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What Do Potbelly Pigs Eat & How Often Should You Feed Them?

What do Potbelly Pigs eat and how often should you feed them? If you have a question like this on your mind, you are at the right place.

Pot-bellied pigs also called Potbelly pigs turn out to be one of the smallest breeds of domestic pigs with a very low belly and very short legs. They have an exaggerated pot belly, as their name suggests.

Potbelly pigs are omnivores, so their natural diet largely includes roots, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, insects, worms, raw eggs, and other small critters. You cannot mimic this diet for your pigs, but you can feed them a variety of healthy foods.

Potbelly pigs generally have insatiable appetites and will eat almost anything you give them. Unfortunately, they are also susceptible to obesity, which can lead to foot and joint problems, as well as other health complications.

Aside from the health effects, they can become very persistent and awkward beggars for foods they shouldn’t have and may even learn to open the fridge in search of delicious dishes.

Fortunately, by learning what to feed a pig, feeding it the right food, limiting treats, and developing a feeding routine, you can help prevent these problems with your pig.

What are their feeding habits? What are their food preferences and how much do they typically eat? How can you tell if your Potbellied pig is obese?

We’ll be looking into all of these shortly.

Recommended Diet for Potbellied Pigs

Potbellied pigs require a good quality diet that is rich in fiber and low in calories. Preferably, they should be fed with feeds specially formulated for pot-bellied pigs or mini pigs.

These specific diets can be found in some feed and pet stores. If your local store does not carry these diets, they may be able to order them for you, or you can also check to see if your vet can order them. The following brands produce potbellied pig feed:

  1. Mazuri – This popular feed brand, has feeds ranging across three different feeds for different ages of pigs – young, adult, and old. This brand of food is often used in zoos.
  2. Ross Mill Farm

The amount of food needed to feed your potbellied pig mostly depends on the quality of the food and the weight of the pig. The diet of adult potbellied pigs should include;

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25% non-starchy vegetables, such as carrots and cucumbers. Half a cup of high-quality pellets for potbelly pigs weighing 25 pounds. A 75-pound belly pig may eat a maintenance ratio of one to two cups per day.

One piece of chewable multivitamin daily with two tablespoons of fruit 2 – 3 times a week. Roots from untreated soil. It provides additional iron and selenium to the feeding pigs.

Bran or hay to improve fiber intake which in turn will aid digestion in pot-bellied pigs.

The total amount should be split into 2 meals per day. However, this amount is only an indication and should be adjusted according to the condition of the pig’s body.

If the pig develops rolls of fat around its face and you have trouble feeling its hips, your pig is becoming overweight and should be eating less. Similarly, if the pig feels thin, you should feed it more.

For piglets before 6 weeks of age, you can feed them starter rations independently (as much as they wish), but from 6 weeks to 3 months, gradually limit starter feeds to about one to one and a half cups per day. As they approach the age of 3 months, you can gradually make changes to the adult diet.

Pay attention to the amount of salt in the food you feed your pigs, as a diet high in salt can lead to bladder stones and other urinary problems. Frozen and canned vegetables are convenient, but they often contain added salt, so always ensure to check the ingredients list on the package.

Fresh Feed for Pot Belly Pigs

In addition to special and commercial diets, you can feed a good variety of fresh vegetables to make up about 25% of your pot-bellied pig’s diet.

Foods like celery, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, potatoes, and some green vegetables are good choices but ensure to limit starchy vegetables like potatoes. Some fruits can also be fed, but only in small amounts due to the high natural sugar content.

When feeding your pigs, vary the vegetables so they don’t get bored with their meals and get a variety of nutrients as well. Safe vegetables that can be fed to them include broccoli, cauliflower, lima beans, green beans, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, edamame, peppers, and zucchini.

Avoid giving your pigs too much broccoli or cauliflower, as they can cause bloating and gas. Two or three times a week you may also want to add eggs to the pig’s diet.

For treats, most pigs prefer treats such as apples, grapes, and raisins, but it’s good to reserve them as treats to use during training as they can be very persuasive. But try to deliver these treats sparingly, as fruits have a high sugar content and nuts have a high-fat content. Feeding them hay such as alfalfa can provide additional fiber and some experts recommend adding bran to anything your pig feeds.

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What Do Baby Pot Belly Pigs Eat?

The sow normally breastfeeds its newborn piglet as the piglet must receive colostrum within 24 hours after birth. Failure to do so can lead to a high mortality rate in pigs due to weakened immunity and starvation.

However, in cases where the sow dies or does not produce enough milk for the swine. You will need to bottle-feed the piglet with an alternative commercially available milk.

Eventually, you can gradually introduce solid starter foods around the end of the eighth week. Pot-bellied pigs should nurse their babies until they are 6-8 weeks old.

Things Pot Belly Pigs Shouldn’t Eat

Certain foods and plants are toxic to pigs, including chocolate, alcohol, avocados, ivy, and a wide variety of other plants. The Southern California Association of Miniature Potbellied Pigs (SCAMPP) website has information on plants toxic to potbellied pigs.

You’ll also want to avoid feeding your pigs:

  • Swine or hog feed: when buying your pellets from a feed store, make sure you buy one made specifically for pot-bellied pigs, not farm hogs.
  • Dog and cat food: Dog and cat food contain lots of protein which is too much for pot-bellied pigs.
  • Processed human foods: Foods such as cereals and crackers can cause dental problems and often contain high amounts of salt and sugar.
  • Citrus: Limit citrus fruits because too much vitamin C can cause bladder stones, especially in male pot-bellied pigs.

Consequences of Obesity in Pot Belly Pigs

Contrary to popular belief, it is not normal for pigs to be fat. Obesity can cause restlessness, lack of energy, digestive problems, and foot complications in pigs.

A potbellied pig’s feet were not designed to support the extra weight, so an obese potbellied pig may suffer damage to the tendons, ligaments, and joints of the feet. Even bone fractures can occur. This type of damage can cause permanent residual problems, such as arthritis, even after the extra weight is lost.

A pig that becomes obese may also suffer from “mechanical blindness,” which is caused by fat around the eye and the pig’s vision being obscured. Depending on how fat the pig is, there is a degree of mechanical blindness.

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Vision is not the strongest sense of a pig, so even a small loss of vision is a big problem for the pig. After the pig has lost weight, excess skin may remain around the eyes and continue to interfere with its vision to some degree.

How to Help Your Pig Lose Weight

Like humans, pigs vary in size, so there isn’t one right weight for all pigs. A pot-bellied pig that is a healthy weight has a short back and a bit of belly, its torso curves inward just before the hind legs.

The first step to helping an obese pig return to a normal weight is to prepare a vegetable salad with each meal. Romaine lettuce is good lettuce to use because it contains more nutrients than iceberg lettuce.

Be patient with your pig as it adjusts to this healthy diet and keep in mind that a pig needs to lose weight gradually. Your Pig can become very ill if its body does not consume enough nutrients

To compensate, the pig will begin to process its excess fat in large quantities, causing a condition called hepatic lipidosis that can be devastating and even fatal to pigs. Providing a balanced, low-fat diet and proper exercise so the pig can help it healthily lose weight.

Conclusion

Pot-bellied pigs can be effortlessly overfed because they will never say no to more food. You must monitor your pig’s weight to make sure it is not overweight. A sign to determine if your pig is overweight is a large roller covering its eyes.

Talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your pig’s weight. In addition, the vet can advise you about their diet, as well as the quality and quantity of food. Ensure to feed your pot-bellied pig a well-balanced diet free of toxins.

Mark Lockett

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