texasminipigs.com

Caring for your Juliana


                    

     As we raise our Juliana pigs, we learn something new all the time! In our efforts to put information together to help you raise your piglet we have done our best to separate fact from fiction and compile the best information available to help you care for your new piglet. As we continue to seek information, we will continually update this site for you as we make new discoveries.

About Juliana Pigs: Also known as teacup pigs, micro pigs or mini pigs, Juliana pigs are different than all other types of pigs. Julianas are the only truly diminutive pig, meaning they are a small pig by nature, not a result of breeding down generations of pigs. Julianas were imported to the US from England in the 1980's and have been preserved as pet pigs by a handful of dedicated breeders. Considering there are just a few breeders across the United States, purebred Juliana's are very rare. The Juliana Pig Association and Registry exists to register Juliana pigs that meet the standards set forth by the Association. Juliana pigs must meet strict criteria to be registered, and all of ours do.

Appearance: Julianas are always spotted, no exceptions. They come in a variety of base colors, but must have spots in a randomized pattern and the spots must be skin deep. The body is long and lean. The back is straight. The snout is elongated. The legs are long. The tail is straight, with a wisp of hair at the tip. Ideal weight should be under 40 pounds, but some are a little larger (weight greater than 69 pounds disqualifies a pig from registration). Height must be 17 inches or less. At adulthood, the Juliana is about the size of a beagle or cocker spaniel.

Disposition:
Julianas (and pigs in general) are the 4th most intelligent animal in the world. As such, they are easy to housebreak and easy to train. They are silly and playful and love toys. They will follow you around and will sit and watch TV with you. They have a very gentle demeanor. They are loving and social and get along well with people and other pets. They are clean and odor free. They don't get fleas. They have hair, not fur, so they don’t shed and are hypoallergenic. They are economical. They rarely need to visit the vet. They eat dry mini pig food that costs about the same as dry dog food or you can mix your own pig diet. A spayed or neutered pig makes an excellent pet (an intact pig makes a horrible pet, so they must be fixed) They live about 15 years.

Before you bring your Juliana piglet home: You should check your local ordinances to be sure pigs are allowed as pets in your area. In some areas pigs are still considered "farm animals." You will need to find a vet that is experienced with mini pigs and is willing to assume care of your piglet. You may have to consult a small town or country vet. It is very important to educate yourself about Juliana pigs. Research and ask questions. Visit websites, talk to breeders and owners. A couple good places to start are the Yahoo group, “Juliana Pig Association” and JPAR, the Juliana Pig Association & Registry. There are lots of good folks on facebook who are more than happy to talk about thier pet pigs. You can ask them about the day to day care of their pigs and the pros and cons of pig ownership. Feel free to contact me and I will be happy to put you in contact with these owners and answer any questions. Most importantly, be sure you have educated yourself to be sure you can commit to your pig for its lifetime.  

Bringing your piglet home: A new piglet that has been removed from its mother and littermates may be a bit stressed and scared at first.  We recommend having an area ready and waiting for your piglet’s arrival. A small area, such as a laundry room, bathroom or playpen, where your piglet will feel safe, is recommended. Have a sleeping area ready and a litterbox in an opposite corner. Make sure the area is small, so that your piglet can easily distinguish its bed from its potty area, to make training much easier. Offer the food that came with your piglet. It may take a day or so before your piglet wants to eat, so be sure to have pedialyte, goats milk or whole milk available to avoid dehydration until your piglet is eating well. Keep your piglet in this small area for a couple weeks. You can gradually start allowing access to a little more space each week. This will help your piglet remember where its litter box is, bed and food are kept, without being overwhelmed and confused by the size of your home. Spend as much time as you can with your piglet. Sit on the floor and talk to your piglet and it will slowly, sometimes over a week or so, begin approaching you. Stop and talk to your piglet as you pass its room or playpen. Continue this until it allows more and more touching and before long, it will be coming to you for belly rubs. Be patient, it just takes a little time and your piglet will warm up and love you back. Pigs aren’t big fans of being picked up and may squeal loudly (really loudly) in protest. If you want to pick up your pig, place your hands firmly around its midsection and lift.  Start by sitting on the floor while holding your piglet. Hold in a football hold to ensure a good grip, as they can wiggle right out of your hands. If your pig squeals, try to just hold him until he stops. Place him back on the floor once he is quiet. If you put him down while he is squealing, then he just successfully trained you to put him down when he squeals! Practice this and he may get used to it. Some pigs get used to it and some don’t.

