Life with a mini pig and baby.
We got a pet pig almost five years ago because I’m a crazy animal person and because life at that point had become…easy. Settle in and read how life has changed.
Many people ask me what it’s like to have a pet pig. If I don’t refer them to one of the first posts on this website to understand what having a pet pig entails (you may want to cover your ears), I sum it up for them in one word: challenging.
Long ago are the days of a sweet snorting baby piglet, too adorable for words (albeit too loud for ears), weighing just two pounds. Some of you may remember the most popular video we ever posted: Cocco running and squealing and then giving me piggy kisses, something that I was so proud to have earned. Or this one, even cuter in my opinion, of our baby pig licking frozen yogurt.
However, the truth is, having a mini pig is draining. I was not aware of what I was getting my family into since there were not many mini pig resources available other than breeders’ websites, which of course offer very biased information. So I started this website. I wanted to inform others firsthand what it is like to have a pet mini pig, the good and the bad.
In short, I could never raise a mini pig again, at least with young kids in the house. The amount of patience and persistence required to help a mini pig adjust to a new home and family is overwhelming. In my opinion, raising a puppy is a piece of cake compared to a mini pig. The squeals, screams really, were so bad I remember putting earplugs in just to be able to hold my piglet. I remember the satisfaction of finally holding my baby piglet after many struggles. And I remember the anxiety of having to walk five feet after successfully holding my baby piglet to go put him back down.
Having a piglet is much like having a human baby. And when your piglet is not a piglet anymore but a full grown four and a half year old pig, you’re left with a perpetual toddler. One that you need to find a lot of sunlight and warmth for to deter his habitual hunts for food scraps.
So, what is life like with a mini pig – aka pet toddler – and a human baby?
There is no better word than chaos.
Aside from the fact that we have baby gates up all over our house, not for our baby but for our pig, it is a constant shuffle of baby feet and tip tapping hooves. We cannot let Cocco in certain rooms anymore because he has had “intentional accidents” and once a pig has an accident, intentional or not, it’s almost impossible to stop them from going back there. We’ve replaced carpets, blockaded off sections of hardwood and drilled holes in the wall to prevent these accidents from reoccurring. We have had to change more in our house for our pig than for any other reason.
The gates, however, are now posing a problem for our mobile 14 month old baby that wants in when he wants in and wants out when he wants out.
This 14 month old is also often carrying around a yummy baby snack. And even if he’s not carrying around a snack the pig still has to make sure he doesn’t have any leftovers to lick off his face.
While Cocco has never snapped at or tried to bite our baby, he has definitely “tasted” his fingers, even when there was nothing in them. We are working with Cocco on gentle eating, meaning he takes food from our hands without using his teeth, and he has been doing a great job. But a pig is a pig. And when a pig smells food, lessons are quickly forgotten.
This past year has been tough. It’s a juggle between spending enough time with everyone, teaching a pig to be gentle with a baby and a baby to be respectful of a pig. Our baby is fascinated by the pets and often does “nice” to Cocco and Cocco is a champ and just snorts back. But at the end of the day, with his tusks and all, I cannot fully trust that Cocco wouldn’t eventually have enough of the baby love and turn and react. I am constantly on watch and having to open and close gates nonstop so the pig can’t get in and the baby can get out.
With all that said, I am so grateful to be raising my baby to love and appreciate animals of different species. I couldn’t imagine not having a pet pig, despite all the challenges he has thrown our way. Cocco is a part of this family and I am proud that my kids get to experience a pet as unique as a mini pig. I would encourage anyone wanting a mini pig to do your research, ask people with personal experience and not just mini pig breeders, and think long and hard about how much a mini pig changes your day to day life.
I don’t personally know of anyone that loves animals as much as I do, except my daughter. I wish I did know more. But I am crazy about animals. And for anyone that tells me they wish they had a pet pig, I am quick to tell them they probably aren’t crazy enough to do so. Then again, sometimes a little less crazy might be…easy.
This post has been a long time coming! I have had so many people question what it’s like to have a pet pig and a baby and I wanted to update so people are aware and prepared if that’s the path they plan to take. I also wanted to fill my readers in on life with three kids, a mini pig, dog and cat.
I have to give a shout out to my long standing partner, Fotor.com. I have made all these collages and edited the photos with Fotor. If you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend the free photo editing app if you are as busy as I am and want to make a quick collage or edit a photo on your phone.
Now, off to open and close another baby gate!
~ Katie, an ever busy mom of six