Ultimate Guide to Life With Pigs Part 2
If you haven't read it already, check out Part 1 of this guide.
How Often Will You be Away from Home?
Pigs are extremely social animals. They will bond with you quickly and will want to spend time with you. If you and your family's schedule is such that your pig or pigs will constantly be left alone at home, you should likely avoid having pigs as companion animals. Pigs want consistent feeding times. And they are very curious and with their strong snouts, will likely find their way into trouble if always left alone. If most of their life will be spent stuck in a crate, your pigs will be very unhappy which can lead to aggression or depression.
If you have a fairly consistent schedule or family members that can help out with taking care of a pig companion, this will help ensure you have a happier pig. You may want to crate train your pig or have a room set aside as your pig's private room. This will be a space the pig can go when they feel like being alone. But, also it will be a place you can leave your pig when away from home so that they are not a danger to themselves our your home while you are away. We are able to leave our three pigs out with a 99% chance that they will be snuggled up on the couch when we get home. And it likely helps that we have 3 pigs, and this gives them someone to interact with when we are away. Though, most of the time, there is someone home and likely sneaking some cuddling time with Millie, Pumpkin and Charlotte.
But, when we first brought home Pumpkin and Charlotte, we built an indoor 8'x8' pig pen. And this was ideal as they adjusted to life in our condo. Plus, we were able to adjust to life with pigs while having a safe place for them to cuddle up and have use of a litter-box. Overtime, we realized that we were no longer using it and now the pigs are given free reign in the living room, dinning room and kitchen areas of our house whether we are here or not.
You can find some great ideas here at Mini Pig Info for different types of indoor setups for housing your pigs.
Getting Outside with Your Pigs
One difficulty with living in a condo or an apartment will be access to the outdoors. Clearly, you won't have a private yard that you can fence in. So, harness training will be essential. This is especially true at first when you aren't sure whether your pig will run off. The first day we had Millie at our Condo, she got loose and we spent 20 minutes in 100 degree temperatures trying to get her back in the harness. Pigs can be quite fast, so don't assume you can just catch them if they run off.
If you don't have access to a yard with grass, you will also want to find places you can take your pig nearby. Local parks are usually pet friendly, especially if you demonstrate that your pig is well-behaved and walks on a leash. Charlotte and Millie love to go hiking. When not distracted by acorns, they can keep up quite well with my family. Though, you will have to get used to hearing the phrase, "That's a pig!" Apparently, people do not expect to run into a pig while out on the trail.
And the sooner you start taking your pigs out in public, the quicker they will get used to it. This also helps with socializing your pig so that they are used to meeting new people. All three of our pigs are great around strangers and even Pumpkin, who once seemed like she was distrustful of people (since to her they were the people that took her babies away), now enjoys meeting people and will gladly let strangers pet her.
For Part 3: Can Mini Pigs Be Destructive? Click Here