Congratulations on deciding to adopt a pig! Preparing to welcome a new family member into your home
is very exciting, but can also feel overwhelming. What do you need to have on hand? How will they get
along with the rest of your family? How will you transport them? Will they get off to a positive start in
your home? We hope this document will help you feel better equipped for success in life with your new
Pigs are highly emotional and routine-oriented animals, and moving to a new home is a stressful
experience for them. They will likely grieve their past home and family as they adjust to yours. It is
important to keep this in mind as you integrate your new pig into your home, and try to make the
experience as positive and low-stress as possible.
Do You Already Have a Pig?
If you are preparing to bring home a companion for a current pig, there are additional elements to
address. We highly recommend you make sure your existing pig is up to date on their vaccines before
bringing home a new pig. Try to find out whether the new pig has received any vaccines, and discuss
with your vet which vaccines they recommend for both pigs.
Regardless of vaccine status, you will need separate quarters for your new pig as you prepare to
introduce the two of them. It is safest to keep the pigs far enough apart that they can’t come into
contact with each other. This will help avoid spreading parasites or contagious illnesses. Ideally,
quarantine the new pig for 2 weeks to a month. During this time, take the new pig to the vet for an
initial exam; wait until the new pig has a clean bill of health before you begin the introduction process
(described later in this document) or expose the pigs to each other. And through the quarantine period,
be sure to use good hygiene—such as washing your hands—when going from one pig to the other.
It is essential that both pigs be altered (spayed or neutered) before introducing them. In addition to
the concern of potential pregnancy with an intact male and female, hormones greatly increase the
likelihood of aggression, harassment, and other inappropriate behaviors regardless of the sexes of the
pigs. If one or both pigs were altered recently, wait until they have fully healed from surgery and all
hormonal behavior has subsided before beginning the introduction process. It can take several weeks
for hormonal behavior to dissipate, and up to 6 weeks for a male pig to lose residual fertility.
Setting up the Pig’s Living Space
Whether your pig will live indoors or out, you’ll want to make sure to have her living space set up before
she arrives, so she can start getting acclimated right away. If you are adopting a pig from another home,
you may want to discuss her current set-up with the person rehoming her. You might be able to set her
new space up to be similar to her old one, which would ease her transition from one home to another.
If your pig will live outdoors, make sure she has an enclosed and insulated shelter with lots of bedding,
as well as a secure fence to keep her in and any dogs or other predators out.
If she will live in your house, consider giving your pig her own room, a sturdy pen with room for a bed
and a litter box, or a quiet corner of a larger room. It can be helpful at times to close your pig into her
room or pen, such as when you are cooking or eating, when you have guests, or any time that household
activity is overstimulating. Think of your pig’s space as her retreat, a place she can go to get some quiet
private time. For this reason, we recommend that a pig’s space not be in a high traffic location.
Since most houses have a few steps leading up to the entry, you will likely need to provide your indoor
pig with a ramp to get in and out safely. The ramp should have a gradual slope and good traction. Even a
couple of steps up or down can be dangerous for a pig, so consider this carefully.
Your house will likely need some pig-proofing to keep your pig safe and your home intact. In many
ways, this is similar to baby- or dog-proofing: you get down to their level and look for any potential
dangers. However, there are some added elements to keep in mind for pigs.
Here are some tips on approaching pig-proofing:
Issues are almost always about food
If your floorplan is such that you can limit your pig’s access to your kitchen, that is the
simplest solution. If you can’t keep a door closed, a baby gate may work to keep your
pig out, but make sure it is securely bolted to the wall. Pressure-mounted baby gates are
no match for a pig!
If you can’t keep your pig out of the kitchen, make sure there is no food below counter
level. Childproof locks may be insufficient; a determined pig can just remove the whole
Be mindful of the location of your kitchen trash can, as your pig will likely knock it over if
it is accessible. Trash cans in a cabinet drawer are typically the most secure. If you have
a pantry, it needs to have a door or secure gate to keep your pig out.
