Pig Rescued From Backyard Butcher Is an Amazing Mother

Mia pig

Pig Rescued From Backyard Butcher Is an Amazing Mother


Mia, Wayne, Woody, Crawford, Helena, and Iman

Rescue Date

January 17, 2018

Quick Facts

“Mamma Mia!” Pigs make devoted mothers; Mia used to lunge in her piglets’ defense, and continues to watch over them now that they’re grown.

This Mother’s Day, join us in honoring Mia pig: an incredible mother who survived a backyard butcher and is now able to raise her children in peace at Farm Sanctuary.

All Mia wanted was to be with her children. At the same time, her time with them was fleeting.

Mia lived on a squalid pig farm, and had likely lost other piglets to starvation and slaughter in the past. Still, she fumed at the prospect of more needless goodbyes, and barked and charged whenever someone came too close.

Pigs like Mia make devoted mothers—defending their children from the moment they give birth, and even once their babies reach adulthood. They communicate with special grunts, and shelter their young in straw nests they build themselves; at Farm Sanctuary, we’ve even seen mothers tuck their grown kids in at night, and then snuggle into bed beside them!

But for millions of pigs across the country each year, these instincts can never materialize. Instead, farmers tear their babies away within days to weeks of their birth, in order to kill and process them as pork.

Mia and her children cuddling in their straw nest

Most “gestation sows” live on factory farms—kept in crates so small they can’t even turn around. Smaller, local farms touted as “humane” alternatives can be just as detrimental to the animals living there. The owner of Mia’s farm, for example, kept his 85 pigs within filthy and windowless barns, trailers, and sheds—all while denying them access to food or clean drinking water. The stench from ammonia was so bad that these pigs could barely breathe. Mia was also thin and had terrible mange—and sadly, several of her children died shortly after birth due to these poor living conditions.

They felt safe with their mom by their side, and had no reason not to trust that we would treat them just as kindly.

Newborn piglets cuddling at Farm Sanctuary

With support from the local SPCA, we took custody of those in most dire need of care. The farmer—a repeat offender that we first met years before, after rescuing other pigs from neglect—has since been placed on an Animal Abuser registry that will prevent him from obtaining other animals in the future.

Thankfully, Mia pig survived the cruelty of the pork industry, and can now nurture her children—the first that she could ever raise—at Farm Sanctuary in peace. This Mother’s Day, help us honor their journey and our work to save more families like hers by “adopting” them through our Adopt a Farm Animal Program. Your one-time donation of $35 goes directly towards their care, as well as our work to keep more farm animal families together. As a sponsor, you’ll receive a special digital certificate that you can print for yourself or email to your loved ones. It’s a great way to honor the bond between a mom and her kids—no matter the species!

Mia’s piglets were only a day old (and weighed in at just about two pounds each!) when we took the family into our care. Mia continued to pounce whenever we approached—concerned that we might harm her children. In fact, when we had to briefly separate the piglets for weigh-ins and medical treatments, she even tore down our hospital doors in order to reunite with them.

The babies—Wayne, Woody, Crawford, Helena, and Iman—warmed up to us quickly. They felt safe with their mom by their side, and had no reason not to trust that we would treat them just as kindly. As they grew—and eagerly approached us for treats and belly rubs—Mia started to lower her guard. And, while she’s still protective of her children, she’ll also gladly accept a gentle pat or treat from a trusted caregiver.


  • We rescue Mia and her day-old piglets from a backyard butcher.

  • The family moves into our new West Campus barn.

  • Mia's family is featured in our Mother's Day Adopt a Farm Animal Program.

Mia and piglet, covered in mud, touching noses

This close-knit family now lives in our “West Campus” pig barn—a newer addition to Farm Sanctuary with lots of woodland space for our pigs to explore. Far from the dark and cramped space of Mia’s past, their new home offers great enrichment for this group to stay active and healthy. By day, they root around in the earth, play with sticks, and wallow in mud puddles; at night, they snuggle close in their warm, straw bedding.

Without rescue and Sanctuary, these pigs could never carry out these most basic behaviors. In the absence of fear and neglect, they are strong and sharp—and most importantly, they are together.

The “piglets” are now two years old, and may one day be larger than their mother! But no matter how old or big they get, they will always be Mia’s babies.