Bucks County organization works to find forever homes for abused and abandoned pet pigs

Interested in adopting a pet pig? They’re smart, emotional, and clever.

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Susan Armstrong-Magidson poses for a photo while seated on a bench next to pet pig Fiona

Pig Placement Network president Susan Armstrong-Magidson with Fiona. (David Matthau/WHYY)

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A Bucks County organization has pigs as clients, and they are working round the clock to find forever homes for them.

The Pig Placement Networks at Ross Mill Farm in Jamison, Pa., doubles up as a boarding facility for pet pigs while serving as a home to abused and abandoned pigs that are up for adoption.

A sign reads welcome to Ross Mill Farm.
The Pig Placement Network is based at Ross Mill Farm. (David Matthau/WHYY)

“We’re placing pigs all over the country, we’re like a match-making organization, whereby we’re trying to educate the prospective new family to the pigs who need a home,” said Susan Armstrong-Magidson, 76, founder and president of the Pig Placement Network.

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Two pigs in a pen look through the fence, posing for a photo.
Two pigs in a pen hoping to be adopted. (David Matthau/WHYY)

She said she fell in love with pigs 33 years ago because they’re smart, emotional and clever.

“They actually think through situations so they can get their way,” Magidson said. “They realize if they do this first then this will happen, so they can actually out-manipulate us.”

Jim Plunkett, 56, from Coopersburg, Pa., agreed.

On a cold November afternoon, he was dropping off his two pigs, Nolan and Lil Girl, for a few days so he and his wife could visit their daughter out of town. He said having pet pigs is wonderful, but they are sneaky.

Jim Plunkett looks down on his two pet pigs, Nolan and Lil Girl, who are cuddled together for a nap.
Jim Plunkett and his two pigs Nolan and Lil Girl. (David Matthau/WHYY)

“They get into every cabinet you can imagine, you have to have child locks everywhere, they know where the food is, whether you think you’re hiding it or not,” he said.

Armstrong-Magidson said some of the pigs under her care remain indoors, while others are more like barnyard pets roaming around the farm. The boarders have outdoor and indoor pens, and most of them usually curl up on a blanket and take a nap in the lodge building in the afternoons.

Pigs settle down for naps on blankets in different crated areas.
The pigs settle down for a midday nap on their blankets. (David Matthau/WHYY)

What does it take to be a pig owner?

You need a house and some open space, and you need to be able to give your pet quality time.

Plunkett said Nolan and Lil Girl sleep next to each other, but they frequently squabble over attention and snacks during the day. Taking care of them takes a lot of work, he said, and cautions aspiring pig owners to think it through before deciding to adopt.

“Do yourself a favor, do your research, make sure it’s the right thing to do,” he suggested.

A pet pig stands in the grass
A pig hoping to be adopted at Ross Mill Farm. (David Matthau/WHYY)

Armstrong-Magidson said apartment life is not good for pet pigs because they need a yard to run around in and graze.

“They eat greenery and grass but they also need a pelletized grain-based food,” she said. “Pigs love to roll around in mud because it makes their body temperatures cool down, it acts as sunblock, it’s an insect repellent, and it also exfoliates their skin.”

Jennifer Brown, one of the eight full-time employees at Ross Mill, said on a good day she spends more time with pigs than people because of their nature.

“I love their quirky personalities.” she said, tearing up. “I love how they’re very individual, they mean a lot to me and I really enjoy working here and I just love the pigs.”

You can get more information online from the Pig Placement Network and Ross Mill Farm.

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