Although most owners let their pet pigs outside to graze on fresh grass, there are times that isn't always possible. Feeding hay is an excellent source of fiber (helps combat constipation), various nutrients and is wonderful for all livestock to graze on; including pet pigs! That includes you minis! Pigs in the wild spend on average, 8 hours a day foraging for food. They are omnivores, so anything from bugs, nuts, grasses and even carcasses (gross but true)! Hay or grass is an excellent way to combat boredom and help your pig stay full longer. Yes, most will probably want to use it as a bed but many will eat their favorite hay species readily if offered. If they don't like one, try another!
Unlike horses and some other livestock that may have a more difficult time digesting different species of grass, pigs can pretty much have their pick. Swine digestive systems are pretty hardy overall; just don't let them gorge themselves on other food items that should be given in moderation. Hay can be free fed to any pig willing to graze on it!
Hay bale prices differ in cost based on how available they are that year/how many cuttings, geographic availability and species. They also varry in size depending on the equipment used to bale it. A bale of hay, regardless of species, is quite affordable in comparison to manufactured mini pig feed and other alternatives. So it makes a great addition! You cannot cut out the staple diet though, this is only for grazing purposes. If your pig takes to the hay exceptionally well and a little weight gain is seen, cut back manufactured feed a small amount at a time till a more manageable weight is achieved. Some pigs on pasture during summer months can be slightly cut back on grains as they will spend ALL day grazing. It is a balancing act with those that adore it, it is easy to adjust grains to more optimum levels. Grass/hay won't hurt your pig even when indulging!
Here is a guide for hay you may see available for purchase.
A palitable hay that horses and most livestock really like the taste of, this is the hay often used to make cubes & pellets. Alfalfa is easy to digest & high in protein, energy, vitamins & minerals. It is also produced & sold in every state of the US. Pigs typically love this hay as it is very rich and palatable!
This is a good flavored hay & generally animals like the taste of it. Be careful and try to purchase high quality of this species especially if bought in bulk.
When dried, clover hay doesn’t preserve the green color & becomes dry looking. This is normal. Clover is often mixed with grass hay & comes in red, white, crimson, alsike & landino. *Be aware when you feed clover hay that if it becomes damp, the mold can make some animals very sick.
Oat hay has thicker, tougher stalks than the other options available (which some animals won’t eat). It is a hardy hay & seems to take a while for them to eat. Can be higher in sugar – not a good option for insulin resisting animals. Most pigs won't eat this species and instead will use it as bedding or a ding area.
Orchardgrass hay is not as sensitive to time of cutting with regards to end-stage nutrient content. While it is not as nutrient rich as alfalfa hay, it has good flavor & is high in fiber. This is some of the best hay and most animals find it highly desirable if fresh or recently cut.
Fescue –This is a long, soft hay which also yellows as it dries. You will find this mixed in to a lot of home lawns.
Timothy hay is easier on the digestive system than some of the others, it is high in fiber & low in calcium content. Timothy has a tendency to be more expensive, but high in nutrients for aged animals & growing young.
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