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Cute little pigs grow up.

"We have discussed--and not entirely jokingly--keeping a pig on your patio. And just today as I finished (writing) the last chapter (of Raising the Homestead Hog) I ran across a newspaper clipping that indicates the concept might not be as amusing or as farfetched as it may seem.

"The headline on the clipping is |Italians Raise Mini-pigs on the Balcony.' The item claims that because of Italy's increasing meat shortage, to say nothing of high prices, people are starting to raise their own pigs. There is a miniature strain used for laboratory work in this country) that is only 18 inches long and a foot high. Piglets of this strain are selling for $50 each, according to the article. They are fed kitchen scraps--and are kept on balconies in the cities. In a matter of weeks the mini-pig is fully grown, and supplies a family with meat for the better part of a week.

"Now then, a bout that patio..."

From Raising the Homestead Hog, by Jd Belanger, Rodale Press, 1977

The above was printed as a half-page "postscript"--an after-thought, and frankly, a joke--but it resulted in more mail and comments than anything else in the 226 page book. Everyone, it seemed, was interested in a mini-pig.

That didn't include me, and for many years afterwards I gave correspondents no encouragement in that direction.

Then came Vietnamese Potbelly pigs. Any warnings of animal fads (of which there have been many) went unheeded.

Now, according to the Chicago Tribune, more and more Potbelly pigs are ending up on farms, abandoned, or as bacon, "albeit of a rather fatty variety. "

One former owner said that prospective pig owners "are sold a bill of goods, that they're cute and little and they'll stay little." In reality, many of them are now pushing 250 lbs., which is a bit hefty for a house pet, "unless you don't mind having your house terrorized," another former owner said.

Around 1985 some of the pigs fetched as much as $4,000. The same pig today sells for $100.

Some have reportedly been sold at farmer's markets, for meat, according to the Tribune. And you might even be able to find an abandoned one.

If you missed out on this fad, don't worry: something else will come along. Just get in first--and get out fast. And don't ask me about ostriches.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:pot-bellied pig fad ends
Author:Belanger, Jd
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:A creature of habit.
Next Article:Minor breeds - they're not for everyone.

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