Marta, Our Potbellied Swine

Can you imagine that in a city with a population of 400,000 people, someone is keeping a potbellied swine in his yard?  Yep, that’s our Marta.  Whenever I take Barkley out for one of our longer walks, either with the Nordic Walking poles or without, we always go say Hello to Marta.  Now, I always thought it was kind of crazy for someone to have this pig in his yard.  That was until I googled potbellied pig to find their life expectancy for this blog.  I came across hundreds of website links to people selling them as house pets!  All over the world…

Marta’s owners have built her a nice little house with a fenced in yard which happens to lie on a city street leading into the forest where I walk.  Because so many people walk there and stop to visit with Marta, her owners have had to put up signs, “Don’t feed the pig” and “In particular, do not give the pig chestnuts”.  There are a lot of chestnut trees (Kastanien in German) around the area and I guess people think this is proper nutrition for a potbellied pig or just want the thrill of feeding one out of their hands.

To me, Marta looks very old.   I think I saw her here the first time about 5 years ago and she looked old even back then.  That leads me to a potbellied pig’s life expectancy, which I got from quite an unexpected source, the website Dog Breed Info Center.  They say “A mature pig will be approximately 13-20 inches tall, with an average weight being 130-150 pounds, but can range in size from 90–175. Overeating/overfeeding can lead to obesity in your pig, resulting in a weight well over 200 pounds.”

And they also comment on trendy pigs, “There is no such thing as a “miniature pig” or a “tea-cup pig.”  These animals are genetically bred to reduce their size. Do your research about the breeder before purchasing from someone who claims that they breed “miniatures,” etc. Most likely these are disreputable breeders with pigs that will likely show signs of inbreeding and genetic defect as they age, leading to an unhealthy, pain ridden pet.”  Can you believe that there is a market out there for “tea-cup pigs”???  I can’t.  I like Marta where she is and prefer to have my dog Barkley lounging around my living room – a Westie who only weighs 7 kilos.

To answer the question on life expectancy, again I relied on the Dog Breed Info Center who say they typically will have “a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years.”   I guess that makes Marta a senior pig.

I wish Marta all the best for her golden years and I promise I will never feed her — especially not chestnuts — because Barkley and I so enjoy visiting her on our walk.


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