Mini Pig Nutrition
Mini pig nutrition plays a vital role in overall pig hoof health. What you put in is what you get out. While genetics of a mini pig does play a part, nutrition and pig hoof health go hand-in-hand. In Western medicine, it is common to place bandages on the symptoms, rather than addressing the root of the issue. Not to mention, these bandages can lead to ill side effects that are not ideal for animals and humans. We at The Mini Pig Farrier know for a fact nutrition plays a strong role in hoof health. After seeing thousands of trotters, there is a pattern when it comes to poor and optimal nutrition.
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Medical Conditions and Hoof Health
Medical conditions can cause poor hoof health. Please consult your nearest veterinarian if you suspect your pig to be ill or deficient in one or more vitamins. This will help understand your pig’s specific dietary needs. A reference to common vitamin/mineral deficiencies in swine is located at the Merck Veterinary Manual.
Mini Pig Nutrition: Commercial Feeds
Many pig parents often use some type of mini pig feed for their pig’s daily nutritional needs. We will NOT cover home-made foods in this blog due to the vast differences one household may provide for their pig’s nutritional needs over another. If interested in a natural diet, please check out this article by Mini Pig Info. If interested in the main ingredients commonly found in a pig feed, please check the Merck Veterinary Manual for more information on swine nutritional requirements.
This is also NOT a complete list. We are mentioning mini pig nutrition feeds that our clients currently feed or have fed their miniature pigs on a regular basis. Should we find another food along our research and networking, they will be added accordingly based upon our findings on how they promote optimal mini pig nutrition and overall hoof health.
Above all: DOG/CAT FOOD IS NOT PIG FEED AND MUST BE AVOIDED AT ALL COST.
Due to the variances in protein, fat, and vitamin/mineral content in each food listed below, feeding guidelines may change should you decide to switch your mini pig’s current feed.
Mazuri – One of the most easily sourced mini pig foods on the market. According to PAL. Mazuri is not designed as a food to be given as a sole source of nutrition. We often see more issues with thin and cracked hooves when fed Mazuri as the sole source of nutrition, which makes perfect sense. Mini pigs fed Mazuri have healthier hoof health from being supplemented with vitamin and mineral supplements or feeding more fresh produce than this pelleted feed. Many pig owners report more issues with rust and dry skin. Mazuri carries three stages of mini pig feed: Youth, Active Adult, and Elder.
Sharp’s Little Pig Town
Sharp’s Mini Pig Food – Based out of Oregon, USA. Available online in the USA and now Canada. They offer FREE SHIPPING for all USA orders. Tell them we sent you by using the coupon code mptrim on your first order for a 10% savings. Many pig parents realize while pricing is higher than most feeds, you feed much less. Their feed contains NO fillers and tends be the freshest available on the market. Sharp’s can be contacted directly with a nutrition consultation for their feed if you decide to switch.
Purina Pig and Sow (green bag) – NOT to be confused with the grower! This feed is pretty easy to locate. Pig and Sow is often used by many of the pig rescues and sanctuaries we see regularly. Purina Pig and Sow tends to help in the foundation of stronger hoof growth patterns. This is often available at many Tractor Supply stores and locally-owned feed stores.
NOTE: There is controversy on feeding Purina Pig and Sow long-term in miniature pigs versus their sister company’s formulated Mazuri.
Nature’s Best Organic Feed
Nature’s Best Organic Feed is a fairly new feed. We have noticed a great improvement in hoof health compared with other widely available feeds. We feed this to our pigs. Thus far, we have noticed a stronger hoof wall and better skin on this feed, especially when additional fresh produce is added regularly. This feed can be sourced locally at most Tractor Supply stores and may be cost effective for multi-pig households.
Armada Grain Company – Based out of Michigan, USA, and seems to only be available in Indiana and Michigan at Family Farm and Home stores. The pigs we have worked with fed this food have very strong hooves. We have contacted Armada directly to find out if they will go nationwide with their feed in the future.
Nutrena Country Feeds Mini Pig Feed – Founded in Kansas in the 1920’s, they formulate a great pelleted feed that shows in pig overall health. This may be harder to locate, but we have seen it more frequent in the Kansas and surrounding state areas. Enter your zip code at their Dealer Locator to find a store near you.
Manna Pro Potbellied Pig Feed – Based out of Missouri, USA. This feed tends to be on par with hoof strength as Purina Pig and Sow. We have heard this feed is available at some Wal-Marts across the USA, some local feed stores, and online. Some Wal-Mart stores will allow you to order online and pick up in-store. Check their Where to Buy page to see if it is carried locally near you.
Modesto Milling Organic Mini Pig Feed – Based out of California, USA. Available in many feed stores along the west coast. Also available for purchase online. Many pig parents like the option for an organic feed. Check their Retailers List for more information.
Coyote Creek Farm
Coyote Creek Farm – Located in the Central Texas area. This feed mill is organic. The few pig parents we have met have pigs with very strong and healthy hoof health. Most pig parents purchase in a group in bulk.
Scratch and Peck
Scratch and Peck Feeds – Based out of Washington, USA. They have a pig feed for mini pigs up to four years of age, and another feed for pigs over four years of age. Check their website for available retailers here.
Mini Pig Supplements
Some pig owners choose to supplement their miniature pig’s diet with additional supplements. In certain hoof trim cases, we may advise supplements to be added to push out cracks, weak spots of the hoof, and help with overall strength of the hoof wall. Once the hoof is in better health, these supplements may be weaned off or still given on a regular basis. Here, we will cover a few supplements that can be easily added into a pig’s feed.
