Pigs have a simple yet effective digestive system that converts animal and plant material into digestible nutrients.
Can pigs eat fruit? Pigs can eat most fruits, including apples, bananas, berries, grapes, melons, and pit fruit. However, there are parts of certain fruits that can be dangerous. Some fruits are nutritionally beneficial for pigs but need their seeds, pits, and stones removed first. Other fruits have few nutritional benefits but provide a hydrating snack in hot weather.
Lets dive into which fruits have great nutritional benefits and which fruits should be fed with care.
18 Fruits that have Health Benefits for Pigs
The following fruits all have health benefits for pigs if prepared correctly. Moldy or rotten fruit is potentially dangerous for your pig, as are many seeds, pits, and stones.
Are Avocados Safe for Pigs to Eat?
When fed in moderation, avocados can be beneficial to pigs. Studies indicate that “avocado in the diet influences positively on the feed conversion efficiency of finished pigs.” While it has some benefits for meat pigs, it’s potentially unsuitable for mini pigs and pot-bellies.
Avocados contain a natural, oil-soluble fungicide called persin. This substance is present in the leaves, skins, bark, seeds, and pits of avocados, making them poisonous to many animals, including pigs.
While it’s perfectly safe for pigs to eat the flesh of the avocado, consuming other parts of the fruit can be potentially fatal. If consumed in large quantities, persin can cause respiratory distress and heart, liver, and kidney failure.
Are Apples Good for Pigs?
Pigs can eat apples but only in moderation. Even then, there are some dangers associated with these juicy fruits. Apple seeds contain cyanide and can be toxic in large quantities. Pigs can also choke on whole apples, so allowing your pig to forage for fallen apples could be dangerous. Moldy apples can also cause stomach problems, especially in pot-bellied pigs.
To feed apples to your pig safely, you should remove the seeds and chop the fruit into pieces. This preparation will remove all traces of cyanide and prevent your pig from choking. When prepared in this manner, apples provide a highly nutritious treat.
Studies show that including apples in your pig’s diet can help improve feed conversion rates and accelerate weight gain.
You can find out more about feeding free-ranging pigs in this article.
Are Bananas a Healthy Choice for Pigs?
Pigs enjoy the fruit and peels of bananas but could easily choke if fed whole fruit. To prepare a fresh banana for safe consumption, remove the fibrous peel and cut it into small pieces. This process will prevent choking and give your pig the benefits of the entire fruit. Pigs can also eat dried bananas, banana meal, and banana silage.
A study conducted in 2014 found that finishing pigs benefit from having banana meal added to their diets, although it has a lower energy digestibility than corn. Banana silage also has its benefits.
Silage made from banana stalks is high in fiber but low in protein. Fed together with the appropriate supplements, however, it provides a good source of highly digestible nutrients such as fat and starch.
Can Pigs Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are safe and nutritious for pigs. They are nutrient-dense and contain vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Mini pigs, pot-bellies, and meat pigs will all enjoy a treat of blueberries from time to time, but their high sugar content means you should only use them as part of a balanced diet.
Blueberries contain natural sugars that are beneficial to the pig in small quantities. Sugar is critical in producing the bacteria needed to maintain a healthy digestive system. Sugar also helps pigs gain weight, which can be beneficial in growing or finishing pigs.
A pig that consistently eats a lot of sugary foods, like blueberries, may get fatter, but a lot of that weight gain will be in the form of fat rather than meat.
Are Cactus Pears Healthy for Pigs?
Pigs can eat the fruits and leaves or nopals of the cactus pear. These are packed with vitamin C and provide pigs with a nutritious snack. Cactus pear is also high in fiber and contains plenty of water, making it as refreshing as it is healthy. Although an excellent feed, cactus pear lacks protein, which pigs need. Consider using a protein supplement to rectify this inadequacy.
Studies show that cactus pear doesn’t just benefit the pig’s physical health, but it also improves their temperament. Pigs fed a regular diet of cactus pear nopals spent more time feeding and resting than showing signs of aggressive or instigating conflicts.
Some cactus pears are covered with nasty spines, which you should burn or scrape off before feeding to your pig, even though some will devour them with the spines still on. These could get caught in the pig’s throat, causing them to choke, which is why spineless cactus pears are a better option.
Do Pigs Like Oranges and Lemons?
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are suitable for pigs to snack on. While not all pigs like citrus fruits, those that do will try to munch them down whole. This approach is potentially dangerous and could cause choking. Some pigs relish the bitter flavor of orange, grapefruit, or even lemon peel, but it’s still best to remove the peel first.
