The size of your pig is determined by two things: nutrition and genetics. You cannot change the genetics of your pig by depriving it of adequate nourishment, but you can cause a genetically small pig to grow excessively.

It is fun to watch a pig eat, because it de­vours all food with such gusto. Pigs make even the worst cook feel like a real gourmet, be­cause they enjoy food, and a lot of it. But many a pet pig has had its life shortened by a well-meaning but uninformed owner who overfeeds the pig. Overfeeding will create an obese pig that can develop joint, leg, foot, and other health problems. Remember, you are not producing pork, you are maintaining a pet.

Think about the size of a pig’s leg bones, the surface area of the foot, and the weight it carries compared to human equivalents. A pig of normal weight carries about double the weight per square inch of foot as does a human of normal weight. An overweight pig will put undue stress on these bones and joints, which can cause chronic arthritis and joint disease.

House pigs will become relentless beggars if you begin to feed them between meals. Never feed your pig from the refrigerator.

When it becomes hungry, it will remember where it was satisfied. It will nudge the refrig­erator, and soon the nudges will become strong rooting action that may open the door. You may return home to a pig in “hog heaven,” smack in the middle of the total con­tents of your refrigerator, with an even fatter tummy and a smug smile on its face.