Emily Brown has worked for the Smallholder Range as South East Area Manager since 2013. Emily is very passionate about feeding animals as naturally as possible and helping owners to overcome nutritional problems with correct feeding. This month, Emily gives us an insight into what makes up their pot bellied pig food product line.
The amount of feed a pig requires depends on its age and reproductive state. Pigs which are given the opportunity to free-range to any degree will obtain some of their food from natural sources, such as vegetation, brambles, acorns, apples and even earth worms, however it is important to supplement this with a balanced compound feed.
There’s no doubt that pigs enjoy their food, but with voracious appetites comes a tendency to gain weight very easily. Obesity can be a serious problem, causing long term health implications as well as foot and joint problems from excessive weight bearing. Pot-Bellied Pig Feed is specifically designed with higher fibre levels and lower levels of protein and energy to avoid this problem. Keeping your pigs at healthy body weight by avoiding the temptation to over feed them and using body condition scoring to assess their weight is key to keeping them happy and healthy.
Encourage foraging behaviour
Providing pigs with as much outside space as possible not only allows them to fulfil their natural foraging behaviour but also helps to increase their activity level, which burns calories and helps to keep bodyweights in check. As a maintenance diet, an adult pig will need to eat between 1 and 2% of its bodyweight per day in total feed, so any extras such as fruit and vegetables should be included in this daily feed allowance. The feed should be split into several smaller meals and fed at intervals throughout the day. Placing feed in several different places in the pigs’ enclosure and even hiding some will encourage their foraging instincts and help to alleviate boredom by extending feeding time. Fibre in the form of grass and/or straw should be available to provide gut fill and also to prevent constipation. A constant supply of clean, fresh water is also essential.
Many people like to feed their pigs ‘treats’ to add variety to the diet. Whilst there is nothing wrong with feeding treats, make sure they are low in energy and avoid citrus fruits, as they are not good for pigs. Cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, boiled potatos and bananas are all suitable for pigs. Remember that any treats given, should be taken off the daily feed allowance to prevent pigs from becoming overweight. It is however important to remember that to prevent the introduction and spread of potentially devastating notifiable animal diseases, such as Foot & Mouth, it is illegal to feed catering waste, kitchen scraps, meat or meat products to farmed animals.
For more information on feeding your pigs contact the friendly Smallholder Range Advice Line on 01362 822902 or visit www.smallholderfeed.co.uk