What do Pigs Eat? [Most Essential Food for Pigs]
Good food is essential to every animal. It is a pending question over what pigs eat.
It is general knowledge that pigs eat anything ranging from fresh foods to kitchen scraps.
However, just like other farm animals, pigs require a balanced meal for proper growth and performance.
Feeding a pig is one of the most important stages in swine breeding. Most people often neglect the digestive tract of pigs.
Pig feeding also depends on what purposes they serve and their age.
You’re probably wondering, what do pigs eat? Then, keep reading this article for more insight.
Why is it important to feed pigs?
Living things eat to survive. There are other purposes for which farm animals are fed and pigs are not left out.
Feeds are made especially for pigs of all ages. Piglets consume separate meals from matured and growing pigs.
Generally, feeding pigs helps to promote and sustain their body system and immunity to diseases.
Pigs digest meals according to their needs and advantages.
Notwithstanding the basics of feeding, there are other important reasons to feed pigs. Below are a few;
1. Pigs get energy from food:
Feeds provide pigs the necessary amount of energy to boost body metabolism, milk production, and reproduction.
Pigs require a certain amount of digestible energy incorporated into their feed.
Digestible feed energy is important, especially for piglets and growing pigs.
Energy in the feed helps to promote growth. Pigs consume a lot of energy to function accurately.
More so, the amount of energy requirement varies. It depends on a few factors like climate, age, weight, habitat, and consumer purposes( breeding or not).
What pigs eat should contain a specific amount of energy for substantial growth.
Read also: Economic Benefits of Starting a Commercial Pig Farm.
2. Feed helps pigs to grow muscles:
Pigs contain a high amount of fat and amino acids. However, it differs when it comes to the age of the pig.
Younger pigs are known to produce lean meat with less muscle mass. Younger pigs and baby pigs have a smaller stomach capacity.
Matured pigs, on the other hand, have more fat and less meat.
The feeds should contain a proportionate amount of fat and amino acid depending on the body fat. It helps to promote muscular growth.
3. Healthy foods help to protect pigs against infectious diseases:
What do pigs eat? Well, pigs eat feed that is high in vitamins and minerals.
It helps to protect and act as a body defense to prevent digestive tract diseases such as colonic problems, salmonellosis, gastric ulcers, among many more.
Some feeds are high in mineral contents. Pigs need to consume such feeds to improve immunity and body defense.
Read also: Best Equipment Necessary for Caring for Pigs
Nutritional requirements of piglets
Piglets are young pigs. Their nutrition is quite different from growing or matured pigs.
Piglets need the right amount of nutrients in their feeds to function and grow properly.
Since piglets are young pigs, their system is delicate, especially their bone, digestive and central nervous systems.
They are more prone to infections and digestive diseases.
Feeds greatly influence body function. As such, certain nutrients must be in the piglet feed.
Below are important nutritional requirements beneficial to the growth of every piglet;
|Energy||2400 – 2600kcal|
|Crude fiber||3% – 4%|
Read Also: What do snails eat?
Nutritional requirements for growing and finishing pigs
A growing and finishing pig is a pig that is ready for the market stage. Ideally, a grower pig is between 16 to 17 weeks old.
When pigs reach six months of age, they are automatically in the growing phase. They must weigh over 250 lbs.
In this stage, pigs consume a high amount of feed. On average, they eat 6 to 10 lbs of feed daily.
The diet plan for pigs in this category is majorly full of vitamins and minerals.
It is a preparatory stage for the commercial world.
They need to be in top shape and maximum health to reach market value. Else, such pigs won’t be purchasable.
Their nutrient intake is important. They do not need it to grow further but to maintain their healthy state.
However, it differs from a regular pet pig.
For a grower pig, the nutritional requirement is as follows;
|Energy||2400 – 2500kcal|
|Calcium||0.4% – 0.5%|
|Crude Protein||14% – 16%|
|Crude Fiber||4.5% – 5%|
What do baby pigs eat?
Essentially, baby pigs consume only milk in their early days.
They must consume a lot of milk because their body system is still under development.
Baby pigs should drink milk for 4 to 6 hours in the evening and 1 to 2 hours during the day.
Also, the digestive system of a baby pig has the necessary enzymes to break down solid or hard feeds.
When the piglets attain the stage of weaning, they may start to consume a minute quantity of solid feed.
Baby pigs eat creep feed. It is the first and most important hard feed piglets eat.
Creep feed contains a high amount of milk proteins. It alternates for milk when it is not available.
When piglets weigh over 15lbs, they can start consuming pre-starter feed.
It is important to feed baby pigs clean water daily.
A pre-starter feed is a mix of milk, proteins, and low grain feed. They also consume weaning or starter feed.
Once they stop taking milk, such feed is important for their growth. They are also easy to digest.
The feeds contain ingredients that boost feed turnover in the stomach. Such ingredients are sunflower seeds, peanuts, sorghum, etc.
Read Also: Different Types of Domestic Pig Breeds
How much food do baby pigs eat?
