Teacup pigs are growing in popularity as household pets and as they begin to increase in popularity more people are beginning to breed them at home. Teacup pigs are said to be smaller than pot bellied pigs and breeders say that they make good pets. While they are very similar to breed to dogs, there is a slight learning curve. With a little bit of practice teacup pigs can be successfully bred in less than a year.
Things You'll Need
- Gilt (unbred) female pig
- Boar (if not using artificial insemination)
- Semen and insemination supplies if needed
- Gestation/farrowing pens
- Straw or other bedding
- Heat lamps
- Calendar to track heat/breeding cycles
Make sure you are allowed to own pigs in your area. Many municipalities will not allow livestock.
Find a reputable, registered breeder in your area. Search by state or city. You may have to order out of state to get some of the best bloodlines.
Visit the breeding facility if possible. Choose a gilt that is registered and in good health. This means well-muscled, a long neck, and good body lines. Ask to see the paperwork regarding its breeding history. Do not buy unregistered stock.
Use the same process in choosing a sire. If this is your first time breeding, it is easier to buy a female that is already pregnant, or ask the breeder to breed it for you before you take it home.
Have a gestation and farrowing area ready, made of sturdy materials, long and narrow and large enough to accommodate the sow and her upcoming litter. Adult teacup pigs are said to weigh between 35-60 pounds -- but they may grow as large as 120 pounds. They should have enough room to lie down and stretch out to sleep.
If you decide to get a boar and gilt, the female may be bred at six to eight months of age. Breed on the second or third heat, on the first day heat is observed. Breed again 12 to 24 hours later, if possible. Mark the day of the first breeding on your calendar.
Allow the boar in with the female once or twice a day. Mating takes about five to 10 minutes. If the female does not go into heat again in 21 days, she is most likely pregnant. If you choose artificial insemination, order catalogs from semen suppliers before you purchase your female and bring her home. Look under show pigs to find the best bloodlines.
Once the sow gives birth, regulate the temperature in the farrowing pen by using either fans or heat lamps, depending on the weather. Piglets are most comfortable at 85-90 degrees. At six to seven weeks old, the temperature can be brought down to 70 degrees. Provide fresh straw or other bedding material and remove manure regularly.
Limit contact between the piglets and people, and do not let them come in contact with other animals to prevent the spread of disease.
Notify a teacup pig registrar within 40 days of the birth. A registration form and fee is required for each piglet. All pigs placed in the breeding register will receive ear tags that link to their pedigrees. Boars sold as pets should be castrated by the breeder before sale. Wean piglets at four weeks of age. Give them a balanced pig feed, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Tips & Warnings
- Many owners of "teacup pigs" have been claiming that they grow far larger than the 60 pounds that the breeders tell them they will be. Many of the pigs reach over 150 pounds.