Pellet free diet-questions

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Supporter in '14

Post   » Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:20 am

Ok, I removed the pellets from my pigs yesterday. I have some questions for those of you who have gone pellet free. Did your pigs lose weight initially? If so, how much? Is there anything I need to make sure I'm including in their diet since I took the pellets away? They get veges twice daily and I'm now using the excel calculator and weighing everything to be sure I get the right Ca:Ph ratio and enought Vit. C, but is there anything else I need to be sure they get? I guess the biggest question is will this help with the urinary issues I'm dealing with?

It's been a little over 24 hours and I've noticed three things: 1) much more hay eaten, 2) fewer poops in the cage, and 3) more water consumption. I guess I expected the hay thing, but I'm not sure why there are fewer poops-it seems if they are eating more hay the opposite would be true. Not sure what to think about the water thing, but I figure its a good thing. Any advice/suggestions welcome and appreciated. Thanks!

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Post   » Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:35 am

I would also add fresh grass to the diet. It has some vitamin C (no, I don't know how much) and is similar to grass hays in nutrition.

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I gave AGAIN, dammit!

Post   » Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:34 am

It seems like you have everything covered. I've never been able to keep grass in their diet reliably. I live in an apartment and can't seem to get it to grow without molding. I just concentrate on leafy green things way more than other veggies and fruits. My pigs lost a little weight (maybe 30-40 grams each) but it was slow. I don't know why your guys would be drinking more water, but I don't think it's anything to worry about.

I can't say for sure that no pellets will help your pigs, but it really seemed to help Zoe. Before she had blood and grit in her urine almost all the time, and she was passing small clots too. Now she has an episode every few months or so, but even then I never see clots.

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Princes Slave

Post   » Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:10 am

I did not see much of any change when I stopped offering pellets. However, the decision to stop feeding any pellets was based on Prince's own disinterest in eating them. Before he lived with us, he did not get limitless hay and not much variety or quantity of veggies and ate his pellets. I think he learned that there were tastier things to eat than pellets, once he got established here. I would venture to say that Prince ate very few if any pellets for several months, before I decided that it was silly to keep refreshing his dish of pellets everyday when he wasn't eating them. He seems very content, fat and sassy with his pile of veggies twice a day and all the hay he can stuff in his face.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:24 am

I did notice 30-60 grams of weight loss in some of my pigs. For most, the dip was temporary. Usually, the amount of feces will be about the same, in my opinion. High fiber vs. the garbage that comes from feeding pellets.... Let's see... I think I'm close to 6 years now pellet-free except a couple of months here and there since I was experimenting with the older pigs. Putting them back on pellets did nothing for them, though. The pigs I have now, including one hand-fed baby have survived their entire 5 years+ with me and this pellet-free diet. My baby is 5 years old last February and the other 3 pigs are at least 6-7 years.


Post   » Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:26 am

I have always just given pellets in very small amounts and push the hay and veggies. I try to give grass when I can as well.


Post   » Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:18 am

OK, now you all have my attention! Pellet Free?

I am glad to hear that some cavies are living this way :)

Spike is 2 1/2 and I read LOTS when i first got him. I feed him fresh food twice per day and he has constant timothy hay supply and water. I refresh his 1/8-1/4 cup of pellets every day to ensure his Vit C levels but he rarely ever eats a pellet in his whole life.

I used to give Oxbow C tabs 1ce per day as he would not take the highly praised drops in the water, but now he refuses them so I stopped giving them.

The vet seems pleased with his health and weight (he is 3 pounds) and said based on what I feed him he should be OK without the added C.

Where can I find info about how much and the variations to cut out the pellets entirely?


Post   » Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:54 am

I switched to a pellet-free diet just over a year ago, as I had a few UTI problems in my pigs & two had bladder stones. They all lost a little weight, but they are definitely more lively & sleek now. Their main food is ad lib hay & fresh grass followed by veggies. I have had no UTI problems with them since, but it may be coincidence.