It’s best to feed citrus fruits as one-off treats rather than complete meals, although studies show that including citrus pulp in the diet of pregnant and lactating sows has no adverse effect on productivity.
Is Kiwi Fruit Ok for Pigs?
Pigs can eat the flesh and skins of fresh kiwi fruits, but only in moderation. Although kiwi fruit contains vital nutrients, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins, they also have a lot of sugar. Too much sugar in your pig’s diet can lead to unhealthy weight gain and arthritis. Kiwi fruit is also packed with vitamin C, too much of which could cause bladder stones.
Both the flesh and skin of the kiwi fruit are full of essential vitamins. The skin also contains insoluble fiber, which pigs need to maintain a healthy digestive system. The right balance of insoluble and soluble fiber also promotes growth in weaning piglets.
Can Pigs Eat Mango?
Mangoes give pigs a healthy energy boost while improving digestion and promoting weight gain. There are some dangers, however. Mango skin may have traces of dangerous pesticides, while the pits naturally contain poisonous cyanide compounds. The safest way to feed mangoes to your pig is to peel and de-stone them first.
With high levels of carbohydrates, fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins, mangoes are a healthy food choice for both domestic and commercial pigs. Mangoes should be fed in moderation, as excessive consumption could cause diarrhea.
In some areas, residue from mango processing plants, including the peel, seed, and pulp, is fed to pigs on commercial farms to no ill effect. The only concern is that the seeds are high in tannins, which could, if fed excessively, cause gastrointestinal issues.
Can I Feed My Pig Pears?
Pears are perfectly safe for pigs to eat. Like apples, they are crunchy and juicy – two things pigs find difficult to resist. Not only are pears tasty, but they’re also highly nutritious. Packed with fiber, folate, vitamin C, copper, and potassium, pears help to combat inflammation, aid digestion, and boost heart health.
Despite their benefits, a few dangers are involved in feeding pears to pigs. Firstly, there are traces of cyanide in their pips. While the occasional pip won’t cause any harm, if eaten in large quantities, pear pip could cause potentially fatal cyanide poisoning. Moldy pears can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort, and pigs could choke on unripe fruits.
The safest way to feed pears is only to offer ripe fruit. You should also remove the pips and chop the pear into smaller pieces.
Are Peaches Safe for Pigs?
Not only do pigs love peaches, but these juicy fruits also contain all the essentials a pig needs, from carbohydrates to vitamins. They have great nutritional value and also boost your pig’s digestive system. However, the pits contain cyanide, so you should remove them before feeding. While most pigs avoid the stones, they could risk cyanide poisoning if they swallow them by mistake.
Cyanide toxicity is potentially fatal and will show symptoms within an hour of consuming the toxic substance. Signs of cyanide poisoning in pigs include:
- Respiratory distress
- Muscle twitching
- Red mucous membranes
Are Melons Good for Pigs?
Pigs can eat all parts of the watermelon, from the seeds to the rind. They’re one of the best foods you can give your pig on a hot summer’s day as they contain around 90% water. Eating a few slices of watermelon will help to keep your pig hydrated and prevent it from overheating. Watermelons are also highly nutritious and contain many vital vitamins and minerals.
While pigs can eat other types of melon, some have a very high sugar content which isn’t ideal. Honeydew and cantaloupe melons contain lots of sugar, so you should only feed them sparingly.
Find out more about how to keep your pig hydrated in the summer by checking out this article on pig summer heat care.
Can Pigs Eat Honeydew?
Pigs love all kinds of melons, including honeydews. Honeydew melons are hydrating and contain fiber and essential micronutrients that boost the immune system and promote proper digestion.
As with most fruits, you should only feed honeydew melons in moderation because of their high sugar content. While simple sugars give pigs energy, caution is required when feeding sucrose and fructose as they may cause diarrhea.
Honeydew melons contain around 33% glucose, making them suitable energy sources. On the downside, they also have 30% sucrose and 36% fructose, so they could potentially upset your pig’s digestive system.
Is Cantaloupe Ok for Pigs to Eat?
Pigs can eat cantaloupe in small quantities, but it’s not particularly nutritious. Cantaloupe is low in carbohydrates, which pigs rely on for energy. They also contain very little fiber, so they don’t do much for your pigs’ metabolism.
