Basic Micro Pig Diet

A basic diet for a pet pig should contain several basic elements…

Whenever possible, provide your pig with unlimited grazing on chemical-free grass. If this is not possible, furnish it with a high-qual­ity hay such as alfalfa or oat. This roughage is very important, but feed within reason!

Fifty percent of the balance of the diet should be a good-quality commercial pig food. There are pelleted foods on the market spe­cifically for miniature pigs. Feed pig starter to pigs under two months, and adult food to all others. Since you are not planning to send your pig to market, do not use pig grower or fin­isher.

Much research has gone into developing these foods that are designed to put on weight and bulk, neither of which is desirable for a pet pig. If your pig is a gilt or sow that is pregnant or lactating, there is a commercially available ration specifically for her.

Pig starter is normally:

15 percent protein, 4 percent fat, and at least 4 percent fiber. Adult rations are usually 15 percent protein, 3 percent fat, and at least 5 percent fiber.

These foods may be medicated or nonmedicated. What this means is that a specific medication, often an anti­biotic, is added to the food before it is pelle-tized. This antibiotic is added to prevent and control certain gastrointestinal diseases, but its inclusion in the diet produces the side effect of weight gain.

This gain can be as much as 15 percent of the pig’s weight. Before consid­ering a medicated feed, remember: only cer­tain diseases respond to the antibiotic, and it is not a replacement for routine health man­agement.

Pelleted pig food is partly made up of by­products from the manufacture of food and drink for humans and other animals. The main ingredients in most pelleted feeds are:

Grain Products, Processed Grain By-prod­ucts, and Plant Protein Products

These first three ingredients usually are found in barley, wheat, corn, milo, oats, sugar beet pulp, cot­tonseed meal, linseed meal, soybean meal, peanut meal, safflower meal, cull beans, dis­tiller’s by-products, brewer’s by-products, millings, and screenings from granaries.

Animal Protein Products

These are usually found in by-products of the meat and fish in­dustries, such as fish and poultry meal.

Added Vitamin Supplements

Vitamins A, D, E, and B are found in alfalfa meal, brewer’s yeast, peanut meal, animal by-products, fish meal, soybean meal, liver meal, milk products, and rice polishings.

Added Mineral Supplements

Calcium (in several forms found in bone meal, limestone, and oyster shell) salt, manganese oxide, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, and co­balt sulfate.

Twenty-five percent of the pig’s diet can consist of fruits and vegetables. Be sure all vegetables are thoroughly washed to remove any possible chemicals, such as insecticides, preservatives, and waxes.

Some vegetables can be fed in larger quantities if they are low in calories; these include cucumbers, celery, lettuce, bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli, and green beans. Pigs find delicious many vege­table parts that we normally throw away.

Keep a plastic container in your refrigerator to hold peelings and cores of cabbage, lettuce, apples, melons, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, po­tatoes, squash, and carrots. Feed the starchy vegetables with discretion.

Pigs love banana peels, but do not feed citrus peels. Other fruits and vegetables pigs love are:

bananas, peaches, pears, melons, corn (feed sparingly), tomatoes, eggplant, boiled onions, plums, and peeled citrus.

Good training treats are apples, grapes, raisins, frozen peas, and raw peanuts.

To provide bulk, up to 25 percent of the pig’s diet can be bran. Never give bran when the pig is under oral medication, because the medication will pass through the pig’s system too rapidly. If you see pudding like stools, bran should be omitted or reduced until the con­dition is corrected. Some pigs may be sensitive to bran at a young age.