Some pigs can figure out how to open the refrigerator if it has the freezer on top or is a
side-by-side. Fridges with the freezer on the bottom are more pig-proof.
Don’t feed your pig out of the fridge or off the kitchen counter. You don’t want her to
view the kitchen as a food dispenser. Closing your pig out of the kitchen when you are
cooking or eating will prevent her from developing bad begging habits.
Be mindful of any food wrappers in a purse or jacket pocket that your pig can get to, as
she will smell the food and may tear the item apart to get to the wrapper.
Some pigs are big nest-builders, and like to gather and shred bedding to construct their
ultimate bed. This can include items ranging from clothing in an accessible laundry basket to
paper towels from a trash can to leaves and sticks from the yard! Until you know if this nesting
activity is an interest of your pig’s, keep any valued clothing, quilts, etc. out of her reach.
As mentioned earlier, stairs can be dangerous to pigs; they can easily fall down them, and the
impact of going down stairs can do damage to their joints over time. Putting a baby gate across
stairs will deter your pig from exploring them.
Pigs tend to be itchy, and love to throw their whole bodies into a good scratch! But if they rub
against furniture, they may knock things over. Keep this in mind when determining which
rooms your pig can access.
Pigs can have a hard time on slippery floors like hardwood, laminate, and linoleum. Some pigs
will see the smooth flooring and refuse to even try walking on it. You may want to consider
using area rugs and runners to create paths for your pig to walk on. A bonus is that you can take
the rugs up to clean them as needed.
Check anywhere your pig can access, inside or out, for toxic items she might be able to get
into. These could range from medications to cleaning products to plants and mushrooms
growing in your yard. Pigs are curious and like to taste things, so don’t count on them to use
Pig Placement Network’s Webinar Series for Pet Pig Parents has a session on “Caring for Pet Pigs:
Housing, Training & Transport” that offers more guidance and suggestions on how to set up an area for
This list is just a starting point, and should not be considered complete. Some of these items are specific
to either indoor or outdoor pigs, and not all will apply in all situations. If you are adopting a pig from
another home, you may want to see if the person rehoming the pig can pass along any familiar bedding
or other items that your pig is used to. This can help her acclimate to her new environment.
Bed, crate, blankets: Many house pigs like sleeping in a crate (either plastic sided or a wire crate
with a blanket over it), because it feels like a safe little cave. Pigs like burrowing under bedding
to sleep, so make sure to give them blankets rather than just a dog bed. They will often tear
their bedding up, so worn-out or thrift store bedding is just fine.
Litter box: Most indoor pigs prefer to go to the bathroom outside, but you may wish to have an
indoor litter box available, especially if you leave your pig at home alone at times. A pig needs a
very low litter box so she can get in and out easily. You can use a washing machine drip pan, for
example, or the pull-out tray from under an extra large wire dog crate. As far as litter goes,
avoid clay-based kitty litter or anything a pig might try to eat. Wood pellets or newspaper pellets
are good options, but a pee pad or towel laid in the bottom of the litter box is often simplest—
and eliminates litter being tracked around the house.
Straw or hay for bedding, wood shavings: Outdoor pigs should have a nice big, dry bed of straw
or hay. This bed will break down over time and get dusty, so you’ll want to replace it on a
regular basis. You may want to spread wood shavings as extra cushioning and to absorb
moisture, especially if your pig sometimes goes to the bathroom in her house. Make sure you
consider how and where you will dispose of used bedding, and get a good set of tools to
manage it, such as a pitchfork and/or a manure rake. Some people like to use blankets for
outdoor pigs whose houses have wooden floors; just make sure the bedding stays clean and dry.
