If you are rearing pigs, you most likely will not have a hard time picking out what to feed them. They will eat almost anything you offer them.
But even at that, it’s still better to check that whatever you intend to give to them is safe for them to eat.
In this instance, we assume you are asking, can pigs eat tomatoes?
Pigs can eat tomatoes, but only one part of a tomato plant—the fruit. Tomatoes belong to the genus Solanum, and like every other species in this genus, they may contain the toxin solanine. Tomatoes and any part of a tomato plant are only toxic when they contain significant levels of solanine.
As this article proceeds, we will shed more light on the safety of tomatoes when consumed by pigs.
We will also include a list of other vegetables your pigs will enjoy eating.
Can Pigs Eat Tomato Fruit?
Yes, pigs can eat tomato fruit, given that the fruit is ripe. Unripe tomatoes – tomatoes that are still completely green – contain significant levels of solanine.
When pigs consume unripe tomatoes, they will experience abdominal pain and other stomach issues.
Solanine attacks the cell membranes inside the guts of pigs and damages them.
With the cell membranes damaged, digestive processes are altered, and the pigs may be unable to digest their food the way they should.
But when pigs consume ripe tomatoes, they will not experience these issues.
Nutritional Benefits of Tomato Fruits
A group of healthful compounds particularly abundant in tomatoes is antioxidants.
Tomato fruits contain at least 4 antioxidants: lycopene, beta carotene, chlorogenic acid, and naringenin.
These antioxidants have been shown to improve the oxidative stability of fresh pork, thus giving the meat a longer shelf-life.
Besides antioxidants, tomato fruits also contain vitamin C, folate, potassium, and fiber.
Pigs do not normally need vitamin C supplementation since they synthesize it from glucose already.
But some studies have shown that vitamin C supplements improve fertility in boars.
Potassium plays an essential role in maintaining water balance and stomach acid balance in pigs.
Pigs usually get enough potassium from their diet. But when they don’t, they could benefit from eating tomatoes.
In cases of potassium deficiency, your pigs may become thinner and uncoordinated.
They may also show signs of reduced appetite.
Fiber promotes pigs’ gut health. Some studies even propose that it has prebiotic effects on the stomachs and intestines of pigs.
Fiber also improves satiety, digestibility, and intestinal motility.
Can Pigs Eat Tomato Plants (Leaves/Vine)?
No, pigs cannot and should not eat tomato leaves or vines.
Like unripe tomato fruits, these parts of a tomato plant contain high levels of solanine.
As we have already mentioned, solanine has significant detrimental effects on the gut of a pig.
In line with the above, always ensure you remove the stem attached to a ripe tomato fruit before you give them to the pigs.
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Tomato?
Pigs can eat cooked tomatoes. As long as the tomato you cook is ripe, free of mold, and contains no stem, leaves, or vine, then it is safe for pigs.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Tomato?
Ripe tomatoes and unripe tomatoes both qualify as raw tomatoes.
But as we have emphasized a few times already, pigs can only eat raw tomatoes when they are ripe.
How Much Tomato Is Safe for Pigs to Eat?
As long as the pigs are getting ripe tomatoes, they are in the clear.
But this does not mean you should give them unlimited amounts of tomatoes or feed tomatoes regularly.
You may restrict the pigs’ tomato intake to less than 10% of their total dietary intake.
You may even choose to give them tomatoes only once or twice per week.
15 Garden Vegetables Pigs Love to Eat
Besides tomatoes, there are various other vegetables pigs love to eat. Some of them include the following:
- Cooked Broccoli
- Dark Green Lettuce
Besides those listed above, some vegetables are not fancied by all pigs. They include:
- Raw Broccoli
What Pigs Should Not Eat
Pigs are revered for being able to eat a very wide variety of food.
But this does not make them invincible – not all types of food are safe for them.
Do not give your pigs the following types of food:
- Excessively sweet or salty food
- Raw meat and fish
- Raw eggs
- Rotten food
- Moldy food
Pigs can eat tomatoes, but only the ripe fruit.
Unripe tomato fruit, tomato leaves, and tomato vines are unsafe for pigs because they contain a toxin.
If you wish to give your pigs tomatoes, ensure their treats are free of these toxic parts.