So, you want to (or have to) find a new home for your pet pig. Should you accept the first offer you get over the telephone or the Internet? Or perhaps you could give it to your neighbor, a petting zoo, or a farmer down the road?
My answer is NO!
Please, be careful whom you give your pig to. The wrong choice could make a huge difference in the quality of your pig’s life. We’ve all heard the stories about people who adopt pet pigs and sell them for medical research, fight them, or just don’t treat them properly. Well, the same is true for pigs. In fact, things may be worse for some pigs because they could be viewed as the next “guest of honor” at the family barbeque or disposed of at a slaughterhouse!
What Can You Do?
There are pig rescues and adoption services all over the country. I would always advise enlisting the help of a rescue to find a new home for your pig. Some rescues will have applications and other screening devices to help determine if the prospective new home will be a good one for your pig. Rescues also have Adoption Contracts that outline the rights and responsibilities of pet pig ownership and can help you get the pig back if it’s not treated properly.
If you can’t find a rescue in your area, but you have someone interested in your pig, don’t necessarily take the first offer you get. It may be a spur of the moment decision.
Screen the new home very carefully. Be sure the prospective parent reads up on the care of potbellied pigs, and share any potbellied pig information you have with them.
Suggestions for Adoption Screening
- Why do you want a pig?
- What is your home like?
- Do you have a secure area in your yard for the pig to use during outside time?
- Who will care for the pig while on vacation or otherwise out of town?
- Do you have other animals? What kinds?
- Who will be the primary caretaker for the pig?
- Do you have children? What ages?
- Has this person had a pig before? If so, what was the history there or do they still have it?
- What do you expect a pig will be like as a pet?
- If you do have a pig, is that pig altered? – You want to avoid having a pig used for breeding.
- Who is your veterinarian and do they care for pigs?
Ask the potential adopter to come and visit the pig at your house. That way, they can see how the pig currently lives. Watch how the new parent interacts with the pig and demonstrates their education about pigs. Reiterate the pros and cons of having them. Be sure to disclose everything about your pig’s personality; likes, dislikes, feeding schedule, sleeping habits, interactions with children and animals, how they do in the car, and anything else that might apply. Remember, you are finding a new home for your pet pig. At first, you will want it to be as close to your home as possible, and the new family can slowly transition away from that.
Check ‘Em Out
Get references. Their vet is always a good starting place. A neighbor, friend or relative is another good reference. Ask how the person treats their animals, and find out if they have regular vet care.
Next, visit the potential owners’ home to better assess the situation. Will the living conditions be similar to those your pig has now? Do they still seem sincere about wanting your pig? See for yourself how the family treats their current animals. Take note of how the children behave with the animals.
Explain how the pig will be in the new home. That transition may happen immediately or take a few days to set in. It may take anywhere from a few days to a few months. During that time, the pig may become depressed, standoffish, or aggressive. The new owners have to be prepared for this potential problem and committed to working through it.
These are all important considerations before placing your pet pig into a new home. If you have doubts, follow your instincts and don’t place the pig there. Keep looking until you find the best home possible for your pig. When you do place the pig, stay available for questions or problems with the pig.
If you are unable to be available, set up another source for the new owners to contact. ALWAYS offer to take the pig back if things don’t work out. And follow up later on, to see how the transition has gone and check-in on the pig. Try to stay in touch for the next few months at a minimum. If possible, come to visit. That alone will make the pig feel much more comfortable in their new home. If you can’t visit, ask the new owners to send you pictures so you can see how your pig is doing.
The Best Home is a Forever Home
Here at the Pig Placement Network, we have placed many, many pigs over the years. While every placement is not perfect and a few have not worked out, we have used these techniques and information to find the best new home for your pet pig. The vast majority of our adoptions have been successful. Keeping in touch not only helps you feel better about your decision but also lets the new parents know that you’re still available and still care about the pig.
So please, be careful whom you give your beloved pet pig to – it could make a world of difference in the pig’s life!
Written By: Nori Rambo, co-founder of PPN