Heat source: Pigs often prefer hot weather to cold, and you want to make sure your outdoor pig
can stay warm through the winter. An insulated house and generous bedding can go a long way,
as can cuddling with a friend. Depending on your climate and setup, an additional heat source
may not be necessary. However, if you choose to heat your pig’s house, be very mindful of
potential fire hazards. Heat lamps should be placed well above any bedding and out of your pig’s
reach, and kept clean of dust and cobwebs. Heat mats and fully enclosed panel heaters may be
safer options. Whether your pig lives outdoors or just goes outside during the day, you may
want to consider getting them a coat if you live in a particularly cold climate or have a pig who
needs some extra warmth.
Fan: This will help keep your pig cool in summer months, especially if she lives outdoors. Make
sure to get one with a fully enclosed motor for outdoor and/or barn use to prevent fire risk.
Pool: You can find pools made specifically for pigs, but a large kiddie pool with one side cut
down to 2-3 inches for easy access works fine, too. They only need to hold a few inches of
water—just enough for your pig to cool off.
Food: A pig’s diet should consist primarily of a commercially produced and nutritionally
complete pelleted feed specifically formulated for mini pigs, as well as plenty of grazing time.
Please note that you should not use a feed formulated for farm pigs, as these are designed for
growth and not for long term health. Some people choose to feed their pigs vegetables as well,
but these should be low-calorie and high-fiber and high-water content veggies like lettuce, leafy
greens, and cucumbers. Pig Placement Network’s Webinar Series for Pet Pig Parents covers diet
Poop scooper: The style with long handles and a scoop and rake can allow you to stand upright
as you pick up after your pig, but there are many options out there and you’ll need to find the
style that works best for you.
Non-tip food and water bowls: Between their anatomy and their enthusiasm, pigs are
notorious for tipping their bowls. There are many different solutions, ranging from classic
non-tip dishes (this style can be good for water) to feeders/waterers that hang over a fence to
various DIY strategies. If you have an outdoor pig in a cold climate, you may want to consider a
safe heated water dish to prevent freezing.
Carrier/crate: Both plastic-sided and wire crates work well for pigs, although plastic-sided crates
are a little sturdier and can make a pig feel more secure during travel. Many pigs also consider
their crates to be a safe and cozy place to sleep, as mentioned above. Depending on your pig’s
size, you will likely be getting an extra-large dog crate. If your pig is under 5 years old, take into
account that she still has some growing to do when you choose a crate.
Ramp(s): Pigs and stairs are a dangerous combination, so make sure to have ramps anywhere
your pig might need to navigate steps. Make sure that the ramp is at a gradual slope, has some
kind of traction, and is sturdy enough to support your pig’s weight over long-term use. A ramp
with low rails on the sides can help a pig feel more secure. You can purchase ramps or make
First aid kit: This link has an extensive list of supplies to have ready for emergencies;
alternatively, see our separate “First Aid Kit” document. Discuss with your vet if there are
medications and supplies they recommend you have on hand. Some of these will vary based on
your comfort level administering medications and how accessible your vet is in case of
emergencies. Do not give your pig medications without checking with your vet first.
Hoof trimmers: Hoof shears are generally easiest to use, but some people use small hoof
nippers, especially on tough or overgrown hooves. If you are going to do your own hoof trims,
have someone knowledgeable teach you how to restrain and trim safely, and have WonderDust
or styptic powder to stop bleeding in case you accidentally “quick” a hoof.
Pig boards: Also called sorting boards or squeeze boards, these are hugely helpful in moving or
guiding your pig in a low stress manner, separating fighting pigs, managing aggressive pigs, and
training. Susan Magidson, pig expert and PPN Co-Founder, describes how to use them in this
Brush: Regular brushing helps exfoliate a pig’s naturally flaky skin. There are many styles of
brush available (here are two examples), so you and your pig may need to experiment to see
which you like best. There are also scratchers you can mount so your pig can reach that itchy
Harness and leash: If you plan to harness train your pig, use a harness that is made for pigs, and
ensure that you have put it on properly. In this video, Susan demonstrates how to harness train
Healthy treats: It is important to keep treats to a minimum for your pig’s health, but you will
likely want to have some on hand for training and enrichment. Make sure these are healthy,
low-calorie treats like small pieces of carrots, Cheerios or other unsweetened cereal, plain air-popped popcorn, etc.