Due to their stomach still undergoing development, they do not eat much. Their stomach capacity has a short limit.
An average of 20g per baby pig of creep feed, on a two to three portion feed daily.
Never overfeed a baby pig. It can affect their digestive system.
What do adult pigs eat?
Adult pigs are the growing and finishing pigs. These pigs weigh around 45 to 120 pounds.
Some are over 200 pounds. Such pigs are for the market stage.
Adult pigs can consume anything but to maintain growth and nutrient level, they eat grower feed.
Grower feed contains a large amount of protein. Their feeds contain corn, grains, soybeans, and alfalfa.
Adult pigs can also eat kitchen litter and other green vegetables.
How much food do adult pigs eat?
On average, adult pigs consume within the range of 5 – 7 pounds of feed daily.
The feeds also including pellet ratios should account for 2 – 4% of their body weight.
Since they have a single stomach, they eat two to three times per day.
Read Also: What do goats eat?
How to Formulate Good Pig Feed
Good pig feed improves the market value of a pig.
It also improves the optimum growth and maintenance of a pig.
Grains are the most common ingredient in any pig feed. Pigs do not need feeds high in fiber, so grains are the best option.
However, farm grains are in a mixture with other supplements and feeds.
Grains are also high in carbohydrate and it is economical. Certain factors determine what pig feeds should contain.
Factors such as weight and age, the purpose of breeding, climate, and environmental factors.
The best pig feed contains rice bran, soybean, maize, oyster shell, crop roots, slaughterhouse offal, vegetables, and cassava.
There are different kinds of pig feeds and ingredients when formulating pig feed. They are;
- Creep feed( Starter feed )
- Growth feed
- Breeding meal
Be mindful of the stage of each pig and the ingredients in every feed.
How do Pigs Eat their Food?
Pigs are intelligent animals. They use their snout to explore around foods.
Once they find a desirable one, they clamp down and eat.
General Tips for Feeding Pigs
- Every farmer should keep a mental note of the weight each pig should attain.
The pigs eat according to the weight mark. The weight of each pig depends on the type of feed.
The market value of every pig is measured based on the amount of fat available.
The pigs will be fed a high-fat feed to enable them to reach the desired weight for sale.
- The aim of feeding a pig is to promote growth and development.
To grow healthy pigs, farmers should avoid feeding pigs leftovers or dirt.
It hinders proper growth. Farmers should always seek professional advice from veterinarians or other specialists.
- Notice the response to every feed.
It is completely normal for pigs to tire of a particular feed.
Always mix up a variation. Add supplementary vitamins to the feed.
Feeds differ for every swine.
- Using the appropriate feeding equipment aids the feeding process.
There are automatic cylindrical feeders for fattening pigs, feed troughs, and pellets feeders.
Pick a feeder that suits the feeding habit of the pigs.
What Do Pigs Eat in the Wild?
Wild pigs eat anything. From dirt, vegetables, to dump.
They also eat small mammals. They are open eaters.
Wild pigs do not eat formulated feeds compared to farm pigs.
What Do pet Pigs Eat?
Pet pigs eat foods rich in grains and greens. Pet pigs also consume vegetables.
They can also pellet feed. Pellet feed contains up to 12% protein.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Pigs
Pigs can consume a lot of substances, even dirt. However, there are some foods to avoid feeding pigs. They are;
- Salty foods
- Raw potatoes
- Apple seeds
- Unripened tomatoes
The above foods are highly toxic to pigs.
Pigs generally eat feed rich in grains containing sorghum, soybeans, and corn.
However, they have an array of options.
The feed constituents differ for piglets, pigs living in the wild, grower pigs, and pet pigs.
Before formulating or buying feeds, keep in mind the purpose of the pigs. Are they going to the market or are they breeders?
The recommended daily feeding amount is two to three times depending on the age of the pig.
Pig feeding is a simple process if you follow every step religiously.
Above all, know your pig and what they need!
- What food do pigs eat?
Pigs eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods, including vegetation, roots, fruits, eggs, flowers, leaves, fish, as well as dead animals. They are able to eat all of these foods because they have simple stomachs and an efficient digestive system.
- What is the favorite food for pigs?
The favorite food for pigs includes: cooked broccoli, pitted apricots, cucumbers, dark green lettuce, cooked potatoes, beets, grapes, pumpkins, all squashes, zucchini, snow peas, spinach, yams, kale, tomatoes, chard, carrots, pears, apples, berries, oranges, grapefruit, melons, pitted cherries, pitted peaches.
- Do pigs eat everything?
Yes, pigs will eat anything and everything that is edible as long as it appeals to them. Wild boar is a species that can survive almost anywhere, eating anything such as roots, fruits, insects, rodents, and small reptiles.
- Can pigs eat bacon?
Pigs are omnivorous animals, so they can definitely eat bacon and other types of meat as long as it is properly cooked. If you do not cook the meat properly before feeding your pigs, they might develop a taste for raw meat, and this might put the other animals on the farms in danger.