What Do Pigs Eat ~ Here's What to Know | Rural Living Today (2023)

What Do Pigs Eat – There is a common misconception that pigs can eat scraps or thrive on any available food. Swine need a well-balanced diet to grow and reproduce. Pigs are omnivores meaning they eat plants and meat. If you are interested in adding pigs to your farm or just curious, here’s what to know about what pigs eat.

What Do Pigs Eat

In the wild, hogs have access to a more diverse diet and can get the nutritional requirements they require. They forage for their food and eat naturally. They’re omnivorous animals that eat grass, roots, fruits, mushrooms, insects, eggs, and small mammals. Wild hogs don’t have access to feed or slop.

What does a pig eat on a farm? On a farm, it’s different depending on the property. While foraging opportunities are ideal, farm pigs mostly eat feed. This is a way for pigs to reach butcher weight quickly.

Typically, you should feed pigs a diet consisting of corn with soy or alfalfa through to finishing, the last one to two months. From there, with certain breeds, such as theMangalitsa pig, you can feed them barley to improve the fat quality and the meat marbling.

Most pig feed includes a mix of:

  • Corn
  • Soybean
  • Grains


An essential staple of a pig’s diet, corn is high in carbohydrates and easy to digest. It’s an affordable source of energy for farm pigs.


Farmers and feed manufacturers use soybeans because of their high protein content. They’re also a good source of carbs and fat, two important nutrients that support growth in pigs.

Pigs need feed that is rich in protein so they can synthesize the amino acids they need. There are 22 amino acids that exist, and ten of these amino acids are crucial for a healthy pig. Amino acids are building blocks that pigs use to develop protein and gain muscle.

While soybeans are rich in protein and amino acids, they don’t contain the ten different amino acids that pigs need.


Farmers feed domesticated pigs farm-grain based feeds. You’ll find ingredients like wheat, sorghum, barley, or oats to introduce a wider range of essential amino acids in hog feed.

Foraging and Grazing on Pasture

For pigs who forage or graze, they won’t require as many grains as pigs who don’t. As an example, Kunekune pigs are excellent grazers and won’t need as much grain to reach market weight as some other pig breeds. A new pig breed that was created to be a true grazing pig are Idaho Pasture pigs. Also called IPPs, Idaho Pasture pigs are able to eat the grasses instead of uprooting them because they have shorter snouts.

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When raising pigs on pasture, it is important they are high in protein. Grazing on a variety of grasses and legumes, including alfalfa, will help them get the nutrients they require. You may need to supplement with feed depending on what they have access to.

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What Do Pigs Eat on a Farm

What to feed pigs depends on why you’re raising pigs and what kind of lifestyle the animals have. For example, a meat pig and farm pigs will eat differently than a pet pig.

You’ll also find different types of feeds adapted to different life stages. When feeding pigs, you should know that these animals can digest a wide range of food.

However, farmers need feed that is cost-effective and that supports growth while reducing risks of health problems. The traditional mix of corn, soybean, and grains achieves this purpose well, but some variations exist in this formula.

It’s important to consider the unique lifestyle and nutritional requirements of farm animals when choosing a feed. For instance, when feeding pigs who have access to a pasture and who graze all day, they will need smaller quantities of grains. On the other hand, a sow that is gestating or lactating will need more water, more nutrients, and a lysine supplement.

What Do Piglets Eat

What do piglets eat? During the first week of their lives, baby pigs only drink milk. They can start eating solid food after a week, but their digestive system doesn’t have the enzymes required for digesting ingredients like corn.

Piglet feed typically includes probiotics and enzyme supplements to support digestion and help young swine develop a healthy digestive system and gut flora.

What Do Pigs Eat ~ Here's What to Know | Rural Living Today (2)

There are different types of feed available for piglets:

  • Creep feed mostly contains milk proteins. This type of feed is a replacement when milk isn’t available.
  • Pre-starter feed contains a mix of milk protein and grains. It’s a good option until piglets reach 15 lbs.
  • You can introduce starter feed or weaning feed shortly after piglets stop drinking milk. This type of feed contains ingredients like sorghum, soybean, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and more. These ingredients provide a mix of protein, fat, and fiber while remaining easy to digest.

You can use starter feed until piglets reach 45 lbs. It’s a great option if you’re looking for fast growth. Farmers often use starter feed for piglets they intend on selling or use as show pigs.

Grower Feed and Commercial Feed

Grower feeds are a type of food that farmers can use to get animals to gain as much weight as possible in a short time frame. Pigs are animals that can grow faster, but they need the right feed to fulfill their potential.