If you have other pets, keep them separate and allow looks and sniffs before slowly allowing them to have supervised meetings. While Julianas get along well with other animals,  be careful when introducing them, so that everyone is safe. Never leave the animals alone together, as the pig almost always looses the fight, should one occur.

Living quarters: Juliana piglets need a cozy, quiet and secluded area to call thier own. Since they love to burrow, a blanket or sheet lined regular dog bed, a crate or a playpen in a private location is ideal. As stated above, keep your piglet in a small area until he becomes comfortable, then gradually allow more  and more access to the house.  If kept outside, pigs need a sheltered, safe enclosure. Pigs are very hardy and handle the elements well. In hot climates, shaded areas, a fan or a small kiddie pool is essential to keep the pigs cool. Pigs don’t have sweat glands, so they need to cool off by getting wet in a wading pool or by rolling in mud. Be sure your pig has a shaded area to go under, as their skin, like humans, sunburns easily. You can apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn, but still provide shade. In cooler climates, pigs will need extra bedding of blankets or straw, heat lamps and protection from drafts. Pigs are very social, so if you keep your pig outside, visit him very often and/or provide a companion.

Playing: Juliana’s love toys! Because Juliana’s are so intelligent, they need something to keep them stimulated. Toys work great. My pigs love rooting on big balls and pushing them around their pen. A “KONG” toy with a treat hidden inside is another toy that they really enjoy. Pigs naturally want to root. You can satisfy this need by providing a pile of dirt in the yard somewhere.  You can also devise a "rooting box." Some people use a plastic tub filled with plastic balls or something similar. We built a wooden box out of 2x4's and filled the bottom with river rocks. Just drop in some small veggies or cheerios and your pig will have a great time looking for the treats. Your piglet may knock some things over as it roots around your house. This is a natural behavior for them, so just move things that may get broken or cause them harm. Juliana’s love attention and companionship and will become destructive if lacking in either.  If allowed free range of your home while you are away, your piglet may get bored and become a little destructive. You may have to pig-proof some areas or place your pig in a secure place while you are away.

Discipline: Juliana’s are very smart and they learn quickly. They are observant and will pick up on your daily routine and set expectations of you. Since they are master manipulators, the secret is patience and consistency. They respond well to positive reinforcement. When your pig does something desirable, reinforce the behavior with an “atta-pig” and a small healthy snack. He will quickly learn to repeat this action. When your pig has mastered the behavior, then offer a snack only occasionally, not every time. If you offer a snack every time, he will expect a treat every time, and that is not necessary. For undesirable behavior, remove the pig from the area and speak in a stern voice, “bad pig” or “no.” Leave him in “time out” for a little while, and then let him come back. He will quickly learn that behavior was unacceptable. Never hit your pig. You can tap a finger on the top of his snout, and that will get his attention. Piglets can become unruly when they see you coming with their food. They will try to jump on you and squeal. Mother pigs cover their teats and do not allow nursing until they calm down and you should not tolerate this behavior either. If your piglet does this, hold back the food until he calms down, and then give him the bowl.

Feeding: Juliana pigs eat like pigs if you let them! They always want to eat and will act like they are starving. (Pigs have even been known to open cabinets and refrigerators to forage for food, so watch your pig carefully and take precautions when leaving him alone). Pigs are omnivores, meaning they require diets containing both plant and animal sources. Commercial mini pig foods meet these requirements and provide a healthy diet. There are several brands of mini pig foods available at feed stores, tractor supply stores and online.  They are about the same cost as dry dog food. Be sure and use the type that corresponds to the age of your pig, as they have different formularies for each stage of life. Follow the instructions on the bag, then observe your pig and adjust the quantity from there. If your pig is starting to fatten up, cut back and observe. If he's beginning to look slim, add more and observe. Pigs tend to correct their weight quickly. Some people make thier own organic feed, and that is Ok too. Julainas should not be too thick or too thin.  All pigs will be different and their weight depends on many things, including stress, exercise, age, genetics, etc. During pregnancy, lactation and winter months, they should be fed a little more.

Juliana's also love to graze on chemical free grass. They love snacks of hay, raw fruits and vegetables. (Veggies are a better choice than fruit, as the high fructose content tends to add pounds quickly.) Feeding your pet pig from the table accomplishes 2 things;  begging and weight gain. Stick to mini pig chow and healthy snacks, and never feed from the table.  

I feed my pigs twice daily with their mini pig pellets and some veggies each meal. They get occasional snack and treats of cheerios, fruit, raisins and eggs.

Because pigs tend to have dry skin, you can add a tablespoon of olive oil to their food each day or feed a raw egg every couple of days.

