1. Pigs Love to Cuddle.
There is nothing as endearing as lying down on the couch only to have our pigs come and pile on top of you. My favorite is when Charlotte puts her face right up against mine and snuggles in sound asleep. I love hearing her deep breaths that say she is so content sleeping there. And while pigs do have more bristle to their hair, it is also very smooth against your skin when you cuddle up close. So, you don't have to worry about being poked.
2. Pigs Treat You as an Equal
As Winston Churchill once said, "I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals." And this is so true. Unlike a dog, pigs do not worship humans as gods. They definitely view you as their equal. If you are good to them, they are good to you. They do often want to make you happy. And I've seen pigs be reprimanded vocally by their human companion and seen them go off whining and sulking. They definitely show a whole range of emotions and you will often feel like someone stuck a human inside a pig's body.
3. Watching Them Eat Never Gets Old
Pigs love food! In fact, I've yet to encounter any living being that enjoys anything as much as pigs seem to enjoy food. Pumpkin even has food induced bouts of ecstasy. Mid-meal, she suddenly freezes, gets her happy mohawk, and starts grunting happy grunts. It looks like she is in a happy coma. You just have to wait it out if you need her to do something. I usually have to pick up her food to keep Charlotte and Millie from eating it because she simply cannot move during these occurrences. And the smacking of their lips as they chomp on food is just plain adorable. Carrots and crunchy snacks are especially fun to watch them eat.
4. Pigs Sleep Through the Night
Aside from Millie, who likes to change positions in the middle of the night, most pigs will soundly sleep through the night. Often settling in around 7 PM, pigs are known to be good sleepers. When our girls cuddle up together for the night, unless someone makes noise in the kitchen implying snacks are to be had, it is quite unlike the girls are going to do much until morning. Millie is the only exception. She occasionally wakes up and has to change positions (and she makes sure everyone knows what she is doing by making as much noise as an entire farm of pigs). Otherwise, you mostly just get to enjoy the sounds of pigs deeply breathing in and out. So peaceful and calming!
5. The Always Smell Good and Stay Very Clean
We have lived with pigs well over a year now, and have maybe needed to give them a bath twice. Pigs always seem to have a nice clean smell to them. And their fur seems to resist getting dirty. Even after laying in mud (which our girls don't do very often), they seem to magically shed any dirt that was attached the minute they dry off. If your pigs live indoors most of the time, they will prefer air condition and a couch to a mud puddle. The only time our girls dig into the mud is when they are stuck outside on a warm day. Once, while at Colonial Williamsburg, Charlotte had herself coated in mud and yet by the time we got home that day she seemed nearly as clean as when we left.
My family lives with 3 Juliana mini pigs in our two bedroom condo. So, we are constantly having wacky interactions with our cuddly porcine companions. Everyone knows that pigs are highly intelligent, clean, and loving companion animals, but there are likely some things you don't know about life with pigs.
1. There is Never a Lonely Trip to the Kitchen
Try opening a cabinet without having at least Millie (our youngest mini pig) arriving in short order and you are expecting a miracle. Even just taking a few steps towards the kitchen results in her peaked little ears becoming erect with attention. And once you open the fridge, forget it. You are likely to have three sets of intently staring eyes begging you to toss a carrot or slices of apple their way.
2. Pigs Would Make Great Spies.
Any chance they get, pigs love to hide under blankets, pillows or other items. Millie once even burrowed into the couch (which had been ripped by Pumpkin, our 6 year old pig). We came into the living room to find Millie under a huge pile of stuffing she had pushed out to make room for herself in this newly discovered hiding place.
3. They Love to be Cozy
Not an hour goes by that Millie and Charlotte are not shoving each other out of the way so that they can be closest to momma Pumpkin. Her belly is like a sauna. And so whoever is not closest, will usually start near the rump and use their snout to slowly move their competitor out of the way. This looks like they are rooting dirt only the dirt is a pig that is awkwardly being lifted up and down over and over until they find themselves ousted from the coveted position closest to mom. Their behavior is exactly what you would expect from siblings vying for mother's attention.
4. They Love Communicating With Each Other and All Have a Different Voice
You don't have to be in the room to know who is talking. It is easy to tell if it is Pumpkin, Charlotte or Millie that is speaking. And they communicate back and forth in their piggy language with great fluency. Millie's voice is a low pitched grunt, except of course when being lifted up. Then she becomes a full fledged siren. Charlotte has more of a high pitched squeal. And Pumpkin has a very deep wump sound to her voice. We even find that they will communicate across the house without being able to see each other. When Charlotte was little, we would take her to another room to play with her while her mom rested. But, when she was ready to be back with her mother, they immediately started speaking to each other and you could tell that it was anything but a simple language.
5. Pigs Have a Hierarchy of Who is Top Pig
When you live with pigs, be prepared to be challenged for a position in the hierarchy within the herd. Yes, you are part of their herd (which in the pig world is called a sounder). So, be prepared to play a game called 'Move the Pig'. This is where you show your position by gently moving the pigs to establish that you are above them in the hierarchy. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting hit with a side swipe of a pig jaw. And it isn't necessarily size that determines the order. Charlotte, Millie and Pumpkin are continuously renegotiating their position within the herd. Fortunately, they have thicker skin and can handle their version of pig fighting.