Welcome to Austin, Texas! It is the state capital, home to The University of Texas, an influential center (politics,technology, music, film, great food), and is reputed as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” It is also the home of Nahla, a miniature potbellied piggy. Nahla and her family (mom and dad) live near Lake Austin. It is not a rare sight for neighbors to see this 3-year-old diva pig sunning or playing by the boat dock over looking the lake.
PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pig? I come from a ranching family on my mom’s side and a farming family on my dad’s side. (What animal have I not cared for and literally brought into the house while growing up?!) My grandparents sold pot-belly pigs in the 90’s when the pet pig craze first began. I loved going out to my grandparent’s house and catching one of the piglets from the litter. I would bring it inside to bathe and play with for a day before returning it to its mom. We also kept a couple of pigs at the house I grew up in. We had a swimming pool and my mom loved for me to show guests how the pigs could swim. I guess for people who have known me since I was a young girl, owning a pig is really no surprise.
PE🐽NY: What made you finally decide to get a pig? I decided I wanted an animal that does not shed and can use a litter box, if needed, due to my work schedule. One of my best friends and I were hanging out in Austin one day and ran across a lady walking a pig on a leash. My answer came to life at that very moment, but convincing my husband was another task. He said the neighbors will think we are “country bumpkins” especially since we live in the city. I begged him to drive to Waco to go and look at piglets with me. The rest is history. There was a three pound, three-week old piglet sleeping between us that very night!
PE🐽NY: How did you find her breeder? It was the breeder of the pig I saw on the leash in Austin. I researched them, but in my opinion, I should have done a lot more. I wouldn’t get another pig from them. I am just far more educated now about the pig industry as a whole.
PE🐽NY: So, Nahla is three years old now. How much does she weigh? Aaah! The question of the hour. I have never experienced people fixating on weight as much as they do when comes to owning a pig. Honestly, Nahla has a very regimented diet (except for fun celebratory days), so I go by the overall look of her physically rather than constantly putting her on a scale. Pigs are pigs, and all pigs LOVE to eat. However; due to a mini pigs’s small body structure, it is very important not to over feed them, BUT also not withhold food in an unhealthy manner to keep them small. Balance is key. Pigs with extra weight are at risk for leg and knee issues, as well as spinal issues from developing a sway back. As long as we are responsible in doing our part for her health, my theory is let Nahla be Nahla.
PE🐽NY: What does she eat? Favorite snack? Pig feed and cucumbers are her staple food along with various veggies. Fruit and cheerios are treats. One time, I gave her cooked brussels sprouts. That was NOT a hit for Nahla but I will have to giver her credit though. She tried every one of those brussels spouts in her bowl, spitting each one out and trying the next. Ha!
PE🐽NY: Where does Nahla sleep? She sleeps in a nice wooden crate that looks like a piece of furniture with many blankets in it. It is her comfort zone. She naps there too with the door open during the day, but she also has a big dog bed in our TV room. Nahla enjoys a snack at 3-4 AM, so needless to say, her crate door gets locked at night so we don’t get middle of the night wake up calls.
PE🐽NY: What are Nahla’s favorite things to do? Nahla loves to snuggle with us (especially my husband), eat, root outside, get a good belly scratch, perform tricks for treats, go for car rides, and oh yes . . get her way! Have you ever seen an animal literally throw a tantrum when you don’t do exactly what they want? Well, spend some time with a pig. When she doesn’t get her way, she will hit furniture with her head or sometimes turn around and open her mouth wide like a hippo and fuss at us while making the most unique sound. We usually laugh and say she is yelling at us in “Pig Latin!”
PE🐽NY: Does she have any silly habits? Nahla gets these very random spurts of energy and peels out across the hard wood floors to the wool rug and starts bucking like a bronco. It’s something that NEVER gets old. It’s a sight to see that she tends not to show many others.
PE🐽NY: Do you work? If out of the house, what does Nahla do during the day? Our work schedules vary from week to week but typically she just roams the house while we are gone. She sleeps the majority of the time. We have a piggy cam! One of us pops in and gives her a lunch snack. We have been late coming home before, which in return, resulted in being late for Nahla’s dinner. I must say it was not well received. We have come home to our living room chairs flipped over, her big dog bed dragged across he floor and books pushed over the lower shelf of the entertainment center. We can only imagine how hard she is ringing that dinner bell!
PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? Her dynamic, little personality or shall I say, BIG personality. Sometimes it feels like I am dealing with a mini human. Pigs don’t just abruptly engage in other people’s space like dogs. I find that they question people more in their own minds, similar to cats. TRUST is a big factor. We are blessed to be in Nahla’s trust circle.
PE🐽NY: What is the biggest challenge? Her BIG personality has demands and boy, she wants them met. It’s Nahla’s world and we are just living in it.
PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that others may be surprised to hear? All mini pigs grow until they are 4 years old. With that being said, most do finish 75% of their height growth within their first year. After their first birthday, their growth rate slows down. Pigs are built quite differently than a dog. Most canine breeds put on their weight throughout their torso, leaving their legs without much weight on them. A mini pig will put on weight on all parts of its body. They are very compact and dense animals. A 55 lb. mini pig will be roughly the height and length of a Cocker Spaniel (a 25 lb. dog).
PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do your homework and be familiar with your breeder. There are a lot of pig scammers and falsified marketing when it comes to teacup/mini/micro pigs. People are misinformed, lied to and not educated about pigs which can lead to orphaned or furthermore, abandoned pigs. Do your pig homework! Knowledge is power and the power of pig knowledge is essential for these extremely intellectual beings. They are also a 15-20 year commitment. It’s a long investment, but well worth it.
Nahla. Love is SO evident in your life. My heart soars with happiness that you and your family have found your precious way, and can share your beautiful life with all of us. Pigs are SO incredibly special. If our caretakers find the time to see and know that, it is a forever bond that can never be broken. Thank you for being fabulous, and thank you for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY