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What Do Pot-Bellied Mini-Pigs Eat? What You Need To Know!

pot-bellied mini-pigs in the farm

Pot-bellied mini-pigs are popular because they are cute, unique, and interesting animals. You want to make sure you’re feeding them correctly to keep them healthy. Since these pigs want to eat almost anything that you give them, though, it’s difficult to know what their proper diet should be. You want to maximize your pig’s energy with the lowest number of calories possible.

Some foods can cause digestive discomfort or illness in your pig. It’s important to know what they can and can’t eat to avoid causing them any distress.

You may take your new pot-bellied mini-pig home and realize that upon feeding them a proper diet, they grow to be a larger size than you had anticipated. Some people purposely underfeed their pigs to market them as “mini.” They are malnourished so they remain small. If your mini-pig turns out to be a large pig, they will require even more food as they grow.

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Base Diet

Pigs are omnivores, so they eat both vegetable matter and animal protein. In the wild, they can eat up to 11 small meals each day. Since this is nearly impossible to replicate in captivity, you can divide your pig’s daily food allotment into two to three meals.

If your pig is not yet weaned, they should be bottle-fed until they are 7 weeks old. In addition to milk replacement, bottle-fed pigs should always be offered fresh water every day.

If your pig is weaned, pelleted food is the best way to make sure they are getting the nutrition that they need each day. Different formulas are available for every life stage of your pig. This diet can be supplemented daily with fruit and vegetables.

The best way to know for sure if your pot-bellied mini-pig is getting the proper nutrition each day is to ask your vet. Together, you can create a diet that works for your pig. Keeping them well-fed and at a proper weight are important for their health.

Overfeeding

Pigs love to eat. People think that because the pigs are happy when they’re eating, they should feed them more. The problem is that pigs won’t stop eating because they feel that they should. They only stop eating when food is no longer offered to them. If a pig doesn’t finish a meal, they are either being overfed to the point of feeling stuffed or they’re sick.

Even though it may be tempting, avoid giving your pig more calories than they need. Obese pigs can become ill. Excessive facial fat can lead to fat blindness and deafness. Overweight pigs can also suffer from joint issues and pain.

Daily Diet

The pot-bellied mini-pig’s pellet diet can be supplemented with other foods, but not until the pellets are consumed first. If offered tasty treats like carrots and apples, the pig will likely ignore the pellets.

Hay can be offered to pigs to increase their fiber intake. If possible, your pig should be allowed to graze on fresh grass and root in the soil.

Your vet can help you determine the appropriate number of daily calories for your pig, but a general rule is that an adult pig should eat 2% of their body weight each day. This includes pellets, hay, fruit, vegetables, and grass.

Foods That Are Toxic to Pot-Bellied Mini-Pigs

Your pig will eat nearly everything that they can find or that you offer them, so being aware of the dangers of certain foods will help you keep them safe.

The following foods should not be fed to your pig:
  • Snacks high in sodium, like chips or pretzels
  • Coffee, tea, or other caffeinated products
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Bakery rolls, cakes, cookies, and bread
  • Unpitted stone fruits
  • Unshelled nuts
  • Cat or dog food — these foods are too high in protein for pigs and can easily be attained by them if you live in a multi-pet home

Fresh Produce

Fresh fruit and vegetables should make up 25% of your pig’s diet. Try to limit starchy veggies, like potatoes. Fruit high in sugar should be fed in moderation.

Celery, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, and leafy greens are great options to use to supplement your pig’s diet. Apples and grapes are favorites but are high in sugar. These can be reserved for training purposes.

Pigs can eat nearly all fresh produce that humans can eat, as long as it makes up the proper portion of their diet.

celery, apples and carrots on a table
Image Credit: denisnaumenko, Pixabay

What to Do If Your Pig Needs to Lose Weight

Even with the best of intentions, overfeeding can occur. If you are concerned about your pig’s weight, talk to your vet about a diet plan. In some cases, reducing the calories or number of meals will be enough to get your pig back to a healthy weight.

If you acquired your pig when they were already overweight, they may be used to eating unhealthy food. Offering them a diet of pellets, fruit, and veggies may not please them. Some coaxing might be necessary to get them to eat properly, maybe for the first time in their life.

If your pig is showing disinterest in raw veggies, offer these to them cooked. If that still doesn’t work, you can try to make them more enticing by adding a little bit of sugar-free applesauce, low-sodium peanut butter, or canned pumpkin to the top of the pile. Reduce this amount each week until your pig is used to the new flavors and eating without the additions.

Pigs should lose weight slowly. If they drop too much weight too quickly, they can develop hepatic lipidosis, which can be fatal.

Related Read: Do Pigs Eat Their Own Poop? What You Need To Know!

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Conclusion

Pot-bellied mini-pigs should be fed pellets that are nutritionally complete and offer the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein that they need every day. This diet can be supplemented with fresh or cooked vegetables and fruit. Sugary fruit should be limited and used as occasional treats or motivation during training.

Take care to not overfeed your pig. Pigs don’t know when to stop eating, and this can lead to obesity. If your pig does need to lose weight, talk to your vet about a diet plan that will let them shed pounds gradually. To keep your pig the healthiest and happiest that they can be, only feed them the appropriate number of calories per day.


Featured Image Credit: Potckong, Shutterstock

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