Kimber Ranch

When I was in the market for my pigs, I didn't know where to begin.  Below is some information that might help you in your search.  If you get your pig from a breeder, they should be willing to provide this information and answer any of your questions. 

Appearance

  • Spotting:  If you are buying a Juliana mini pig, it should have spots all over its entire body.  Of course, some pigs will be more spotted than others.  All of the littermates and both of the parents should have spots as well. This is the most common issue that I come across in the business.  A lot of people do not realize that Juliana pigs are their own special breed.  Many people, including some breeders, think that Juliana is a size category, like micro or micro mini. 
  • Conformation: Juliana pigs look different than regular potbellied pigs.  They have a slender look to them.  Their heads are more proportionate to their bodies, their legs are usually a little longer, they should not have a big belly, and their noses are longer.  They also have a line of longer hair along their topline that makes them look like they have a mohawk.  This comes in with time, so you won't see it in the babies. 
  • Parents:  When you buy your pig, see pictures of the parents.  Also, ask how old the parents are.  Pigs grow for 3+ years, but the majority of growth is in the first year.  Pigs can breed as early as 4 or 5 months old.  Some people brag that they have ten pound parents, but the parents aren't done growing.
  • Size:  Pigs are living creatures; you can not be positive on how big they are going to be.  You can guess based on their parents' sizes when they are full grown.  Most will be around that size, but there will be some that are bigger and some that are smaller.  Juliana pigs weigh 15-50 pounds.  If you are not prepared to own a 50 pound pig, you should not get a pig.  When looking at photographs, take in the setting and be wary of props.  Illusions are easy to create.  If the pig is next to something as a size reference, make sure that the item is actually next to the pig in the picture.  If the small item is closer to the camera than the pig, it will make the pig look smaller than it actually is.  

Medical

  • Vet check:  The fact that you are told your pig is vet checked before it leaves for its new home isn't enough.  Ask what the vet check includes.  Some vets consider a check to be a TPR check (temperature, pulse, respiration).  Others will be more thorough.  The more that they are examined, the better.
  • Vaccinations:  Although a lot of people don't find it necessary to vaccinate, I believe that it is really important.  It really doesn't cost much at all and it can save your from a lot of heartache.
  • Deworming: Ask the previous owner about the deworming schedule and find out what kind of dewormer is used.  There are several types of dewormer, and they all treat different parasites.  When you get to your pig, ask your breeder or a vet what deworming program they would suggest.  Again, it costs very little to deworm, but it has great benefits.
  • Spay/Neuter: Your pet should come spayed or neutered.  There are serious behavioral issues that you can avoid with this simple procedure.  Also, males smell awful without being neutered.  Females are frequently very moody.  Pigs are prone to reproductive masses if they are not spayed or neutered.  These can be hard to diagnose and can be fatal.  These masses are easily avoided with spaying and neutering.

Behavioral

  • Rearing:  Ask the breeder if they bottle feed their babies.  A lot of people think that bottle feeding is beneficial because the pigs are handled more.  This is not true.  Pigs will not receive passive immunity from their mother's milk if they are bottle fed.  These antibodies are necessary for your pig to be as healthy as possible.
  • Handling:  Ask about the breeder's socalization program.  Everyone does it differently.  The more your pig has been handled, the easier it will be for it to adjust to new things.  Every single pig is different.  All of them have very different personalities. Some are naturally shy, others are bossy.  The breeder should know the pigs well enough to be able to tell you if they have a personality that matches what you are looking for.  Some breeders raise their piglets outside and don't handle them much.  This works just fine in many instances.  Others raise them indoors as pets.  Everyone's style works well for them.  It's just important that you find a style that matches up with what you are looking for.
  • Litterbox Training: Ask if the pig is litterbox trained.  If not, it's not a big deal.  Pigs are naturally very neat animals.  They can learn how to use a litterbox in as little as a few days.  Generally, they catch on much faster than a puppy.  If your potential new pig is litterbox trained, ask the breeder what they use.  There will be fewer accidents if you try to do the same thing.  Using pine pellets when your breeder uses shavings, or vice versa, can confuse the pig.  Ultimately, a little patience will go a long way.  

Support

  • Return Policy:  When you shop around, ask if the breeder has a return policy.  You may find that owning a pig is not something that you are prepared for.  If that's the case, the previous owner should be willing to take it back.
  • Support:  You should be able to contact your breeder at any time with any questions or concern.  A good breeder will care about the well being of their animals and will do everything that they can to help you.
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