Pot Bellied Pigs/Mini pigs and bird seed
QUESTION: I was told recently not to let my mini pig eat bird seed dropped from the bird feeders in my yard and that it was bad for their livers. Which seed is bad?
ANSWER: The seeds themselves aren't bad, but they provide little nutrition.
The problem is the chemicals and fungicides that are sprayed on outdoor bird seeds to preserve them. These chemicals pose little problem for the birds, because the birds do not eat the outer shell of the seeds.
But pigs eat the whole seed, shell and all, and that means they are eating all the chemicals on the seeds.
Most of the seed that falls from a feeder is actually just empty shells, and squirrels do a good job of grabbing the rest. If you can sweep under the feeder before letting piggy out, that's an easy solution. Another solution is to scatter some air popped corn in a different section of the yard, away from the feeder, to keep piggy away from the feeder.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: So if the shell is bad, then what about the mix that is the seed without the shell, mixed with nuts & fruit?
It depends on how the ingredients were treated. Products labeled organic or naturally preserved are (probably) not going to hurt. But, if the dried fruits were treated with fungicides or such, then they aren't safe. The information you need might be on the package. If the package doesn't say, you could try emailing the company and asking them how the ingredients were treated and what was used.