On average, pigs can gain 1.5 to 1.7 pounds a day until they reach 110 pounds. They can eat as much as 5% of their body weight during the first years of their lives. As they get older, they can gain as much as 2 lbs a day.

You can introduce grower feed once a pig is 12 weeks old. It’s a cost-effective way to feed swine while achieving fast growth for meat production.

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Grower feed provides a mix of protein and fat to help pigs gain weight fast. It’s low in fibers and usually includes a lysine supplement to promote muscle development. You’ll often find ingredients like sorghum and soybean because of their high protein supplement, and some grower feed manufacturers use additional protein supplements.

Commercial feed is somewhat similar to grower feed. However, the main priority is to offer an affordable feed that farmers can use to raise pigs and offer reasonably-priced meat to consumers.

This feed supports healthy growth, but pigs won’t gain weight as quickly as they can with grower feed. Commercial feed typically uses a mix of ground corn and soybean. You might find sorghum and other grains, but corn remains the main source of energy since it’s more affordable.

On average, farm pigs eat 6 – 8 pounds of feed each day.

What Do Pigs Eat Outside of Grower or Commercial Feed

Other types of feed are a healthier option when cost-effective meat production isn’t the objective. You can, for instance, find a high-quality feed with high levels of crude protein that support muscle definition. It’s a popular option for show pigs or for producing lean pork. Some manufacturers offer feed additives that can boost lean muscle mass production by more than 30%.

Different pig breeds have different requirements.

Foraging breeds like Berkshire, Choctaw, Mulefoot, or Hampshire pigs have a more diverse diet. They need grain to supplement their grazing, but their diet can include grass, peas, turnips, acorns, berries, and legumes. This makes raising Berkshire pigs and other good foragers a good return on investment.

In the wild, hogs will eat plants and animal proteins and overall will have a much more diverse diet.

Pet pigs have very different nutritional requirements compared to farm animals. You can find pellets that use ingredients like ground corn, soybean, oatmeal, flaxseed, alfalfa, wheat, and more. Many mini pig owners supplement their pet’s diet with hay, fruits, and vegetables.

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Pigs and Supplements

Farmers often use supplements to introduce more minerals and vitamins and make up for any nutritional deficiencies in the pig feed they are using.

These vitamins and minerals support important metabolic functions. There are a total of ten crucial minerals that pigs need to be healthy, including sodium, chloride, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, and more.

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Farmers can adjust the levels of these different minerals. For instance, they can add more chloride to support a healthy fluid balance or introduce an iron supplement to prevent anemia, a common issue in piglets who drink milk.

Zinc is an important mineral for skin health and reproductive functions, so farmers sometimes increase zinc intake in pigs used for breeding.

How Much Water Does a Pig Need Each Day?

Access to clean water is crucial for raising healthy swine. Over 50% of a pig’s body weight is water. On average, pigs drink two to three kilos of water for each kilo of dry feed they eat, and this amount increases for lactating sows.

Water quality is important. It shouldn’t contain high levels of minerals or sulfates.

You can give a pig water by making sure you have access and space around the waterer. Provide one waterer for every 10 pigs. These can be automatic nipple waterers or large drink bowls. They should be convenient and easy to fill as well as to clean.


What do pigs eat naturally?

Pigs are omnivores and eat plants and animals. When permitted to forage and scavenge, pigs eat grasses, leaves, roots, and flowers. They will also eat small animals and fish.

Do pigs actually eat anything?

They will eat anything edible. Pigs eat vegetables, table scraps, meat, bread, fruit, pig pellets, and more. However, just because they will eat anything doesn’t mean you should feed them anything. Don’t feed them rotting compost or garbage. Pigs can eat meat.

What is the best food for pigs?

Feeding pigs a diet filled with carbohydrates for energy, protein, and so they put on weight quickly is important for most pig farmers. Corn-based feeds are popular. Pet pigs and pigs raised in backyards often enjoy the bounties of table scraps and fruits and vegetables as well.

Can you feed pigs slop?

Many hog farmers will supplement with pig slop.

What can pigs not eat?

When feeding pigs, it’s tempting to toss them table scraps and leftovers. However, pigs shouldn’t eat pits, avocado peels, nightshades such as eggplant, chocolate, raw meat, raw eggs, or kale.

Is it bad to feed pigs meat?

Cooked meat in moderation is fine for pigs. They shouldn’t eat it raw due to the risk for disease.