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Post   » Sun Jul 10, 2005 10:58 am

If you have Excel, download this calculator which will provide Ca:P ratios and vitamin C amounts. Then you can see if you're already providing quite adequate amounts of C in the vegs.


Post   » Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:15 am

This looks really good, do I put in percentages of a certain volume (like 1/4 cup) or weight (in ounces or grams) or parts like 1 part parsley 2 parts lettuce?

If there's a page that explains, let me know!

THanks so much!!

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Post   » Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:22 am

Weight in grams.

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Post   » Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:31 pm

I'm thinking about going pellet-free for weight control issues. My sow Pooh has gone from 1100g to 1250g since I adopted her in January.

Do you think 150g in less than 5 months is cause for concern?
If so, is there anything else I could do?

She has a large cage and is allowed to free-range for about 3-5 hours a day, so I think she gets enough excercise. I just don't know why she is getting so fat.

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Post   » Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:32 pm

Oh, I forgot to add that she was 3 yrs when I got her, so she is full grown.


Post   » Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:39 pm

I've been wanting to go pellet-free for Piglet, too, but I'm worried about her not getting enough of some nutrient or other, since we aren't always able to get a good variety of fresh veggies here (especially greens). A lot of the time, all we can get is lettuce (leaf and Boston). I also do not have access to fresh grass, since all our grass is treated with chemical fertilizers.

She should be ok for vitamin C (I give her chewable tablets), but are there any other nutrients I should be especially concerned about?

Currently I give her 1 tbsp pellets/day.

She could certainly stand to lose some weight. She's up to 3 lb 2 oz now and is very round looking. She also has continuing problems with sludge and has had stones in the past.


Post   » Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:25 pm

I'm glad to read about so many piggies doing really well pellet-free.

I feed a limited amount of Oxbow pellets every day (which they don't even finish every day, and sometimes they'll go a day or two without any pellets at all), but push the unlimited hay and tons of greens and other fresh stuff every day. All of my pigs seem to love all kinds of food equally, so while they don't dislike the pellets I doubt they'd miss them a whole lot if I took them away...

But what are the pros and cons to piggies being pellet-free?

I understand that many of you have taken pellets away due to urinary problems or weight control issues... but all of my pigs are at a healthy weight and have not had any urinary problems to date (I've had them all for about two years)... so should I take away the pellets completely or just keep it to a limited amount like I have been?

I can get a ton of fresh organic greens at my Whole Foods, but I'm in an apartment so I can't grow my own fresh grass, but I feed unlimited Oxbow timothy hay.

Thanks for the advice and interesting reading.


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Supporter in '14

Post   » Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:34 pm

It's been one week off pellets and I've had weight losses ranging from 2 grams to 71 grams. The three that lost the most were one at 40, one at 48 and then Bonnie at 71. She worries me a bit. She was backbred and had her last babies 10 months ago (she was backbred when rescued). It took a very long time to get her weight up after having the babies and I have just recently been comfortable with her weight ( a little over 1100 grams), now she's down again. Should I just watch her or should I take her out and offer her pellets daily?

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Post   » Thu Jul 14, 2005 10:26 pm

I don't know. I guess I might be tempted to offer pellets if she is already on the light side.

Get some fresh grass too. It will provide good nutrition.


Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2005 1:29 pm

For those who want to go pellet-free, but have limited access to fresh grass, the next best thing is pure dried grass (I don't know if you can get that in the U.S though). It has nutrients almost identical to fresh grass, apparently even some Vitamin C, but not enough to provide the daily requirement. I feed it to my pigs during the winter months instead of pellets, when I can't get so much fresh grass.


Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:14 pm

What is the difference between "pure dried grass" and hay?

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Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:36 pm

Perhaps in England where Pigwig is from there is a difference. Here in the states, timothy or orchard grass or bluegrass hay is pure dried grass.

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