Always have clean water available. Some pigs drink a lot of water and some don’t. Our outside pigs like to take an occasional dip in their water and tip it over getting out. We keep several water bowls available and refill often. They trained us well!

Never feed your pig food designed for farm pigs. These foods are meant to fatten up those breeds of pigs and that is not what you want for your Juliana. Never feed chocolate, caffeine, meat or salty foods. Don’t feed your pig dog or cat food, as they are formulated for a dog and cats digestion, not a pigs.

Most importantly, never underfeed your pig to keep its size down. This is not only cruel, unhealthy and inhumane, but it just doesn’t work. Your pigs bone size is genetically programmed. By withholding food, you simply control how much fat is or isn’t on his bones. Underfeeding results in an unhealthy pig with a reduced lifespan.

Bathing: Juliana pigs have skin similar to that of humans, that is...they have hair, not fur on it. This is what makes them hypoallergenic! Pig skin is thick, so flea problems are rare. Pigs can be bathed just as you would your dog, monthly or so. Since pigs tend to have dry skin, use a moisturizing soap or shampoo and follow the bath with an unscented lotion.  When bathing your pig, try floating some cheerios in the water to keep him distracted while you get the bath business done.

Hooves: Juliana’s have very small hooves, so an occasional filing, every 3-4 months, should do the trick. If the edges of the hooves begin to curl, they can easily be trimmed with clippers. There are great videos on you tube that demonstrate the correct method. When you pet your pig,  handle its hooves from the beginning so that it will be used to being touched there and more receptive to hoof care. If your pig resists a filing or trimming, don’t force it, just try again later. The more the hooves are manipulated, the more they will get used to it and allow it. You can always consult your vet or a farrier for this service.

Exercise: Juliana pigs need daily exercise. It’s recommended that your pig spend a couple hours outside each day in a fenced area where they can walk, run, graze, root and sun themselves. Walking them on a harness is great for exercise and socialization.

Harness and leashes: Juliana pigs should be harness and leash trained so it is easier to take them places. Since collars can easily crush a pig’s trachea, they should never be used. Harnesses should be removed when not in use to prevent irritation to the pigs’ skin. Step-in, figure 8 type harnesses make it easy to place on your pig. As with everything else, it takes a little time for your piglet to get used to the harness and will eventually welcome it.

Litter box training and house breaking: Juliana pigs will easily learn to use the litter box and/or go outside if trained properly. They are very clean and do not like to go potty near where they sleep or eat.  This makes it easy to litter box train. Place the litter box in the area you would like to keep it and when your piggy has an accident, pick it up or wipe it up with a paper towel and place the dirty paper towel in the litter box. Show your pig where it is and it will take the hint that this is the place to go. In the beginning, the piglet should always be near the litter box so it won’t have to look far to find it. You can slowly give the piglet more space to explore, but take it slow, so it remembers where the litter box is located. Litter boxes should be low to the ground and wide enough so the pig can enter it, turn in a circle and then do their business. They should be filled with pine or newspaper shavings (never use cedar material or cat litter). Pine horse pellets from Tractor Supply are great. To housebreak, use a doggie door or just take your pig outside regularly and praise him when he does his business outside, just as you would a dog. Never yell at or hit your pig as he will lose trust in you. Use positive reinforcement as in the “discipline” techniques, discussed above.  

Immunizations: All of our piglets are vaccinated and wormed before leaving our care. All pigs need to be wormed with Ivermectin 1% solution (Iveomec) twice yearly (if living inside) or 4 times a year (if living outside). This is a medication you can buy  (online or at Tractor supply) and give orally. A bottle lasts a long time, so its pretty cheap. There are varying opinions of the experts regarding immunizations. Some believe that pigs should be vaccinated against diseases that can be spread throughout the herd. Some do not believe it is necessary to vaccinate a pet pig living in a household where there are no other pigs around. This is a decision that should be made by you and your vet. Pigs are immune to rabies, so a rabies vaccine does not exist for them.

Spay and Neutering: If your Juliana pig is not intended for breeding, it must be spayed or neutered. Pet pigs are not good pets when they are hormonal. Females go into heat every 3 weeks, squeal for a male and urinate frequently, while males emit an offensive odor and develop froth around their mouths. Both sexes may try and hump your leg or your other pets, may have potty accidents, smell bad and are more prone to reproductive health problems. If not spayed or neutered, both males and females may grow tusks. You will notice that breeding pigs are usually kept outside or in a barn rather than in a home for these reasons. Juliana pigs that are spayed or neutered don't have these issues and make excellent pets. It's up to the individual vet, but usually males can be neutered at a few weeks of age while females must be a little older.





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