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What do pigs eat? In most cases, meat pigs eat feed designed to help them gain weight fast with a mix of corn, soybean, and grains. When they are young, they will eat grower feed.

When raising meat pigs versus a pet pig, you’ll want to fatten them up to get ready for slaughter. Grain feeds such as barley, oats, wheat, and corn are ideal as they provide energy.

If you’re looking for feed to raise farm pigs, keep in mind that it’s important to consider growth and meat production goals as well as whether they will be foraging for leaves, roots, stems, flowers.

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What is the best food to feed pigs? ›

Good pig feed contains sufficient energy, protein, minerals and vitamins. Rice bran, broken rice, maize, soya-beans, cassava, vegetables and distillers' residues are often used in pig feed. Distillery waste is much appreciated in traditional pig husbandry, especially for pigs.

What food do pigs need to survive? ›

Farmers feed pigs a high-quality, grain-based diet consisting mainly of crops such as barley, wheat and corn, which provide pigs with energy, and soybeans and canola meal for protein. Farmers add vitamins and minerals to the feed of newly-weaned pigs for optimum nutrition.

What is a pigs natural diet? ›

Pigs are omnivores so in nature they would consume a diet of grasses, small animals, insects, earth worms, roots and dirt just to name a few.

What is one food a pig will not eat? ›

It's ok to feed pigs uncontaminated fruits, vegetables, bread, grains, dairy, eggs, and vegetable oils. Do not feed pigs meat, fish, or their bones, oils, or juices, or ANY food that has touched these substances. All food scraps can be composted.

What Can pigs eat daily? ›

Pigs have simple stomachs and an efficient digestive system that enables them to eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods, including vegetation, roots, fruits, eggs, flowers, leaves, fish, and dead animals.

Can you feed pigs dog food? ›

Cat and dog foods should not be fed to pigs, as they are too high in protein.

Do pigs eat bananas? ›

Bananas can be fed to pigs either fresh, ensiled (Le Dividich et al., 1976a; Le Dividich et al., 1976b), or in the form of a dry meal, even though the latter is extremely difficult to achieve. Ripe bananas are very palatable and their degree of ripeness affects performance.

Why can't pigs eat meat? ›

Diseases that can be spread by feeding food waste containing mammalian meat and dairy products to pigs include: Foot-and-mouth disease. African Swine Fever. Classical Swine Fever.

Is dry food better than wet feed for pigs? ›

Conclusions. Pigs performed equivalent in both systems, but from an animal welfare view we recommend dry feed to growing pigs and suggest that liquid feed systems ought to be reserved for systems using alternative feed supplies like whey or other liquid leftovers from the food industry.

Is oatmeal good for pigs? ›

Oats are highly palatable to all ages and production classes of pigs. They are fed primarily in two forms – hulled or dehulled; dehulled oats should be ground to prevent the pigs from separating out the hulls from the grain, that way they consume both. A fine to medium grind is better than a coarse grind.

Can pigs live on grass alone? ›

Pigs will survive on grasses but they will not do well. This diet will not sustain them for very long and they will not grow and reproduce well, if at all. This is why feral pigs raid crops, kill young livestock and eat carrion. They need to supply what is missing in their diet to survive.

How long can pigs go without food? ›

Always remember, 24 hours without food will stop growth, 24 hours without water will kill.

Can pigs eat boiled eggs? ›

Our Hog Production Manager, Aaron Lorenz, pictured above, elaborates on our zero-waste hog feeding program: " Eggs are a great feed supplement for all hogs, but they're especially valuable for young pigs.

What smells do pigs hate? ›

The smell of human urine was enough to scare the boars away at night, when they usually make their intrusions. For boars, the smell of the human urine was an indication of human presence, which drove them away.

Do pigs eat apples? ›

Apples are a great treat for pigs. Not only are they naturally sweet but they provide good amounts of vitamins and plenty of fiber.

Can pigs eat raw eggs? ›

The pigs should readily consume the eggs, but may leave some of the shells. The method of feeding depends on your available facilities, but they will probably have to be fed separately, unless you feed your total ration as a liquid or gruel feed.

What are the best vegetables for pigs? ›

Other healthy vegetables snacks for pigs include bean sprouts, beets, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, parsnips, peppers, pumpkin, summer squash, turnips, winter squashes and zucchini.

What eat pig the most? ›

The top consumer of pork in 2021 continued to be China, taking into account its special economic regions Hong Kong, Macau, and Mainland China, whose consumptions were about 61, 52, and 37 kg/inhabitant respectively.

