Raising Pigs as Pets

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DES MOINES, Iowa--Most of us picture pigs on the farm. In Iowa, the leading pork producer in the country, they are part of the landscape.

These days, pet pigs could be grazing in the yard next door or out walking in your neighborhood on a leash. These tail wagging pets are hoofing it into more homes in Iowa.

“I didn't even know people had pigs as pets,” said Jeannie Adams.

That was until two little piggies chomped their way into her heart. Adams has two pet pigs.

“Once I met Finmore and I looked in his eyes, I just fell in love with him,” she said.

Finmore is two and Fiona is eight months old. Adams got them from Travis Cheers, who runs My Precious Piggies.

“They are different from having a cat or dog, but if you do have one, it's like no other pet you've ever had before,” explained Cheers.

He’s been raising mini Juliana pigs as pets for about three years. Right now, he has three little porkers at home.

“They’re smart, if not smarter than a dog, they can be as agile as a cat and they're very loving. They have huge personalities,” said Cheers.

Full grown, they’re about the size of a cocker spaniel, but weigh a good 20 pounds more. Like dogs, they can be trained to go to the bathroom outside and do a few tricks. Contrary to popular belief, pigs are clean animals.

“They're actually cleaner than any cat or dog I've had in the house, believe it or not,” he said.

Caring for these cuddly little guys takes a big commitment.

“It's like having a two-year-old,” agreed Adams.

But she wouldn’t trade her two little piggies for any other pet.

“I think I probably will end up trading pigs for dogs,” said Adams.

There are rules for keeping pigs as pets. The city of Des Moines allows up to three pot-bellied pigs. All others need to be raised on an acreage. Other cities have similar ordinances. However, some communities view pigs as livestock and are not allowed in city limits.


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