This video and this blog post discuss the role of treats in a pig’s diet and in
Toys: For many indoor pigs, increased outside time is enough stimulation to reduce boredom
and the destructive tendencies that follow. However, a well-chosen toy can also help. Pigs are
generally most interested in a toy if food is involved, and these can range from
treat balls to DIY
food dispensers to rooting boxes. This link has lots of great ideas, as well as some important
guidelines in choosing a safe and enriching toy. Try a few and see what interests your pig and
keeps her engaged. Just make sure not to overfeed through enrichment; you may want to feed
your pig part of her regular meal in a food-dispensing toy. Some pigs can become aggressive or
develop other behavior problems when toys and treats are involved. If this occurs with your pig,
remove all toys and treats and just feed your pig her normal meals.
You can find other supplies here and here.
Transporting Your New Pig
We highly recommend you meet a pig you are interested in before you make a final decision about
whether to adopt. You are not meeting her to see if she likes you; you are a stranger, so she may very
well be suspicious of you. Instead, you want to see how she interacts with the people she already
knows. You should arrange to meet the pig in her current home, so she is in a familiar space, and avoid
involving food in the introduction to keep things as calm as possible. Don’t feel rushed to make a
decision to bring her home immediately; if you have doubts, take some time to address any concerns.
Providing a pig with a forever home can be a 20 year commitment, so it is not a decision to take lightly.
Once you have decided to adopt the pig, set up her space, gotten needed supplies, and made all other
necessary preparations, it is now time to bring your pig home. Remember that this may be a traumatic
experience for your pig, so try to keep her stress to a minimum throughout the process. You’ll want to
transport your pig in a crate in an enclosed, climate-controlled vehicle for their safety and comfort, and
where you can monitor her throughout your drive. If the pig is not used to traveling and is not crate-or
harness –trained, we recommend using a sorting board to gently guide the pig into the crate. Be patient
and calm, and do not chase the pig! This will scare her and make your job harder. Extreme levels of
stress can even be fatal to a pig. If you are struggling, stop, regroup, and get help if needed. You may
reach out to Pig Placement Network staff if needed and we can offer further suggestions.
Familiar bedding and soothing music can help calm your new pig, and some people find these floral
essences or Rescue Remedy to be helpful, as well. Be careful with other products like essential oils not
formulated for pet pigs, as they may not be safe.
This video covers the basics of transporting a pig, and Pig Placement Network’s “Caring for Pet Pigs:
Housing, Training & Transport” webinar discusses the topic in more depth.
Introductions and Settling In
When you get your pig home, give her a quiet space to acclimate to her new surroundings. While you
and your family are understandably excited about the newest member of your household, try to keep
chaos to a minimum, and don’t immediately invite the whole neighborhood to meet her.
Because this is a big change for your pig, especially if she is an adult, be patient with her as she settles in.
Spend quality time with her to develop a bond, but also allow her some space so she doesn’t feel
overwhelmed. Try to develop a predictable routine, and limit other major household changes, trips, etc.
as much as you can. It may take your pig a month or more to feel at home and become comfortable
enough to let her full personality shine.
You’ll want to schedule an initial veterinary appointment for your new pig to make sure she doesn’t
have any health issues that need to be addressed. Discuss any needed vaccines and deworming with
your vet. You may want to have the veterinarian perform a hoof trim during this exam if needed. Even if
you plan to do the trims yourself long-term, this initial trim by the vet will keep you from being “the bad
guy” while you develop your relationship. Pig Placement Network’s document “Finding a Pig Vet” offers
suggestions on making a trip to the vet a success.
Approach introductions to kids and other animals slowly and carefully so no one feels threatened.
