Bringing a Pet Pig into Your Home
Had you asked me if I thought I'd ever live with three pigs in a condo, my answer would have been to laugh at the mere thought. For one, most apartment and condo complexes have rules prohibiting certain types and sizes of animals. And there is still the misconception that pigs are dirty animals that will hurt property values by being destructive and smelly.
But, we have found that our three 'mini' pigs have made the perfect companion animals for our condo life. In fact, we find that our pigs are often less work and needy than our Yorkie Emmie. Keep in mind, that just like with dogs, all pigs have their own personalities and volume levels. Much of your experience will depend on your exact situation and the pig that you adopt (and adopting an older pig will ensure you don't end up with a 300 pound pig in your condo/apartment). We assume that we have been quite fortunate to have 3 rather easy going pigs. Also remember that at the time of writing this, 2 of our pigs are still young and not full sized. And much of the advice in this article will hold true for people living in single family homes as well.
The First Step
The first thing you need to do is check your town and complex ordinances to make sure that you can legally have a pig living with you where you are. If you find that it is currently not permitted, there are resources available to help get ordinances changed. Often, ordinances were written before smaller pigs were known to make great companion animals. And the other things that I consider being part of the first step is preparing yourself for the fact that most pigs will end up being much larger than 75 pounds (the size of our full grown pig Pumpkin). For more information on what to expect in regards to size, click here.
Are Their Any Messes?
Pigs are very clean animals. Part of their instinct is not to use the bathroom where they live. This goes back to the time when they lived in the wild. Using their living space as a bathroom would have resulted in predators being able to locate the herd (sounder) of pigs. So, most pigs have a relatively easy time figuring out how to use a litter-box or hold it until they are outside away from where they sleep and eat. All three of our pigs were very quick to learn to use their liter-box. Pumpkin had lived outside for most of her first five years of life and easily transitioned to using a liter-box. And at 6 weeks old, it was actually Charlotte who may have taught her mom to use the litter-box. Upon arriving in our condo for the first time, she immediately walked into our makeshift litter-box. Her mom's (Pumpkin) first attempt to use the litter-box was perfect except that the tray we were using was too short. Her back end hung just over the side and we quickly learned that Noah had nothing on us in regards to dealing with floods.
It was at that point that we invested in a Great Dane sized Sky Kennel and used the bottom as a litter-box. This allowed Pumpkin to fit her whole body in with plenty of space to turn around and back into a corner to use the bathroom. And since then, we have had maybe one or two accidents which can likely be written off as Charlotte simply being a piglet with a tiny bladder. And Millie had almost no issue with learning to use the litter-box either. Now that Charlotte is 1 year old, she and her mom usually hold it until I carry them outside. And Millie seems to have flawless control in regards to using her giant litter-box.
A Video of Noisy Little Millie
Aren't Pigs Noisy?
Pumpkin and Charlotte are both surprisingly quiet pigs. But Millie can be quite loud. She is constantly making low grunting noises while wandering around. Though, these noises likely cannot be heard through walls. But, she does have a strange habit of having to announce her arrival when she jumps up on the couch to join us or her adopted sister and mom. She can make as much noise as a whole farm of pigs. We are fortunate in that our neighbors swear they don't hear a thing. But, this could be an issue for people living in places with thinner walls or more sensitive neighbors.
One other issue you might run into is that some pigs absolutely hate being carried. Pumpkin and Charlotte will both allow me to pick them up with minimum noise or resistance. In fact, Charlotte will let me carry her for miles and just relax and get comfortable. Millie is a different story. She squeals like a fire siren every time she is picked up. So, if you think that you may be needing to carry your pig down stairs (more on that later), this is something to factor in when considering adopting a pig.
Though, keep in mind that just as most dogs will occasionally make noise, it cannot be expected that pigs will be silent. So, neighbors should be able to handle as much noise from a pig as they do from a dog. It would be quite strange if the occasionally barking and whining from dogs could be tolerated but pigs were given no leeway at all. I believe the best approach is just communicating with your neighbors and assuring them that you are not going to create a situation that disrupts their lives in any significant way.
One way to avoid ending up with a extremely noisy pig is by rescuing a pig. And I cannot stress enough that no one should ever buy a piglet from a breeder. Their are endless pigs out their at rescues needing homes. And it does not require having a piglet to form a strong bond with your companion. Pumpkin was 5 years old when we adopted her and she is now one of my best friends. She cuddles up with us on the couch and has become quite attached to us. And one of the best parts of adopting a rescue pig is that you can get to know their personality before adopting them. This will ensure that you don't end up in a situation where you will need to re-home your pig. Rescues can help ensure that the pig you adopt will be a good fit for your lifestyle and living situation. They will know which pigs are talkers and which pigs are the more thoughtful quiet type.