The pig is a smart, odorless, and clean animal. Likewise, the Pot Belly Pig is a clean, loving, and highly-intelligent breed of pig. As a matter of fact, pigs are considered the fourth smartest of all animals. While this particular breed may need a lot of love and extra patience, it compensates by its unique personality.
Some owners of this pig breed have testified to the extraordinary depth of feelings these animals can display, as well as their highly-affectionate nature, high level of intelligence, and a real capacity to communicate.
This is a domesticated breed of pig, which has its origins in Vietnam. It has 14 sub-species. However, each species is genetically different depending on the location of their origin in Vietnam. Substantially smaller compared to the European or American farm pigs, the adults of this breed are around the size of a large or medium-sized breed of dog.
However, their body is denser, with a weight of 20 to 300 pounds (8 to 136 kg). They can be distinguished quite easily from other breeds of pigs by their straight tail, upright ears, and of course their size.
Compared to the regular farm pig, these pigs are relatively miniature in size, which is why they are often referred to as Miniature Pot Belly Pigs. They range from 13 to 20 inches in height, with an average weight of 130 to 150 pounds. However, if they are overfed and become obese, their weight can go over 200 pounds.
They come in a variety of weights and sizes. When exercised and fed properly, they grow to an optimum size, according to their genetic makeup. However, their weight can be affected by lack of exercise, underfeeding, or overfeeding, just like human beings. This can lead to serious health problems.
These pigs become full-grown at the age of 3 to 4 years. Their average life expectancy is 10 to 15 years, if they are taken good care of and kept on a proper diet.
They have a gestation period of 110 to 115 days. However, it is recommended to get your pig neutered or sterilized if you do not wish to breed them. Getting this done is also said to reduce their aggression during mating season. Also, it is recommended to get their hooves and tusks clipped. However, this should be done after consultation with the vet.
Like people, pigs love eating. It is important to feed this breed proper amounts and types of food. There are a number of companies that produce food which is specifically designed for them, containing all the nutrients they require, particularly protein, which they must have and cannot prepare by themselves.
Keep in mind that this breed is an omnivore and not a herbivore. In its natural habitat, it gets its protein from bugs, worms, dead animals, and so on. Part of taking good care of your pig is giving it a proper diet. It needs to be fed at least twice in a day.
Desist from feeding it cat or dog food, because the amount of protein in them is too high. You can give these in an emergency, like if you run out of feed. However, it should not be continued for too long. The feed should contain about 12-14 percent of protein, and not have too much fat.
The amount of feed should be cut only if your pig grazes extensively. Also, they should not be fed food meant for human beings, or they will become unhealthy and fat. Basically, this animal's diet should be akin to a healthy diet for humans, low in fat, devoid of sugars and junk food, and fed in adequate amounts without overfeeding.
The following foods should be given only in limited amounts to this pig.
- Spinach: The sodium content is very high - okay to feed as long as your pig has enough drinking water.
- Tomatoes: Very acidic.
- Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Potatoes: High in calories and starchy.
- Corn: High in calories because of the fructose .
- Fruits: The fructose makes them high in calories
Many unscrupulous breeders tell people that by underfeeding, this pig will remain small. However, this can lead to deformities and other serious health problems, and is cruel.
Other Foods and Treats
Unsalted, un-buttered, plain air-popped corn, shredded wheat in bite-size pieces, and Cheerios are some of the treats that are most popular. These are specially made for training purposes, which come in peanut butter and apple flavors, while others have tiny pieces of cheese and grapes.
Remember that pigs have a penchant for cheese, so ensure not to give them too much of it. Also, they should not be fed chocolate, because according to some reports, it can be deadly for them. As a matter of fact, it's best to avoid feeding your pig any kind of candy. Also, provide enough clean drinking water, because they need it just as much as we do.
Taking care of this pig is not very difficult, but it requires some effort. However, their loving nature and sweet disposition are worth it.