Piggly not so wiggly

  • Melinda Anakalea holds a piglet from the most recent litter of mini pigs born at her home on Aug. 9. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)
    Melinda Anakalea holds a piglet from the most recent litter of mini pigs born at her home on Aug. 9. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)
  • Hope, a mother mini pig, provides milk for her five new piglets. LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY
    Hope, a mother mini pig, provides milk for her five new piglets. LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY
  • A piglet plays in a part of Anakalea’s backyard where rooting or digging in the dirt with its nose is permitted. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)
    A piglet plays in a part of Anakalea’s backyard where rooting or digging in the dirt with its nose is permitted. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)
  • Anakalea says the piglets enjoy having their bellies rubbed just like most pets. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)
    Anakalea says the piglets enjoy having their bellies rubbed just like most pets. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)

HAWI — “This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home,” a verse from the familiar nursery rhyme, rings true in Hawi.

Mini Pigs Hawaii, a venture started late last year by Melinda Anakalea, sells piglets as pets. Like other trained animals, they sometimes ride in the car with her while on errands.

She is fascinated with the little creatures.

“I love animals,” Anakalea said. “My husband originally saw mini pigs on craigslist last year and we joked that I could keep them in the yard. There was also potential to make a profit to pay for the kids’ tuition, but most of all it was the extreme joy and excitement at the idea of raising house pigs.”

In November, she bought two 10-month-old female mini pigs and brought in a mini boar from Indiana in December. After a few months, she put them together and the first litter was born in late June and a second one in August.

“Hope is the mother of both litters,” Anakalea said. “She was a little bit crazy while pregnant, like humans. But she gave birth well naturally and she’s been the best mom ever since.”

The plan is to schedule the next litters in April and June of 2017.

“The goal is to have 3-4 litters per year, but we will see how it goes,” she said. “The pigs didn’t read the business plan so I am learning to work with whatever happens, keeping the welfare of the animals the top priority.”

The piglets sell for $1,450 each, similar in price to a pure-bred dog. But Anakalea’s overall goal is to spread the joy pet pigs have brought her.

“Working with the pigs and teaching them tricks is so entertaining,” she said. “When the piglets are in the house, I just can’t stop smiling. They are so amusing to watch and pleasant to be around. They don’t need as much space as a giant pig since they only grow to about the size of a bulldog. Even better, they don’t eat slop so they don’t smell, and they are easily trained and housebroken.”

They can get wiggly at times but most often they are mellow, and have their own language, according to Anakalea.

“They have so many different oinks,” she said.

Each piglet comes with a booklet that covers his or her brief life story, including vaccinations and vet records as well as what to expect in terms of care and behavior. They are fed pellets for miniature pigs or pot belly pigs, which are different than those given to hogs. For treats, pet mini pigs like fruits and vegetables.

Two piglets from the first litter went to their new home on Friday, and Anakalea has received a deposit on one from the second litter born on Aug. 9, consisting of four girls and one boy, that will be ready for adoption in October.

“Like a dog, mini pigs can be bathed regularly with shampoo and only need their hooves trimmed about twice a year,” she said. “They can be predominantly indoor, but they also need some time outside and a space where it’s okay for them to root or dig in the dirt with their nose. A sandbox also works or a homemade indoor rooting box made with small balls in a box, in addition to the one outside.”

Like pet dogs or cats, Anakalea said toys provide mental stimulation for the mini pigs that can keep them from getting bored or developing bad habits. If their pen is small, they need exercise and can be taken on walks with harnesses on leashes. Their greetings are similar to other pets, as they wag their tails vigorously.

For excrement, mini pigs use a litter box or go outside.

“Training them to use the grass outside is usually less of a mess,” she said.

Mini Pigs Hawaii is the only Hawaii-based member of the American Mini Pig Association.

“We work to educate, advocate, protect miniature pigs, improve breeding practices and encourage responsible mini pig ownership,” Anakalea said. “We sell healthy, socialized piglets, and provide lifetime support for our customers. We have an international network helping us bring the best of these adorable little pigs to our state.”

Info: 895-4490 or www.minipigshawaii.com

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