What are pigs favorite treats? ›

Most pigs love: 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.

What do pigs drink? ›

For good growth and production, pigs require continuous access to good quality drinking water. Water plays an important role in their body processes: regulating body temperature. transporting other nutrients around the body.

How long do pigs live? ›

Why can't pigs eat potatoes? ›

Solanine can damage the cell membranes inside a pig's intestines, affecting its ability to process food properly. It can also get in the way of the production of different enzymes that pigs need. You should also know that solanine is more abundant in the potato's skin.

Can pigs have strawberries? ›

Strawberries, because of their sugar content, are not fit to be included in your pig's diet every day. The stems and leaves are healthy for your pig, perhaps even better than the fruit itself.

Can pigs have peanut butter? ›

Can pigs eat peanut butter or peanuts? Yes, pigs can safely eat peanut butter and peanuts. So long as they don't have any harmful additives or seasonings both are fine for pigs, and a great way to give them healthy fats.

Why is it illegal to feed pigs kitchen scraps? ›

This is to prevent the introduction and spread of potentially devastating notifiable animal diseases, such as African and Classical Swine Fever, and Foot and Mouth disease. These diseases cause significant animal health and welfare problems and damage to the economy.

Why are pigs unclean? ›

They eat calorie-dense foods, not only nuts and grains but also less salubrious items such as carrion, human corpses and feces. Pigs were unclean because they ate filth. The Jews were not alone in this prejudice. In the great civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, priests and rulers avoided pork at all costs.

How intelligent are pigs? ›

Pigs are actually considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world—even more intelligent than dogs—and are capable of playing video games with more focus and success than chimps! They also have excellent object-location memory. If they find grub in one spot, they'll remember to look there next time.

Is sweet feed good for pigs? ›

Do not use sweet feed or your pig will become very fat, very quickly. Complete feed usually contains alfalfa, oats and rye wheat. Sweet feed usually contains molasses, sugar cane and corn syrups which are very tasty but also very fattening. Pigs can easily develop a sweet tooth.

Is it good to add salt to pig feed? ›

Salt is a source of sodium for pigs. It is very important to young pigs because they need sodium to grow. Grains are low in sodium but you only need 0.25% salt in young pig diets. Older pigs need around 0.3–0.5% salt in their diet.

Should pigs be on full feed? ›

Full Feeding versus Limit Feeding

Both approaches have benefits. Full feeding is more convenient: Large feeders may be filled at infrequent intervals, and you don't need to weigh anything. Full-fed hogs will also reach slaughter weight sooner than limit-fed hogs.

Is yogurt good for pigs? ›

Among Danish piglet producers, it's well known, that sour milk products as yoghurt has a beneficial impact on the intestinal function and hereby on the health and welfare of the piglets.

What is the best grain to feed pigs? ›

In the absence of corn, cereal grains such as wheat and barley can be used very successfully in swine diets.

Can you feed cracked corn to pigs? ›

Effects of cracked corn on growth performance and stomach lesions in finishing pigs. The use of cracked corn in finishing diets may reduce the scores for stomach lesions. In finishing pigs, a 1.2 to 1.4% of improvement in feed efficiency occurs for each 100-μm reduction in the particle size of corn.

Can pigs survive winter outside? ›

If you are planning to leave your pigs outside for the winter there are things you can do to ensure they are warm and well. Placing a sack-cloth, or similar, door over the entrance is a must in the winter. This can be lowered over the entrance way at night, and will prevent loss of heat or drafts.

Do pigs survive winter? ›

It may not look like much compared with the fuzzy coat of a sheep or a goat, but the layer of hair on these breeds helps them survive winter weather. In proper conditions, healthy pigs can make it through winter.

Can you keep a single pig? ›

We know there are a lot of opinions out there; however, the research shows that pigs don't do well as single pigs. Potbellied pigs are intelligent and complex creatures and have social hierarchies and herd dynamics. To be truly happy, they need the companionship of another pig(s).

What is poisonous to pigs? ›

Bracken, hemlock, cocklebur, henbane, ivy, acorns, ragwort, foxglove, elder, deadly nightshade, rhododendron, and laburnum are all highly toxic to pigs.

Can I give my pig Gatorade? ›

Pigs can go without food longer than they can go without fluid. Try the usual Gatorade (new melon flavor often works), juice and water mixed, or plain water with a touch to sweeten. Sometimes a shot of energy (honey) will be enough to get the pig on its feet.

