It is a common misconception that pigs can consume anything, be it scraps, food trash, and leftovers. Many food products should go into the trash can and not into a pig’s feeding trough.
Pigs consume fresh produce and dairy products, but not all are meant for pigs.
What then can pigs not eat?
Pigs should not consume unripe tomatoes, moldy food, or raw meat. Pigs are omnivores, which means they can eat both animals and plants. This enables them to have a diverse diet. While this is advantageous, if their meals are mixed incorrectly, it may also work against them.
Pigs are single-stomach animals, which makes planning their diets a little easier. However, it is best to constantly remember that raising pigs with only food waste is a risky practice.
Either for consumption or sale, pigs should be well-taken care of.
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What Are Some Things Pigs Cannot or Should Not Eat?
Anything Slimy, Rotten, or Moldy
Mold is a type of fungus. When we hear “fungus,” decomposition comes to mind. Thus, it’s no surprise that when mold grows on foods, spoilage occurs.
Molds are not necessarily harmful, but a major reason moldy food should not be fed to pigs is that mold produces a toxic chemical called mycotoxin.
Mycotoxins are harmful to the health of pigs when ingested. Symptoms seen include loss of appetite with subsequent weight loss, vomiting, and respiratory issues.
A pig’s anatomy is remarkably similar to that of a human’s. Like humans, pigs may have a selective appetite. Truly, pigs feed on leftovers, but special care must be taken to avoid endangering their health by feeding them moldy leftovers.
There are three primary reasons why raw meat should be avoided.
Raw meat can transfer a severe and highly contagious viral disease in livestock called foot and mouth disease (FMD). This disease is deadly because its outbreak could have a significant impact on the agricultural sector.
Foot and mouth disease causes visible blisters on the skin of pigs, and infected pigs produce copious amounts of saliva (the appearance of these symptoms necessitates the attention of a veterinarian to avoid worsened cases or, eventually, death).
In some countries, feeding meat to pigs is illegal because it can cause African swine fever (ASF), which is also a contagious viral disease.
Potential to Become Predatory
Another downside to giving raw meat or flesh laced with blood to pigs is that they could view every animal (including you) as food.
The third reason is that pigs can be infected with trichinosis.
Trichinosis, which is sometimes called trichinellosis, is a roundworm infection caused by consuming raw or undercooked meat.
Along with other consequences like high fever, facial swelling, muscle discomfort, diarrhea, and itchy skin, trichinosis causes gastrointestinal illnesses.
To be clear, pigs should not eat certain types of meat. These are:
- Meat with blood
- Rotten or decaying meat
- The meat of larger animals, such as goats and cows
Why are uncooked eggs off-limits to pigs?
Pigs’ absorption of biotin may be hampered by eating raw eggs.
A biotin shortage is brought on by the presence of avidin in raw eggs, which interferes with the absorption of biotin. Boiling eggs does not, however, have the same effect on absorbing biotin.
Foods High in Salt or Sugar
Salt is needed in a pig’s diet. However, when fed without moderation, it could do more harm than good, excess salt causes dryness and thirst in pigs.
Foods high in artificial sugar, such as candy, should not dominate their diet as well. High sugar content affects a pig’s health, just like in humans.
Death Cap Mushrooms
Generally, mushrooms are edible, and they contain several vitamins and minerals. Hence, mushrooms can be eaten by pigs.
Nonetheless, there are different species of mushrooms, including deadly ones.
Death cap mushrooms are poisonous and must be avoided.
To prevent the risk of poisoning, it is better to buy mushrooms from a store, as it could be hard to differentiate unhealthy mushrooms from wholesome species.
Humans love vegetables, and so do pigs! Vegetables are sources of highly essential nutrients like vitamins and fiber.
Since virtually the same vegetables we eat are fed to pigs, the nutrients obtained are the same.
Here comes the caveat: Vegetables such as unripened tomatoes and raw sweet potatoes should not be eaten by pigs.
This is because their parts (leaves, vines, and roots) are toxic to pigs, making them a no-go food.
Apples are excellent food for pigs. They are sweet and loaded with minerals, a lot of vitamins, and fiber.
They can be added to a pig’s diet in moderation. Nevertheless, when the seeds are consumed in large quantities, a pig’s health could be endangered.
How can this be avoided?
Remove the apple seeds before feeding them to your pig.
Recently, there has been some conflict in opinions. Some people say apple seeds can be consumed in small quantities without putting the pig’s life at risk.
These diverse opinions have been taken into account, and the best option remains to err on the side of caution.
If you notice any unusual symptoms after feeding pigs any food, take them to a veterinarian for a thorough medical examination.
Plants That Are Toxic to Pigs
They are listed below:
What Should Be Done When In Doubt About What to Feed Pigs?
When you’re unsure whether a food is safe or not, it is best to err on the side of caution.
Unless you know the food is harmless, refrain from feeding pigs with such items. It is also crucial to be aware of the regulations, laws, and restrictions guiding the specific location where you are raising the pigs.
There is a common saying that the stomach of a pig is made of steel. This saying comes from the verified fact that their gastric pH is as low as 2.5.
Though this is true, certain foods must not be fed to them. Whether you’re raising pigs for sale or consumption as pork, what matters most is taking care of them and feeding them properly.
When raising pigs, having a written list of what pigs cannot eat pasted on the wall of a frequently visited place will help you remember which foods could be harmful to your pigs.
Contact a local veterinarian to evaluate your written list and approve it. Adding supplements is a great way to enrich your pigs’ diets, but feeding them the wrong items can be deadly.