Many allergy sufferers give up on the idea of sharing the home with a companion animal, as most pet fur and saliva contain compounds that cause sensitive folks to itch and sneeze. Though not quite as common as dogs and cats, teacup and miniature pigs make great pets with the key advantage of being hypoallergenic. Intelligent and sociable, a pet pig can be a delightful addition to a home, though feeding a porcine friend isn't as easy as buying a bag of kibble.
Pig farmers rely on protein-heavy rations specially formulated to promote growth performance, while pet pig owners face an opposing challenge: keeping a small pig's growth to a minimum. A pig lacks a thalamus and its appetite is such that it will eat whenever food is available. Food consumption correlates directly to growth conversion, so the pet pig owner's responsibility is to strike a balance of providing enough food for health, but not so much as to promote unnecessary growth.
Most pet-size pigs actually require very little from their owners when it comes to feed, as grass and kitchen/garden scraps are often adequate nutrition sources for their miniature bodies. Pigs are omnivorous creatures. A pig on grass, even just a designated area of a backyard, will munch on more than just green blades. Expect a pastured pig to find and eat leaves, bugs and other creatures -- mice and small snakes make tasty pig snacks.
Supplementing with Kibble
If pasture and scraps aren't sufficient, owners will be able to see the animal's spine and ribs, sure signs of an underfed pig. Commercial pet pig feeds are available at many farm and pet supply stores and provide supplemental nutrition for optimum health. Weaned piglets up to 3 months old need 1 to 1.5 cups of starter ration daily, while adult pigs benefit from 1.5 to 2 cups of maintenance feed daily, given in two feedings, usually breakfast and dinner.
What Not to Give a Pig
Pigs are omnivorous animals who will eat almost anything, including foodstuffs they shouldn't have. Avocados and chocolate have no place in a pig's diet, as both are toxic to the porcine digestive system. Salt also presents a potential problem, so salty snacks should be avoided. Fruits should be given in moderation, as the natural sugars can promote excess growth and cause overall harm. Pet pigs shouldn't eat dog or cat food either, as the higher protein content also promotes growth.