4. Charlotte & Portia
Charlotte was born in early September 2018 on a pig farm near Inverell. The pig farmer was shutting down his business and was trying to get rid of the last of his pigs. A man visiting family came across this situation and as the farmer suggested the piglets’ were to be killed if no-one took them, he took one piglet back to his fathers rental property in an inner Sydney suburb.
Although he had the best of intentions, the young man was poorly equipped to cope with a very young, vulnerable piglet, poor Charlotte did not receive the best of care. Left in the rain with nowhere to escape from the wet and fed inappropriate food, she soon developed a chest and skin infection. The family sought vet care for her but many inner city vets would not treat her, until they finally found one who would. After a week of treatment Charlotte’s skin has largely recovered with only the tail end of her skin condition remaining (hence the soothing cream on her skin), but further treatment of her chest required another course of antibiotics. We believe it was having another little piglet, Portia, that helped Charlotte survive her illness. The two became fast friends and are still besties today.
As Charlotte is the breed of pig used in commercial pig farming, she is likely to grow into a very big girl, around 250kg or so, but even on arrival at less than 6 kilograms her personality already shone through. She knows what she wants and it often involves a lap.
Portia was also born on 2nd September 2018, on a different type of pig farm than most people might imagine – one that breeds so-called “miniature” pigs. Not much research was undertaken into the reality of living with a pig prior to Portia’s purchase – although she was very well cared for and loved, her family did not check whether their council allowed people to keep pigs (they don’t, many do not), their neighbours started threatening to harm the pig, and their dogs were causing her some stress.
Portia is indeed a smaller breed of pig than those used in commercial piggeries, but there are no true miniature pigs in Australia – she will still likely grow to 150kg. We are regularly asked to take in pigs purchased on impulse – and we want to take this moment to stress once again that a pig, like any companion animal, is a commitment for their lifetime. Living arrangements may change, work commitments may change, you may have health issues, these things are a part of life and somewhat unavoidable. Animals in our care rely on us – if you do not have reliable back up arrangements in place, please think twice before taking on any animal, especially a pig
Charlotte & Portia arrived at the sanctuary at almost the same time, at the same age, but from two different worlds. They became fast friends and are still best piglet friends forever, living their best life running, snoozing and wallowing at Little Oak.