Most everyone knows that hydration is important, and not just during the summer. It is vital that people stay well-hydrated throughout the year… and this applies to potbellied pigs, too. As we approach the cooler weather of Fall and Winter, we want to remind everyone to make sure the piggies in your care get plenty of water during the day, and we’ve got a few sneaky ways to do that if your pig doesn’t like to drink out of a bowl.
If you have a dog, all you have to do is make sure their water bowl is clean and filled with fresh water every day. It’s a little bit different with a pig. While it is true that yes, they need to have clean, fresh water available to them at all times, we’ve found that there are a good many pigs who do not willingly drink water when presented to them like that. Why is that? We don’t know… you know how pigs are… a little fickle sometimes, pretty particular other times. That mystique is definitely a part of their charm, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be frustrating for piggy parents.
In the 30+ years that Ross Mill Farm has been helping people with their pigs, we have figured out a few ways to get water into a pig who doesn’t like to lap it out of a bowl. The first way is pretty easy and really requires no extra work on your part. We always feed pigs with Champion Pig Food, which comes in pellets, and we add warm water to it so the pellets absorb the liquid and become the consistency of oatmeal. This aids in their digestion as well as helps to fill up the pig with a nice warm meal (especially good when the weather is cool). For pigs who don’t drink enough throughout the day, we add extra water to their meals, so that the consistency is that of runny oatmeal. The pigs willingly drink it up because it is flavored like the pig food.
Another option is to throw a few Cheerios in their water dish. As the pig goes to eat them, he will inadvertently drink up some water, too. For pigs that don’t have any weight issues, you can add a small amount of juice to their water dish. Unsweetened cranberry is a good option. Try to add as little juice to the water dish as possible. You can always give them a little bit less each week until they are drinking 95% water and only 5% juice.
A final trick to ensure your pig is getting enough water in their system is to give them a treat like watermelon or cucumber slices. Of course, these aren’t really a popular winter-time food, but these are things that should be given just occasionally as a treat.
As with most pets, clean drinking water should always be provided and readily accessible for your pig, not just in summer but throughout the year.