Raising pigs is a rewarding experience. In a few months, you can sit on a goldmine by growing out market pigs. However, many pig farmers do not know how to feed pigs correctly to help them stay well-fed and happy. They assume that pigs have a single stomach and can eat a varied diet similar to humans, including meat. But in fact, do pigs eat meat?
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Do pigs eat meat?
Yes, they can. Pigs are omnivores, which means that they can eat both plants and animal meat. They are not picky eaters and will eat nearly anything that you offer them.
Wild pigs eat almost anything they come across. They use their snouts to dig for vegetation such as grass, leaves, roots, fungi, and nuts. Meat also contributes big portions of wild pigs’ diet, including invertebrates such as worms, insects, larvae or dead animals, birds, etc.
On the other hand, domestic pigs have a very different diet compared to their wild cousins. They are rarely fed raw meat and primarily consume what farmers give.
It is supposed that pigs should not be fed with a large amount of meat because they easily suffer from yellowish tinge on the fat. Neither it is harmful nor affects the taste, but the pork will not be visually attractive. Thus, meat to be fed for domestic pigs should be less than 10% calories of their needs.
In some places, feeding meat to pigs might be illegal. Meat (especially raw meat from dead animals) can be a home for various kinds of bacteria. If pigs unintentionally eat that meat, they will more likely get infectious diseases causing by those bacteria. What is more, those diseases can transfer into the human body and have a serious impact on our health.
Although no pig disease relating to feeding meat has been found, there is indeed a serious disease on cattle – the Mad cow disease (BSE). It is a fatal neurological disorder disease that was first found in cattle, also is known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. Most scientists assumed that a healthy cow can get BSE by eating feed contaminated with parts that came from another cow that was sick with BSE.
Read more: Can Pigs Eat Dog Food?
What do domesticated pigs eat?
Most pigs enjoy cooked broccoli, dark green lettuce, beets, pumpkins, yams, zucchini, spinach, chard, cooked potatoes, cucumbers, all squashes, and so on. Raised in industrialized farms, farmers feed domestic pigs a high-quality, grain-based diet consisting mainly of corn and soybean to ensure they get the necessary nutrients. Additionally, pig owners also add vitamins and minerals to the feed to keep them fat and healthy.
A lot of pig farmers focus too much on the food but forget about a pig’s water requirements. Normally, a pig will drink 5 to 10 liters of water daily. Pregnant pigs or mothering pigs may require twice the average amount to produce enough nutrients for her piglets and enough milk.
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Piglets start out feeding on their mother’s milk. After being born for a week, these piglets can move on to eating solid food. From there, they eat different mixtures of feed to get enough nutrition.
Pigs are very intelligent, hence keeping them as pets is becoming popular. Most pet pigs love getting treats with vegetables like potatoes, celery, and cabbage, or with fruits such as apples and bananas. Also, let your pig graze on grass and root in the soil to promote activity and healthy digestion.
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Other food to avoid feeding pigs
Pigs generally have voracious appetites, so it is your job to pick a healthy diet. They should eat diets low in salt and sugar. Fruits are very sugary and should be kept to limited quantities.
Seedy foods are also considered toxic to pigs. Plus, be cautious in areas with wild mushrooms. Death cap mushrooms are poisonous and can be deadly to pigs.
What is more, some plants are harmful to pigs but will not kill them. Tulips, daisies, narcissus, aloe vera, sweet peas, hyacinth, etc. are on the lists of plants that can be toxic to pigs.
Keep in mind to avoid other pet foods, like cats and dogs because they have a completely different nutrition requirement. Remember not to give your pig feeds that are not meant for them.
Last but not least, pigs are susceptible to diseases that might be found in other animals’ meat. This is the reason why it is not safe to feed leftovers to pigs.
Read More: Can Chickens Eat Mushrooms Raw? See which mushrooms are safe (and unsafe) for chickens and how to prepare them!
Being prepared and proactive is the best when adding any items to your pigs’ diet. Feeding the right amount and the right source of food will give pigs the balanced diet that they need, but adding the wrong items can lead to fatal diseases. Hope this article answered the question of whether pigs eat meat and other questions related to their diet.