Before receiving minipigs you should be prepared:
Proper housing is required. The pens should comply with basic requirements regarding design, floor space, light, humidity, temperature etc.
Enrichment such as bedding and toys improve the welfare for the minipigs
Water should always be available for the minipigs
You should gain knowledge about minipigs and their normal behaviour. This will make you able to handle the minipigs correctly and to recognize changed or abnormal behaviour when you work with the minipigs.
Upon receiving the animals, make sure they are gently handled. Pigs in transport boxes should be taken out and held on the arm close to the body like a child. Caressing them and talking to them is part of good handling.
Labels on transport boxes indicate the pen of origin. Minipigs from the same pen can be put together. When mixing minipigs that are unfamiliar with one another great care should be taken. A hierarchy will have to be established and this could be violent. It works best with younger animals, and retreat space should be available for submissive animals. Mix according to temperament, and give food and bedding to distract. It is necessary to monitor this process and intervention might be needed.
Animals should be fed moderately the first two days after arrival and on a normal basis after that. See our feeding recommendations.
After an initial day of settling in, socialising should be encouraged by carefully approaching the pen, opening the gate, offering an outstretched hand and maybe tossing in a pellet or two. When approaching, the caretaker should squat so he or she does not appear too overwhelming for the animal. Let the pig come to you: do not force it. Build on that in the following days. Remember that pigs are not predators but prey which makes them shy and cautious. The time you spend socialising will definately be worth your while because a stress free environment where the minipigs feel secure provides a positive experience for technicians and animals.