Biotin – Also known as B7, biotin is optimal for strong hoof health as well as skin and coat health. Soft gel, gummy, or equine powder forms exist. It is often recommended to be administered once a day at 1,000 – 5,000 mcg (1-5 mg) doses. Depending on the weight of the pig, we may recommend doses on average of 3000-5000 mcg/day for cases of weak/cracked hoof cases. In addition, Biotin CANNOT be overdosed; excess is flushed out through urine.
Multivitamin – Many pig parents opt to give a multivitamin once a day to their pig. This can be given in the form of a human-grade vitamin tablet/capsule, kids vitamin, gummy, or equine powder/pellet.
Fish Oil – Fish oil contains fatty acids that promote healthy growth of the hoof, skin, and hair in pigs.
Flax Oil – Flax oil is a plant-based form of fatty acids that promote healthy growth of the hoof, skin, and hair in pigs. Also contains another fatty acid called alpha-lipoic acid not found in fish oil.
Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are easily sourced at most grocery stores and online. They are a good source of plant based Omega 3’s and fiber. If adding chia to your pigs’ diet, make sure they have adequate water to avoid constipation.
Coconut Oil – Many pig owners have noticed a change in skin and coat health when giving coconut oil daily or a few times a week. This also seems to help the dryness and buildup of old skin near the coronary band (hairline) of the hooves which is very important to take care of in between routine hoof trimming.
Olive Oil – Many pig owners who did not notice a change in skin and coat health have changed over to olive oil from coconut oil. Some report better results, while others report similar/comparable results. This also seems to help the dryness and buildup of old skin near the coronary band (hairline) of the hooves which is very important to take care of in between routine hoof trimming.
Pigs4Ever Hair and Skin Conditioner – We have also seen good results with the Pigs4Ever Hair and Skin Conditioner oil supplement added to food daily.
Fresh Produce – Fresh produce is one of the BEST ways to promote pig hoof health, and overall health in general. Processed foods only go so far for optimal health. Offering fresh produce one or more times a week can promote healthier skin, coat, and hoof health. There are many food co-ops such as Bountiful Baskets and local Farmer’s markets where you can source a variety of in-season fresh fruits and vegetables for your pig. Due to sugar content which can lead to inflammation in the hoof (also called laminitis) and excess weight gain, fruit must be given minimally–more often as a treat.
Fresh foods acceptable for mini pigs: Mini Pig Info Pig Appropriate Food Blog
Additional Protein – In cases of weaker hoof growth, we may suggest upping the protein amounts daily in addition to biotin given daily. Some pig parents may choose to up their pig’s feed, or add in supplementation of higher protein foods to include:
- Garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas) soaked and cooked at a high temperature to kill lectins
- Lentils soaked and cooked at a high temperature to kill lectins
- Eggs (raw or cooked)
- Oats (dry or cooked)
- Dark leafy greens
At this time, the main combination dry supplements that help in minor nutritional deficiencies is:
DuMor Skin and Coat Supplement (Tractor Supply brand)
Manna Pro Skin and Coat Supplement
Please note that while these two supplements DO contain biotin, the whole bag contains 1000mcg, not per scoop.
We have also seen good results with the Pigs4Ever Hair and Skin Conditioner oil supplement added to food daily.
Fairly new to our research is the use of Farnam Horseshoer’s Secret Pelleted Supplement for weaker hooves that are constantly prone to cracking and thin hoof wall growth patterns. The dosage tracked thus far with great results is 1/2-1 teaspoon PER WEEK.
Mini Pig Grooming
Mini pig grooming is something many pig owners debate about. Whether your pig is an indoor-only or outdoor-only pig, grooming needs may need to be addressed. A gentle shampoo is optimal for mini pigs. We prefer to recommend natural shampoos such as Espree, TropiClean, and EarthBath. Pay attention to dirt, mud, and skin buildup along your pig’s coronary band (hairline) around the hooves and dewclaws. Should this start to build up, wiping with a rag, shampoo wipe, or giving access to a swimming pool will help rinse the hooves to promote healthier growth in between routine hoof trimming.
In addition to bathing and keeping the hairline clean of dirt and dried/dead skin buildup, the application of Hoof Alive is also recommended. In strong hooves, we recommend application 1-2 times a week for optimal hoof moisture balance.
Should you notice a crack in your pig’s hoof, apply Hoof Alive once a day. In one to two weeks, Hoof Alive helps protect and promote self healing to close minor to moderate cracks. This should be done in addition to keeping the hoof clean with an antibiotic spray or vinegar (white or apple cider) to kill off any bacteria/fungus within the crack.
Pig Hoof Health and Environment
Outdoor pigs receive vitamins from rooting in soil which is not only healthy for them, but also gives them daily exercise. Hoof health tends to improve when hard surfaces as well as soft surfaces are available for pigs to walk on. The more wet the environment, the weaker and more pliable the hoof becomes from being too swelled with moisture. A blend of wet and dry areas (especially dry sleeping and eating areas), the stronger the hoof wall tends to be based on our research and observations across the USA providing hoof care. Some pig owners find more outdoor time helps lower destructive tendencies indoors.
Mini Pig Nutrition In Conclusion
In conclusion, it is up to you to be your mini pig’s health advocate. This blog is based on our findings and opinions on the connection between pig hoof health and nutrition. A healthy hoof can show the overall health of your mini pig. A strong hoof growth pattern in addition to proper hoof trimming promotes a higher activity level, optimal locomotion, and help in a better mood/behavior. Join our Facebook Group to learn more about life with pigs and hoof care.