There’s no question about–potbellied pigs, especially as young piglets, are one of the cutest creatures on the planet. There’s a lot of craze going around with people wanting these amazing animals as pets, yet the rate of abandonment and rehoming is growing across the country.
If you are thinking of getting a pig as a pet, please do your homework and keep the following in mind:
In August 2014, we rescued Pumba, a four-month old potbellied pig looking for some TLC and a good home. It was our intention to foster Pumba and find him a good match–but, he instantly bonded with us, and we decided to keep him! Pumba had been fed a poor diet, and in such case, was overweight with terribly dry skin and mange mites. We switched him to a healthier diet, including pig chow and a supplement of vegetables, and gave him skin treatments with coconut oil. In addition, we provided him with an Ivomec treatment (a dewormer) that helped eliminate the mange. Check out Pumba’s pictures over the past few months–he’s looking way better, and he’s finally grown into his body! We absolutely love this guy, and must say that our first real rescue attempt was a success!
Any pig owner will tell you that potbellies love snack time! Like any pet, snacks are great for rewarding positive behavior, training, and for the pigs, to supplement a diet of pig pellets. There are many snacks available–after all, pigs love to eat and will take just about anything offered–but not all choices are good for your piggy. We’ve compiled a list of recommended healthy snacks, and snacks that are good in limited quantities, for your pig. You will find that your pig might not like certain foods; like humans, pigs will develop a taste preference for certain fruits and vegetables. For example, two of our pigs will not eat bell peppers, but the other will!
There is a lot of debate on the internet about safe foods, feeding schedules, and snacks for your mini pig. At Hog Haven Farm, one of our primary goals is to educate current and future pig owners about everything pig. While we are not experts, these resources should give you a clear idea on how to handle your pig’s diet and feeding routine. Please feel free to comment or email us for further discussion.
1. Main Diet
There are several brands of pig chow on the market for potbellied pigs. Finding a formula designed specifically for potbellied pigs (often labeled for miniature pigs) is important; if you purchase pig food formulated for standard farm pigs, the ratio of protein, crude fat, and fiber is off; this food is designed for a much larger breed of pig, and will cause your potbelly to gain too much weight. It is highly inadvisable to feed your pig any foods labeled for other pets (especially dog or cat food). These foods vary in essential protein, fiber, fat and minerals, and feeding the wrong diet to your pig can have detrimental effects, including obesity and digestive problems. In all cases, make sure your pig has access to plenty of fresh water as well.
Some of the current brands labeled for potbellied pigs:
Here is a great chart from Mazuri to measure feed by body weight. Mazuri offers three types of food: Youth (for piglets under 6 months), Active Adult (for pigs aged 6m to 3 years) and Elder (for pigs beyond 3 years). Choose your feed based on age and activity of your pig. This chart can be used for any type of pig feed!
Nutrena Mini Pig Feed
We are sad to say that our favorite feed store, Valley Feed, is closing in January 2015. If you live in the Denver-Metro area, there are a few other local shops to find your pig chow, including Murdoch’s, Willow Run Feed and Supply, Parker Feed, and Big R. You can also order your pig food online from a variety of retailers. Average price of the above brands for a 25lb bag is $11-$19.
Hog Haven Farm follows a strict feeding schedule with our potbellied pigs; we feed them once in the morning at 8:00am, and again at night at 7:00pm. They get plenty of snacks in between as well. We will make a separate post for snack guidelines and tips for the best treats to give your potbellied pig!