As most keepers of livestock already know, fruit can form an important missing link in the diet of most animals. Fruit contains lots of vitamins and minerals that are easy to digest, and there’s sweetness can give your charges a quick boost of energy.
And most animals seem to really like it! What’s not to love? But not all animals can eat every kind of fruit, so you need to know what you were dealing with.
How about blueberries, for instance. Can our pigs eat blueberries safely?
Yes, pigs can safely eat blueberries and will benefit from the nutrition that they contain. Blueberries are a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as manganese. However, you shouldn’t let them eat too many to prevent indigestion.
The only thing you really need to worry about when feeding blueberries to pigs is stopping them once they get started. Pigs tend to really love these things.
There is a little more that you’ll need to know before you serve blueberries to your pigs for the first time, so let’s get going.
Can Pigs Eat Blueberries?
Definitely. Blueberries are safe for pigs and they can eat them with absolutely no problems.
Are Blueberries Beneficial for Pigs?
You bet they are. Blueberries are sweet, juicy, full of useful vitamins, and packed with antioxidants. Your pigs will enjoy their delicious taste and you’ll be happy they are getting the nutrients they need.
Nutritional Benefits of Blueberries for Pigs
Blueberries are certainly most beloved for their delicious and delicate taste, but they also happen to be pretty nutritious.
Vitamins are the most plentiful resource but they do have some minerals also. Blueberries contain abundant vitamin K and vitamin C, two that pigs need all the time in their diet, but they also contain a little bit of the B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and folate along with a bit of vitamin E.
Considering the minerals, blueberries pack in a ton of manganese and a lot less of the other vitamins they contain, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
Though not the most nutrient-dense fruit around, blueberries are great for your pigs’ health: vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and calcium absorption, the B vitamins are good for metabolism, and Vitamin C is an important antioxidant.
The mineral content of blueberries is pretty low overall, but manganese is worth mentioning since it is abundant in blueberries and is used for bone growth, wound healing, and pigmentation of the skin.
Manganese is also an antioxidant. All the other minerals are still welcome, too, and are needed for various bodily functions, everything from heart function to oxygenation of the blood.
The antioxidants present in blueberries, including anthocyanins, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, are what give the berries their beautiful blue color.
These same antioxidants are also responsible for many of the health benefits associated with eating blueberries.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Blueberries?
Yes, and this is the way you should be serving them to your pigs. Raw blueberries are easy to eat and contain maximum nutrition. Perfect for your pigs!
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Blueberries?
Yes, they can, but you really don’t need to worry with cooking blueberries for your herd. Cooking won’t make them any easier to eat and it will deplete their nutritional profile.
Don’t Give Your Pigs Blueberries if it Was Made with Bad Ingredients
Since we are discussing the cooking of blueberries, now is a good time to mention that you should never feed your pigs any blueberries made with or into something they cannot have.
Think sweets and desserts: jam, preserves, cakes, etc. While amazingly good, these things all contain lots of sugar, salt, artificial ingredients, and other things your pigs don’t need.
At best these ingredients will seriously upset your pig’s stomach, but on the other end of the spectrum you cannot rule out the risk of something seriously bad, things like hypertension, salt poisoning, kidney damage, and even peritonitis if your pigs eat too much of the wrong things.
Yes, blueberries are safe and nutritious for pigs to eat, even when cooked. But you must never feed them anything but plain cooked blueberries, or blueberries mixed with other wholesome things!
Be Mindful of Pesticide if the Blueberries Came from the Grocery
There is one more risk associated with blueberries you must be alert to when serving them to your pigs, and in particular grocery store-bought blueberries: All of our modern products, or nearly all of it, is heavily treated with pesticides.
These poisons are designed to kill the bugs that would otherwise destroy the crop, but they don’t discriminate when it comes to victims.
The USDA does have regulations about how much pesticide residue is allowable on our food, but these amounts are still quite high and can potentially harm your pigs if they ingest their residues.
These pesticides have been linked to all kinds of serious health effects in mammals, including pigs, things like cancer, reproductive defects, endocrine disruption, and neurological damage.
The best way to avoid feeding your pigs these dangerous chemicals is to buy organic blueberries, or better yet, grow your own.
But if that isn’t an option make sure you wash the berries well before feeding them to your pigs.
How Many Blueberries Can Pigs Have?
Blueberries are a great snack or treat for pigs, a healthy one at that, but that does not mean they can have as many as they want, whenever they want.
Like all foods and especially all fruits, blueberries should be fed to pigs in moderation.
A good rule of thumb is to limit their intake to no more than 10% of their daily diet. So, if your pigs are eating 6 lbs of food per day, they can have about 2/3 of a cup of blueberries, give or take.
And as always, when introducing any new food to your pigs, no matter how healthy, do so slowly and in small amounts at first to make sure they don’t have any negative reaction to it: watery, sweet foods like blueberries are fairly notorious for giving pigs a bout of diarrhea, so watch out!
How to Give Blueberries to Your Pigs
You have options when it is time to give your pigs some blueberries. You can feed them to your pigs whole, cut them up into smaller pieces, or even mash them for mixing into other foods.
The easiest way to give blueberries to your pigs is to just put a few in their food bowl and let them at it.
Can Baby Pigs Have Blueberries, Too?
Yes, piglets can also have blueberries. They won’t have any trouble with them as long as they are old enough to eat solid food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Potbelly pigs love blueberries the same as any other.
Yep! Mini pigs will delight in getting some juicy blueberries as a snack. Be ready for a blue snout, though!
Yes, they can. All known pig species can safely eat blueberries.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.