With a water content of 90%, cantaloupe is a refreshing snack for pigs that also gives them a healthy vitamin C boost. Although studies suggest that “pigs do not necessarily have a vitamin C requirement,” research shows that boar fertility improves when they eat a diet supplemented with vitamin C.
Cantaloupe is also higher in sucrose than honeydew and lower in fructose, making it healthier for pigs to eat.
Can Pigs Eat Pineapple?
With their powerful jaws, pigs can eat every pineapple part, from the tough core to the succulent, spiny leaves. Pineapple provides your pigs with numerous health benefits. They contain many antioxidants and nutrients that will boost your pig’s immune system, helping it fight disease and combat inflammation.
The pineapple leaves are the least nutritional but rich in beneficial antioxidants. The peels aren’t particularly palatable but contain high levels of vitamin C, making them valuable for your pigs. The flesh is the pig’s favorite part of the pineapple and the most nutritional.
Do Pigs Like Plums?
Pigs enjoy plums and benefit from eating them. Plums are highly palatable with their dark, juicy flesh and soft skins. They’re also chockfull of fiber which boosts the pig’s nutrient utilization and food conversion rate. Although plums are an excellent energy source, you should only feed them in moderation as too many may cause diarrhea.
Plums are potentially dangerous to pigs. Not only do the pits contain cyanide, but they could also cause your pig to choke. Always remove the pits or stones from the fruit before feeding your pig.
Plums are high in fiber but low in fat, which means they help the pig develop strong bones and encourage healthy weight gain. The high fiber content also helps support the pig’s digestive system, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal problems like bloat.
Can Pigs Eat Strawberries?
Pigs can eat strawberries but should only be allowed to do so in moderation. Like many fruits, strawberries have numerous health benefits but also contain high levels of sugar, which can damage your pig’s health. Strawberries add nutritional value to your pig’s diet, providing them with essential vitamins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants.
Strawberries are particularly rich in vitamin C. As a result, they could help piglets gain weight after weaning and combat the adverse effects of heat stress in lactating cows.
With a water content of 91%, strawberries are an excellent summer food for pigs, helping to keep them hydrated while giving them nutritional benefits.
Strawberries should only form part of a balanced diet, the main component of which is a commercial grain-based pig food.
Are Grapes Ok for Pigs to Eat?
Mini-pigs, hogs, and meat pigs can all eat grapes, but only in low amounts that allow the pig to balance their sugar intake. Too many can lead to heart problems and other health complications.
Grapes contain antioxidants and nutrients that benefit the pig, especially when combined with roughage. They’re also a good source of fiber, making them a reliable food source for fattening meat pigs. In moderation, grapes help meat pigs to gain weight and maintain optimal health.
Assuming your grapes are fresh and fed as a part of a balanced diet, they can enhance the quality of your pork and boost the “oxidative stability of omega-3 enriched fat.”
Some owners even allow their pigs to forage in a vineyard but restrict them to three to four hours of feeding to prevent “the overeating of high sugars.”
Can Pigs Eat Cherries?
Cherries are healthy, delicious, and perfectly safe for pigs as long as the pits are removed before feeding. As with many fruits, the pits, leaves, and other parts of the cherry tree contain amygdalin that converts into the toxin hydrogen cyanide.
Although a few cherry pits won’t cause your pig too much harm, larger amounts fed over an extended period could cause cyanide poisoning. Cherry pits are also dangerous as they could cause choking.
If you want to treat a mini-pig to the occasional cherry, remove all the leaves and pits first. Cherries are also suitable for pot-bellied pigs but aren’t a part of their natural diet, so you would only feed them in moderation.
There are over 1,000 different types of cherry, some of which contain a lot of sugar. Rainier cherries have some of the highest sugar levels, ranging from 17 to 23%. Bitter cherries like the Montmorency tart cherry have more health benefits for pigs than sweet cherries and contain “19 times as much vitamin A and beta carotene as strawberries and blueberries.”
Pigs can and will eat a wide variety of different fruits if given the opportunity. While many fruits have health benefits for pigs, they should only be fed in moderation and as part of a balanced.
Fruits with high sugar levels are potentially dangerous to pigs and lack the carbohydrates and fiber they need to flourish.
You should always prepare your fruits carefully, being sure to remove any parts that could cause your pig to choke. You should also remove any pits, seeds, and stones to prevent potential cyanide poisoning.
Feeding your pig too much fruit can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. Nevertheless, some fruit is good for mini-pigs, pot-bellies, and meat pigs, giving them a healthy dose of essential vitamins and nutrients.
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