Feeding Pet Pigs
Feeding your pet pigs a healthy, balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to ensure their long-term health.
Lots of fresh drinking water should be available to pigs at all times. Adult pigs can drink up to 20 litres of water per day.
There are legal restrictions to abide by when feeding pet pigs. The feeding of kitchen waste is prohibited as a part of a larger overall strategy to prevent to outbreak and spread of disease.
The perfect pig diet will consist of three main parts; sow nuts, fresh vegetables and grazing materials.
A great base food stuff is pig/sow nuts. When selecting a brand be certain to choose a non-fattening variety. Fattening pellets are used to quickly bulk up young pigs before they are sent to slaughter. We recommend Sow and Weaner Pellets for healthy weight maintenance. The exact quantity will depend on the weight of each pig (refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines) but on average one adult pig will require approximately 2.75kg of sow nuts per day split into two meals.
Supplement sow nuts with a variety of fresh vegetables. Some fruits can be included, but should be done so in moderation due to the high sugar content. Pigs often have their personal favourites when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables, but in general aim to include a wide variety of vegetables with plenty of leafy greens.
Avoid anything with a high salt or sugar content, including canned fruits and vegetables, caffeine, breakfast cereals and un-pitted fruits (the stones can get stuck in their intestines).
Pig feedings should be divided into at least two meals and supplemented with grazing materials throughout the day. This helps to prevent the ulcers and acid reflux to which pigs can be prone. Grazing materials not only aid healthy digestion they also encourage natural foraging behaviours, which helps to relieve boredom. Pigs can graze on silage, hay, straw or simply the grass growing naturally in their paddock. If you do choose to introduce extra grazing materials, be sure to remove and replace these every day to prevent your pigs consuming harmful mould and bacteria.
Be sure to balance all of these carefully to prevent your pigs consuming more than their optimum daily calorific intake. Pigs will very seldom choose to moderate their food intake of their own accord and can easily become obese if given the chance. Monitor their weight and appearance closely as you are getting used to how much food to offer them. Be vigilant and adjust amounts accordingly. It’s a lot easier to prevent an obese pig than it is to deal with one once it has already reached an unhealthy weight.
Pigs can get very assertive over their food. If you have one pig that is particularly dominant, keep a close watch at feeding time to ensure that more submissive pigs are getting their fair share of food.
A great tip for smoothly-run feeding times is to ensure that morning and afternoon/evening meals occur at around the same time every day. Pigs love the reassurance of a dependable routine. Assign each pig their own feeding spot and and they will meet you there at the same time each day.
There are many schools of thought on feeding methods for pigs. The two most prominent are scatter feeding and bowl feeding. You can always combine these two methods to create a own unique approach that works best for you and your pigs.
Pros – Great form of enrichment. Gives pigs the opportunity to engage in natural foraging behaviour. Encourages pigs to eat more slowly.
Cons – Difficult to keep track of how much pigs are eating. Food should only be scattered in dry areas and far away from toileting spots. Any uneaten food must be removed before it spoils.
Pros – Easy to keep track of how much a pig is eating. Keeps the food out of any mud/soiled areas.
Cons – Pigs will eat very quickly and will finish the food before their stomach can register that they are full. They can get territorial over their bowl with other pigs.