My subjective personal list would be topped by:
carrot (a small one)
I sometimes give fruit, but I don´t think it is as healthful.
A couple raisins
bit of banana (very little)
I feed timothy pellets which I think make up for things like the bok choy which may be higher in calcium.
I think the key is to mainly feed lots of hay, good quality pellets and grass. Moderate amounts of the other things (the immoderate amounts might be as many as three or four leaves per pig of romaine when I get lots).
I can´t say scientifically if this is the best diet they could have. I think we carry our own beliefs and prejudices about food. Mine won´t touch cabbage leaves.
Oh, I forgot about weeds (it´s winter). Chickweed and dandelions are appreciated. They ate some kale tonight (usually ignor it). Other kinds of leafy greens are nice too, in moderation (beet greens, spinach).
Thanks for the list Lynx. I killed my grass and am gonna try and revive it... it´s grass it should come back? and weeds are hard to come by this time of year.... although we don´t have any snow... Minnesota and no snow... what a weird winter! I also have some parsley seeds I should start growing I´m running out of high places to stick pots where the cat can´t find them though... he´s evil and destroys everything! thanks again!
Where you are, you might even be able to grow a small patch of timothy to feed your pigs fresh. It is nice and soft. I think the moles ate most of my timothy´s roots as very little is left. But they liked it plenty while it was around.
Lynx- I live in an apartment building so I don´t have a yard to grow things like that but eventually when we have a house I´ll have a pig garden lol =) my husband will really think I´m nuts then =) I get Timothy hay from a local farmer it´s pretty nice, soft, sweet smelling. but not the same as fresh would be. I´ll have to try the green peppers. Like I said they like anything lately =)
Because of the high sugar content I wouldn´t give them tons but I do like to give them a little (example -- one or at most two pieces of fruit -- might consist of:
A single grape
An apple-pie sized slice of apple
A big cube of cantalope
A single fat strawberry
Half a dozen blueberries
-- you get the idea -- moderation is the key).
You are so dedicated to your pigs--mine want to go live with you. I wondered about the baby carrot twice a day, though, is that one baby carrot per pig? I´ve read that too much carrot can be a problem, maybe someone else can elaborate, that it causes a liver problem or overdose of a certain vitamin. I only give the amount of a baby carrot every other day per pig at the most and usually more like two times a week.
-all the grass hay (Tomothy, Meadow, Orchard, etc) they want, avalable at all times. Remember alfalfa is a legume and should not be a regular part of an adult pig´s diet.
-all the quality pellets they want. Stay away from the cheap ones and the ones with nuts, seeds and colorful bits in them.
-about a cup a day of various fruit and vegetables. HOWEVER, like Lynx said, you might want to go easy on fruit. Also, variety is the key, so try to offer many different kinds. Carrots are fine, as long as they are not part of the every day diet. Too much of it can lead to liver problems. A baby carrot every other day sounds ok to me, but I wouldn´t feed them to the pigs every day. As for carrots helping teeth getting worn down, it is not something specific to carrots. It applies to all crunchy foods and hay is usually what really does the job.
As for books, I am really not sure what to suggest you. I have many of those smaller, owner´s manuals and honnestly, there is not one I would suggest. Some have very good advice, but they all seem to also contain bad/dangerous advice as well as false information. My suggestion is to read this forum as well as Cavies Galore (where we used to be posting). At Guinea Lynx, we are fortunate to have several members with a lot of experience and even some with medical background like Joséphine. Basically, ask what you need to know and someone here probably has the answer or knows someone who could help you find it.
I don´t think your vet is giving you bad advice. Pellets is the only food you could reduce without causing them harm. However, I personally think that if your pigs are really too fat, you should try to give them more exercice before thinking of cutting back on food. But are your pigs really too fat? How much do thei weight? You know, pigs are supposed to be round and pudgy.
Don´t forget fresh grass. It contains vitamin C and is a wonderful food source.
Are my piggies really fat? It´s hard to say. They are certainly round and pudgy! I have a visit to the vet scheduled for later this week (getting toe-nails clipped) and will have them weighed then. Here is a picture of Spot and Fido when we first got Fido 6 months ago. Spot is about the same size, but Fido is now almost as big as Spot!!
Also, I recommend you buy a small kitchen scale and weight your pigs weekly. You should also keep a log. Weight loss is usually the first sign of illness, often a few days before the pig starts acting sick. So keeping note of their weight can really put you ahead of the game. Kitchen scales can usually be bought at places like Walmart for about 10$. I prefer the ones with a bowl that sits on it. That way, I can put the pig in the bowl and it´s easier to weight him since he can´t move around much.
Unless your pigs have a real weight issue, I wouldn´t cut back on the pellets. Different pigs have different shapes. Kleenmama has a 4lbs boar who´s not overweight. He´s just a really big pig. My smallest pig is 1lbs 13oz and my biggest pig is 2lbs 8 oz.
Sounds like the scale would be a good investment, thanks.
Lynx - where do you find grass? I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and all the grass in my yard is either dead or covered in snow.
- Thanks for the Memories