Little piggies need care
A familiar farmyard animal that all ages know and love, pigs have been domesticated for thousands of years, and are a sub-species of their wild relatives, wild boar.
While itmay be a given that pigs adore their grub, it’s best to be careful about what types of food and treats they get their snout into. Essentially pigs will eat anything and everything they can find.
Pigs are omnivores and have 15,000 taste buds where humans only have 9000. This may explain why they are such fiends for food! Pigs will graze on grass and hay, but cannot survive on this alone and just like us, some prefer not to graze, so ensure this isn’t the sole component of their diet.
The best nutrition for pigs should include a combination of pig nuts (commercial pig pellets) and a variety of specific fruit and vegetables. Healthy vegetables that are full of goodness for pigs include leafy dark greens, asparagus, kumara and parsnips. Generally, avoid fish and meat, and be warned of foods that are toxic (such as apple/pear seeds, cassava, wild mushrooms and green potatoes, as these all contain toxins that can be harmful to pigs, such as cyanide).
Be careful to make sure that your pig does not overeat. If a pig carries too much weight, they can be prone to conditions such as arthritis. Talk to your veterinarian about portion sizes for your pig and keep treats to a minimum.
Don’t forget water, water, water. Pigs will drink all day round so it is vital that they have a fresh and clean supply of water at all times. In the summer months they especially need extra water provisions to help keep them cool, as they cannot sweat. The bestway to set up a supply for them is in a sturdy and specialised trough that they can’t flip over. Pigs are cheeky and will find a way if they can. Also ensure there is enough space and drinking stations for all your pigs.
Just some things to think about for your pigs!
■ Tauranga SPCA, visit 43 Alach St. Phone 578 0245. PO Box 2087 Tauranga. www.taurangaspca.co.nz Facebook www.facebook.com/SPCATauranga
A good diet for healthy pigs includes a combination of pig nuts and specific fruit and vegetables.