At what age are pigs killed for meat? ›

Pigs are slaughtered after four to seven months. Sows produce around four to seven litters before they become exhausted and are slaughtered at three-to-five years.

Do pigs like to drink milk? ›

They sure do enjoy it! Anecdotal evidence suggests that feeding dairy to pigs can help make the meat more tender, but for us it goes beyond that. (Although taste is always one of the most important things.)

Is bacon good for pigs? ›

Can pigs eat bacon, and is it safe? Yes, pigs may safely eat bacon although the salt content is quite high. Pigs have no reservations about eating meat of their own kind, and can derive nutrition from bacon like any other meat, including protein and fat.

Can you feed pigs raw potatoes? ›

Possible Use as Livestock Feed

They may be fed raw to cattle or sheep, but raw potatoes are not suitable for hogs. Cooked potatoes have been found satisfactory for hogs, when fed with grain.

What color do pigs not like? ›

Hogs can detect the color blue but struggle with colors on the green and red spectrum. Although pigs do not register red and green light, they are attracted and move towards brightly lit areas opposed to shadowed areas. It has been shown that you can direct a hog's movements with light alone.

What smell attracts pigs? ›

Sweet corn is a staple in hog baits, because hogs can easily recognize the smell. Corn will “sour” once soaked for several days, creating a smell that will attract hogs but keep other animals, such as deer, away.

What do pigs like to sleep on? ›

It should allow easy access for placing bedding material such as straw or sawdust. The bedding should be about 20cm deep, so that the pigs can burrow into it and it must be replaced when dirty or wet.

Can pigs eat rice? ›

Most results have shown that rice can be partially or completely used to replace corn in pig diets without negatively affecting pig growth and production.

Can pigs eat corn? ›

Pigs are omnivores, which means they eat both meat & plants. They love corn & it's safe to give them the whole cob, husks & all. Just don't give them corn on the cob with a ton of salt & butter on it because that wouldn't be healthy.

Can pigs eat bell peppers? ›

Safe veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, lima beans, green beans, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, edamame, peppers and zucchini. Don't feed your pig too much broccoli or cauliflower, however, since they can cause bloating and gas.

What to feed pigs dont starve? ›

Pigs will eat any Food item lying on the ground. If a Pig eats a Vegetable, Fruit, or Petals, either off the ground or received from the Player, it will produce a pile of Manure, which it can do every 15 seconds. This makes them one of the main sources of Manure in the game.

How much grain should I feed my pig per day? ›

The average amount of feed your pig will consume each day is between 5 and 7 pounds per day.

Can pigs eat Cheerios? ›

Plain cheerios and air-popped popcorn without butter or salt make excellent treats and training tools. As with any animal, it is important to make sure that your pig always has access to fresh water. Due to the shape of their snouts, pigs prefer shallow dishes.

Is cracked corn good for pigs? ›

Effects of cracked corn on growth performance and stomach lesions in finishing pigs. The use of cracked corn in finishing diets may reduce the scores for stomach lesions. In finishing pigs, a 1.2 to 1.4% of improvement in feed efficiency occurs for each 100-μm reduction in the particle size of corn.

Can pigs eat Quaker oats? ›

Oats as a feed grain for pigs is nothing new, yet many producers are concerned over the high fiber content and low test weight. Well-balanced small grain-based diets can perform as well as corn- and soy-based diets, especially when oats are dehulled and fed to gestating sows.

How do you feed pigs cheaply? ›

Here are five ways to reduce swine feeding costsHere are five ways to reduce swine feeding costs
  1. Incorporate DDGS into diets.
  2. Use small grains when available.
  3. Take a look at other co-products.
  4. Use fish meal substitutes.
  5. Eliminate inorganic phosphorus.
Feb 16, 2011

Can pigs survive without meat? ›

On the other hand, pigs are omnivores and need to eat meat. The law now forbids the use of meat meal in the feed of ruminants and rightly so, it is allowed for pigs for good reason – they are meat eaters and it is extremely difficult to grow pigs well without it.

How many times a day do you feed pigs? ›

Feed your pigs once or twice a day.

It's important to make sure your pigs' feeder or trough stays well-stocked when they're young and their growth is most rapid. Once they reach their full size, a single large, balanced feeding a day should be enough to keep them healthy and satisfied.

Do you mix pig feed with water? ›

According to Brooks [1], mixing water with dry feed and feeding after a few minutes ensures that pigs receive a more homogeneous diet and increases the rate of hydration, especially if it is finely ground, favoring the action of both digestive and in-feed enzymes.


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