Lit­tle pig­gies need care

Bay News - - YOUR PETS - Mar­garet Rawiri

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.

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