Can potbellies eat scraps?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Laura Workman, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    One of the big reasons I want pigs, apart from getting the creeps at the thought of eating commercial pork, is to use up my extra milk and household scraps. I keep reading where potbellies will get way too fat on practically nothing, and looking at some pictures of potbellies, it's not that hard to believe. So if I do get potbellies, are they going to be able to help me out with my extra goodies, or will they get too fat? I'd really rather not deal with the regular, commercial pigs that get so huge if I can help it. Any thoughts?
     
  2. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    We feed ours one quart of food per day per animal. Seems like all they can handle without gaining weight.

    Our boar, actually lost some weight after we got him. He is big. Now, he looks like he has more muscle than fat. He ran the property free for about a month and at first, he waddled. Now, he looks healthy.

    We vary their diets. Sometimes they eat scraps from the table, especially potato peelings. They love raw potato peelings. They love good alfalfa hay and we feed that to them. They will be happy to drink your milk, but, don't count on PB pigs behaving like other pigs. They like to be clean, not muddy. If you give them a nice doghouse or some such shelter and put a bale of hay in it they will burrow down in there and stay warm. They will find a place to potty and that is usually where they go every time.

    Our pot bellied pigs had gotten used to bread and dog food. They were so used to it, that when we got them home they didn't want to touch anything else for awhile.

    Now, our pigs don't go for that wet slop, they like their food and good clean water. They are also picky about wanting their food in the same place or the same container each day. They like repetition. Personally, if I fed mine milk I think I would make sure they are far away from the house for the simple fact that milk sours and after awhile the place is going to smell.

    They don't care too much for onions.
     

  3. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    yes, they can eat just about anything. There is however, in pigs, an obesity gene or set of genes, including potbellies. (probably moreso for potbellies, since what we have in the US are not true potbellies, they were crossed out to lard pigs in the 70's to increase their numbers quickly) Those with this gene will preferentially make fat anytime they have excess calories. You could do what I did and cull for a couple generations to get the lard pig genes out of the herd and get back to a small meat pig, then it isn't a problem, unless you really really overfeed them.


     
  4. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think the big rub here is when people keep them for pets. If you are eating them, don't worry, just slaughter before they get too fat, or better yet, let them get fat and render the lard.
     
  5. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    there is nothing like presh pork lard for deep frying
     
  6. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    Does lard make good soap? Havent tried it yet, just wondering.

    Lard is also wonderful for biscuits and pie crusts.

    And, for some reason it seems to wash out of the pan easier than shortening or oil.
     
  7. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

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    How does one know that the piglets are getting enough to eat?They are digging up stuff all the time like they are looking for food.We get a box of veggies and fruit from the grocery store every morning that they are getting rid of.These are some picky eaters.No cukes,no mushrooms,no peppers,no brussel sprouts,no iceburg lettuce,and they don't seem to like the hay I have that my goats love! They are 8 weeks now and white Yorkshires.
     
  8. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, never thought I would hear that. Ours so far seem to eat everything coming and going. They seem to like some stuff pre-cooked before we give it to them. They don't like raw onions.

    But ours loves lettuce and cabbage. Perhaps it is an aquired taste since yours are so young?

    We have alfalfa hay and even our babies love it. They started nibbling on it when they weren't yet a week old.

    Pigs will naturally dig stuff up whether they are being overfed or not. That is just their nature.

    Try some bread and see if they like that.

    The pigs we have, the previous owner said, they don't like potatoes. We got home and I fed them some cut up potato slices about a 1/4 of an inch thick and woofed them down so fast!

    Are you cutting this stuff up? They might need you to cut it up.
     
  9. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

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    I think I'll try cooking up some veggie and see how it goes.Maybe a little olive oil! lol,:)
     
  10. smartdog

    smartdog New Member

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    Lard makes EXCELLENT soap, just remember Vegetarians and Vegans won't like it if you are selling it. :)
     
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  11. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    Thanks smartdog, LOL! No, I don't reckon I will be selling it but it is a thought.

    Thankfully I don't know anybody in this neck of the woods that doesn't like a good hamburger or sausage link!
     
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  12. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Kath, pigs need a balanced diet. If this is all you are feeding your pigs you are starving them of both protien, and carbs. It's ok to feed this stuff, but they should also be getting a good pig grower ration free choice. As far as the rooting goes, thats just pigs being pigs.
     
  13. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I think that a picky pig is not a hungry pig.
     
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  14. texasramblerbj

    texasramblerbj Active Member

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    I have pbps bought them because they are easier for me to handle at slaughter time. Reading all the threads> I am wondering if we have forgotten that all these animals were wild at one point ,some still are especially in E.Texas. and do quiet well without all the extra care and commercial feed. I have been working with different Vets for many years and in the pet industry for many years. Big business in helping folks feed their pets, and it is not what we think. not always the healthiest for the animal if given the choice. but convenient, My thoughts only, keep them as close to nature as you can and you don't have to worry about GMOs. pesticides, in your food. a lot of healthy good eating wild pigs. and they do not have us to tell them what they can eat. Just a thought......mine are fat eat leaves hay and from mother earth and love it. grin..
     
  15. texasramblerbj

    texasramblerbj Active Member

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    I agree sounds spoiled mine eat whatever grin
     
  16. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    As I recall, from way back in my youth in the dark ages, pot belly pigs were once used in subsistence farming overseas. They would eat the vegetable parings and eat table scraps and dig up worms and forage for most of their living. When they reached the US people confined them so they could not exercise and dig and fed them more grain and few vegetables. Then they got fat!

    I did not know they had been crossed on lard pigs, though that makes sense. Pot bellied pigs were very expensive for a while, and some of the older breeds of pigs are small-ish. Some of the old breeds were bred to produce lard, as people used it instead of Crisco and oil so there was a good market for lard.
     
  17. texasramblerbj

    texasramblerbj Active Member

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    my daughter makes soap but she does not like the smell lard gives the soap. my grandparents used it in soap making, and it was a harder soap used mostly for washing clothes etc. :grin:
     
  18. texasramblerbj

    texasramblerbj Active Member

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    Ha, I too am from the dark ages and love it. grew up on lard and homemade biscuits, pies and the like. nothing like it good eats.. bakes out perfect . :D