20th April 2014
Thumbelina, Thumbelina, Tiny Little Thumbelina
Now our newest friend might be small in stature but she is not small in spirit and she most certainly has us scratching our heads as we ponder, “Can anyone be too cute for their own good?” And when it comes to ‘mini’ pigs, the answer is most certainly a resounding YES!!! Now before you all go swooning over little Thumbelina, screaming, “I want one!” there are several things you need to consider for the welfare of the dear piggy and your own sanity. Sadly all too often now we are being contacted by members of the public who wish to surrender their once pint sized piggy or we are learning that council pounds are now adding ‘pigs’ to the list of animals regularly being found lost or abandoned. So here’s a few things you need to consider before adding a pig or two to your heart and home.
- Not all councils will allow you to keep a pig of any size. And this comes with good reason; pigs love to be, well, pigs! They can make noise, they love to dig and are incredibly social animals who love company and suburban backyards and busy lifestyles most definitely cannot accommodate these things.
- Pigs love to dig! Yep, that’s such an undeniable fact that is deserves its own category! When it comes to pigs, they are hardwired to do this. And while a ring placed in their nose may prevent them from digging, it cannot stop their desire to do so, only serving to frustrate and cause pain to the pig.
- In bringing a pig into your world, you are looking at a 10 -15 year commitment. And bear in mind that pigs bond very strongly with their human carers, more so than some dogs, and they suffer terribly when separated from their carer. It is very difficult to rehome a once tiny and cute piglet who has morphed into a boisterous and spoilt large pig. The very reasons many people wish to surrender a pig are the very same reasons few are prepared to take them on.
- Pigs are incredibly social animals and just love company, a solitary pig can become very lonely and bored. As such, they will not hesitate to get up to mischief and mayhem to amuse themselves, which many carers funnily enough do not find anywhere near as amusing!
- In a society that is already struggling to cope with an ever-growing number of unwanted cats and dogs, do we really need to bring another species into the mix? If you truly have your heart set on caring for a pig, why not volunteer at a farm animal rescue sanctuary and tend to one of the many lucky rescued piggies in their care? We know the piggy will love this and so too will that sanctuary.
- Now there is small and there is huge! While they may look cute now, even tiny pigs like Thumbelina can grow to be around 60- 100kgs. Did you know that most animals (including humans) end up 20 to 40 times heavier than their birth weight? Although pigs are an exception! An average piglet is approximately 250gms when born but can burgeon out to a robust adult weighing in at 250 – 350kgs or more. That’s over 1,000 times his or her birth weight! And while there is much conjecture as to whether there is such thing as a real miniature pig, we most certainly know that pigs come in all shapes and sizes. Oh and personalities, too! Many people are breeding for a market of ‘small’ and personable pet piggies. However, what they have done to do this is breed small to small, selling the resulting offspring. Sadly there are unscrupulous people selling piglets from various breeds, stating that they are mini pigs, for the unwitting humans to then find the only thing small about their new friend has been their lack of research! What we are also witnessing is a number of genetic abnormalities in our ‘small’ piggy friends and the trotter is firmly pointed at a limited gene pool for this. Those who breed companion pigs too have a duty of care for the animals they bring into this world. While many truly do love these adorable fun loving and inquisitive little critters and go to great lengths to ensure a happy outcome for both piggy and person, others sadly do not. Please, please do your research. And despite what anyone will tell you, Australia does not have any Pot Belly pigs or Tea Cup pigs as our quarantine laws prevent their entering this country.
- A pig is for life not a fashion accessory. Need we say more?!
And while Thumbelina didn’t arrive at Edgar’s Mission on a swallow’s back, she most certainly has reached the land of sunshine for piggies, where flowers and a handsome pig (or two) await.
Oh and one more thing, pigs are for lovin’ not the oven! (Regardless of what size they are.)