Few pets are cuter than young potbellied pigs. The downside is these babies grow up, many with owners who didn't do their homework before getting the animals. Most potbellied pigs mature to the size of large dogs. Once adolescence starts and hormones kick in, aggression becomes a problem. Rooting is just a pig doing what comes naturally. For these and other reasons, many potbellied pigs end up at sanctuaries and rescues.
People who want to unload their porcine pets usually don't have the option of going to the local animal shelter. Although there are exceptions, most humane organizations aren't equipped to take in potbellied pigs. With pig-specific rescues, it's a matter of supply and demand. The sad fact is that the supply of unwanted potbellied pigs far outweighs the adoption demand.
Spaying and Neutering
If you adopt a potbellied pig from a reputable rescue, you can be sure the animal is spayed or neutered. Lack of spaying or neutering is a primary reason an original owner gives up the pet. Boars not only smell bad, but at sexual maturity start displaying various behavioral problems related to the desire to procreate. Unspayed females come into heat every three weeks -- usually with incessant vocalizing, restlessness and mood swings if they're not bred. Male piglets are fertile as early as 2 months of age, while females start heat cycling about the age of 4 months.
You can find pig rescues and adoptable animals throughout the country. Not only is your potential pet spayed and neutered, but you'll know the size of any adult. At maturity, between the ages of two and three years, potbellied pigs weigh between 50 and 150 pounds. The adoption organization can give you information about the pig and its personality, but also ensures that you're a viable "pig parent." That means they'll check to see if your local zoning permits pigs and have you fill out a detailed questionnaire regarding your suitability as an adopter. The organization should provide you with lots of valuable information about pig care, along with recommendations for a porcine vet in your neck of the woods.
If possible, adopt more than one pig. They are social creatures, enjoying each others' company. According to the California Potbellied Pig Association, "only" pigs are more likely to exhibit issues with aggressiveness or assertiveness. "It is actually easier to care of two well adjusted pigs than one spoiled, demanding and possibly aggressive pig," according to the CBPA. Pigs also like to snuggle with each other when sleeping. Two pigs can play and exercise with each other, rather than waiting for a person to initiate games and walks. If you're a real "pig person," by adopting two pigs you free up space for two more unwanted pigs to find sanctuary and a possible permanent home.