What do I feed my micro pig? What treats can I feed them and what foodstuffs should I avoid? These are the question any serious micro pig owner should ask themselves.
This article is going to cover these questions and more as well as offering you a few pieces of advice and good practices.
An adult Micro Pig (1.5-2 yrs of age) only requires approx 1kg of non fattening sow nuts a day. Slightly bigger pet pigs may require a little more feed but even this would only be somewhere around the 1.5kg mark. In winter time their daily ration may be increased slightly more due to the lack of grazing vegetation and grass.
If you are feeding your pig substantially more you risk the animal becoming obese. This can lead to health problems which are associated with obesity; it can also lead to behavioural problems which we will discuss later.
Personally we recommend sticking with low-fat and low-sugar foodstuff (i.e. carrots, cabbage, etc) when it comes to treats. We also recommend that you should keep the treats to a minimum and only provide them as a reward for good behaviour. One recommendation we make to all customers is this – ‘get something out of your pig, even if it’s just a belly rub, before you feed them a treat or snak’. Doing this prevents the pig from seeing you just as a food dispenser. It also helps the pig associate good behaviour with a reward.
You really want to avoid your miniature pig seeing you as nothing more than a giver of food and treats. Why? Simply this, pigs can easily build up bad eating habits if you give them a chance. If you constantly give into their demands for food and give them everything they want, when they want, you will end up with a spoilt animal which is pushy and nightmare to keep.
Pigs are very intelligent animals and given the chance they will use all their brainpower to figure ways of getting what they want, especially when it comes to food. They will use noise, temper tantrums, squealing, etc, if they think they can get some extra grub from you.
It is also very hard to reverse this bad behaviour once present in your pet pig. You will have your work cut out trying to reverse the animal’s bad habits and strong attraction to food. It is possible to do but you will need to have a lot of patience and be determined to show them whose boss and who controls the food.
Losing Weight Is Hard
Pigs put on weight very easily and it is extremely hard for them to lose it. Unlike a dog a pig cannot be easily forced to walk and exercised. They are very stubborn animals at the best of times and it is very hard to force them to do anything against their will like exercise.
If you are trying to make your pig lose weight it is easier to attack their diet and slowly make changes. They will notice the changes and you should be prepared for lots of bad behaviour but this is a far easier solution to the problem than trying to force the pig to exercise.
Keeping an obese animal is also expensive, not just because you are throwing unneeded extra food down their neck. Any obese animal has higher risks to various diseases and health problems; this means you could be looking at possible vet’s bills and charges later in its life if you do not control your animal’s weight. Just bare this in mind the next time your pet pig is trying to get some food out of you.
Food and excise can be combined to a degree with the use of a feed ball such as Likits excellent Snak-a –Ball. These are superb toys for micro pigs and will keep your pet busy and active for hours, they also have the added bonus of being a great boredom buster for as well. Just remember to remove part of the pig’s daily ration of sow nuts when using a feed ball. You do not want be giving them any more extra sow nuts just because they using a feed ball. We usually remove a third of their morning feed ration and place this in the Snak-a-Ball to keep them busy.
It’s far easier never let your miniature pig develop bad habits and behaviours rather than trying to reverse them. I can offer you the following advice and good practices to follow;-
- 1. Stick to a routine – Our pigs are fed their sow nuts once a day in the morning, we then feed them a few treats later in the afternoon. The only time our pigs are noisy is before they are fed in the morning. Feeding them once a day isolates this noise to a single part of the day. This is also why we discourage feeding sow nuts to micro pigs twice a day as this can distribute any potential noise they make to two points in the day.
- 2. Get something out of them – As mentioned earlier you want to get something out of them before giving them any treats. Make them think that they have to earn that treat/reward.
- 3. Keep To Low Fat Items – Pigs will put on weight very easily and it is very hard for them to lose it. Sticking to low fat and low sugar items such as carrot and other vegetables ensures you minimise their calorie intake.
- 4. Keep the treats to a minimum – Only reward good behaviour and do not feed your pig every time they see you. The vast majority of the time you shouldn’t treat your animal after playing with them. This again just helps with prevent them building bad habits and food associations.
- 5. Do not give in to a pushy pig, show them who is the boss – Do not let your pet demand food from you as you are encouraging their bad behaviour. If they are badly behaved then do not feed them any treats and tell them off; pigs are very intelligent animals and will soon learn their lesson. Just remember, you own them, they do not own you.
We follow the above points and our pigs are healthy and are easy to keep. It’s not rocket science but following the above points makes your life easier and your pets’ life healthier.