and loves you. No one will criticize you for not getting a pig, but if you get one and dump it or abuse it, they will.
If you would like more information on "teacups, micro-mini, and miniatures," please contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you buy from a breeder, don't just take their word that it will stay small. Contact sanctuaries and see how many of them are in the sanctuaries around the country. You owe that much to yourself and to the pig you might think you want.
More Info on Teacups and other miniatures at http://www.teacuppig.info/