Pint-sized porkers as pets? Micro pig craze hits B.C.
Published Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:00AM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, September 3, 2013 10:46AM PDT
With their wrinkled snouts, tiny hooves and bristled hair, micro pigs are becoming a trendy new pet in B.C. But the petite porkers come with a big price tag and they’re not the right pet for everyone.
Chilliwack farmer Jason Phalen is breeding micro or teacup pigs and his sow Jasmine just had her first litter.
“They are very social. They love interaction with people and they’re very good with kids,” said Phalen.
Phalen says the pint-sized porkers are easy to litter box train, they don’t shed or smell. When the pigs are full grown, they reach a height of 10 to 12 inches and weigh about 20 to 25 pounds. They can live up to 20 years.
The breed is growing in popularity, in large part due to celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Honey Boo Boo, who both have owned pet micro pigs.
But some former micro pig owners have a word of warning. Sandy MacKenzie sold her pet pig Sergeant, after the unfixed male got aggressive and began releasing a disgusting odour in her home.
"He would run upstairs and get into my bed, and I'm like “No, now I have to wash the sheets," said MacKenzie.
Other owners have been horrified to watch their cute little piglets grow into big fat pigs, weighing hundreds of pounds.
Phalen says if a breeder won't show you the piglet's parents, don't buy it.
"You're out of luck. If you've paid $1,500 to $2,000 dollars for a piglet and six months later it’s huge," said Phalen.
Geoff Urton, an animal welfare expert with the BC SPCA, is concerned with these types of pet fads.
"People who acquire these animals don't necessarily know what they're getting into and these types of pets tend to be high maintenance," said Urton.
Despite many municipalities like Vancouver prohibiting the ownership of pigs and other farm animals, customers are still purchasing the piglets.
"Dogs bark and dogs smell. So you're going to have your own challenges just like any other pet would," said customer Danielle Henderson.