Make sure children understand how to safely interact with pigs and what messages the pig may be
communicating. Young children should always be supervised around a pig. Dogs and pigs should likewise
be supervised at all times; dogs are predators and pigs are prey, and even if they appear to get along
well, things can easily take a sudden turn and result in tragedy.
Introducing Two Pigs
Pigs are social animals and usually do best with a member of their own species. While the process of
introducing pigs will likely involve some fighting–and definitely involve drama!– it will be worth it when
the pigs have a better quality of life with a friend. Introducing pigs is a process you want to undergo
thoughtfully and slowly.
When introducing a new pig to your existing pig, wait until your new pig has a clean bill of health from a
vet and both pigs are fully vaccinated (discuss with your vet which vaccines they recommend) before
starting the process or exposing the pigs to each other. Ideally, it is best to quarantine your new pig,
using good hygiene and washing hands after touching her. As stated earlier, both pigs must be spayed or
neutered, healed from surgery, and free of hormonal behavior before they come in contact. Once you
start introducing them, expect the introduction to take 2-3 weeks or possibly longer.
The first week or so, have them meet through a fence only. Ideally this would be in a neutral outside
area divided by a fence, with one pig on each side of the fence so they can run up and down the
fenceline and do all their posturing and work it out. They can also meet inside through a baby gate, but
it’s best for them to have space to run back and forth along the fence.
Only once they are no longer reactive to each other through the fence should you start face-to-face
intros in a shared outdoor space. The pigs will likely fight when they are in the same space initially, so
have sorting boards handy in case you need to intervene. You would use the boards to split them up if
the fighting gets to the point where they need to be separated to keep someone from getting seriously
hurt. Then you would step back and let them continue with the introduction. You might also need to
use the board to separate them if one wants to retreat and the other won’t allow it. Make sure to
introduce them in a big enough area that they are able to get away from each other in case one wants
Throughout this intro process, make sure you continue to put your existing pig first to minimize jealousy
and change their routine as little as possible. Once they are integrated, their hierarchy may change, but
for now, your pig should know he is still your #1!
It is possible that they won’t end up being a good match, but you need to give it time and go slowly. This
is a big change for both pigs, so patience is key.
This link has more information on pig introductions, including video which may be helpful.
Managing Issues in the Future
As with any other species, every pig is a unique individual. As you and your new family member get to
know each other, you will come to understand her likes and dislikes, her needs and quirks and ways of
communicating. While you will settle into a routine together, you may need to make adjustments as
your pig keeps you on your toes and provides you with new challenges. This dynamic relationship with
our pigs, including their intelligence and strong personalities, is part of the joy of sharing our lives with
Any emerging problem behaviors can generally be addressed through behavior modification and/or
making changes to the pig’s environment. We want pigs to stay in their forever homes in a way that is
positive for the whole family, so it is important to nip any problems in the bud before they cause
another rehoming scenario. The “Managing Inappropriate Pet Pig Behavior” session of Pig Placement
Network’s Webinar Series for Pet Pig Parents offers explanations and problem-solving suggestions for
some of the most common issues, as well as a Q&A session at the end. Feel free to reach out to Pig
Placement Network staff for further assistance, or schedule a consultation with renowned pet pig expert
Susan Magidson. Susan has over 30 years of experience, including countless successful placements of
pet pigs into adoptive homes.
Other Quality Resources
You can never do too much research, and there is always more to learn! Not all sources (especially
online) are created equal, but here are a few that provide good and truthful information.
Mini Pig Info’s New Mini Pig Parent Information (The website Mini Pig Info contains a wealth of
great information on a wide range of topics)
Ross Mill Farm’s Blog
Pig Placement Network Resources
The Mini Pig Podcast
Veterinary and Care Information from LaFeber Vet (this document provides a good overview of
California Potbellied Pig Association
Southern California Association for Miniature Potbellied Pig