Among livestock, pigs are often thought to be the most intensive eaters. Big, broad appetites mean that pigs will eat just about anything in their quest for calories.
Although the reality does not quite stack up to the popular conception, as every owner knows, it is entirely true that pigs need a very diet of wholesome food if they are going to grow and thrive.
This certainly includes fruit. How about apples? Can pigs safely eat apples?
Yes, pigs may safely eat apples, and they are a nutritious supplement for them. Apples have a well-rounded profile of vitamins and minerals that can help pigs at all stages of growth. Be sure to remove the seeds as these can poison pigs.
An apple a day can keep the doctor away, but it might also keep the vet’s bill away! Bad jokes aside, your pigs will love apples, and you will love the nutrition they get out of them.
Hardly anything is more wholesome, but there are still a few things you need to know before you feed them to your pigs. Keep reading to learn what they are.
Do Pigs Like Apples?
Oh yeah they do. Pigs absolutely love apples, and for good reason.
They are sweet, juicy, and full of the nutrients that pigs need to stay healthy. In fact, apples are one of the best fruits you can give your pigs.
Are Apples Poisonous to Pigs?
No, or rather most parts of the apple are not. The seeds contain cyanide (actually a chemical precursor to cyanide that turns into hydrogen cyanide gas when digested) but the flesh, skin, and core of an apple are completely safe.
Nutritional Benefits of Apples for Pigs
Apples are excellent fodder for pigs, in many ways. To start, they are a good source of energy. This is due to the natural sugars that apples contain.
In addition, apples are also a good source of dietary fiber. This helps to keep pigs feeling full and can also help with digestive health.
Another big benefit of feeding apples to your pigs is that they are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
This includes vitamins A, C, and B-complex, as well as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
All of these nutrients are essential for pigs at all stages of life. For example, vitamin A is important for vision and skin health, while vitamin C helps to boost the immune system.
The B-vitamins are essential for metabolism and energy production, and minerals help in all sorts of ways.
Calcium keeps bones and teeth healthy, phosphorus for cell growth, and magnesium for nerve and muscle function.
In short, apples are a great way to give your pigs a little nutritional boost. Not to mention, they’ll love the taste.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Apples?
Absolutely. This is in fact the best way to serve apples to your pigs since they will get maximum nutrition from them. Just be sure to remove the seeds first.
Can Pigs Eat Apple Peels?
Yes. The skin of an apple is great for pigs and contains many nutrients. Pigs won’t struggle at all to eat it, so leave it on unless you are worried about pesticides on the skin.
Can Pigs Eat Apple Seeds?
They can eat apple seeds, but they should not: apple seeds essential contain cyanide. This is a poisonous compound that can make your pigs very sick if they eat enough of it.
Though pigs are not particularly vulnerable to the tiny bit that an apple seed contains, you shouldn’t take chances. So, be sure to remove the seeds before giving apples to your pigs.
Can Pigs Eat Apple Cores?
Yes, assuming the seeds are removed. The cores won’t slow your pigs down at all.
Can Pigs Eat Rotten Apples?
No. Don’t feed your pigs rotten apples, or any spoiled food.
Though they are often thought to be capable of eating garbage, pigs are just as vulnerable to foodborne illness as any other animal. So, only give them fresh, healthy food.
Can Pigs Eat Hedge Apples?
Hedge apples, also known as horse apples, aren’t really apples but I am including them here for completeness’ sake.
Whatever they are, these odd-looking fruits are safe for pigs, but they generally don’t find them too palatable. You can feed them to your pigs and see if they like them, though.
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Apples?
Yes, pigs can and will happily eat cooked apples, and their enticing aroma will definitely excite your pigs. However, cooked apples do lose vitamins and minerals, so keep that in mind.
Don’t Give Your Pigs Apples if it Was Made with Bad Ingredients
On the subject of cooking apples, you must never give any to your pigs that are made with or used as an ingredient in something that they should not eat.
For example, don’t give them apples that were cooked in sugar, cinnamon, alcohol, or have any other harmful things.
Apples are definitely delicious in all sorts of desserts and other dishes, but your pigs really don’t need any of that stuff.
At best, it will make them sick or give them diarrhea. At worst, it could lead to serious conditions, organ damage or even kill them.
So, just give them the plain old cooked apples, okay?
Be Mindful of Pesticide if the Apples Come from the Grocery
There is one more thing you’ll need to be aware of if you are going to feed apples to your pigs, particularly apples that come from the grocery store.
Commercial apples are continuously sprayed with pesticides during the growing process and even after they are picked.
While these pesticides are unlikely to cause any serious problems in pigs from one or two servings, they can build up in their system over time and potentially lead to health problems down the road.
Some of these health problems can be devastating and permanent, things like reproductive issues, cancer, and organ damage.
So, if you are going to give your pigs apples from the grocery store, be sure to wash them thoroughly first. This will help remove some pesticides, though it won’t get rid of them.
The best way to avoid this problem altogether is to buy organic apples or grow your own so you know they are pesticide-free.
How Much Apples Can Pigs Have?
Apples are a healthy treat that your pigs will love, but like anything else, they should be given in moderation. Too many apples can cause digestive upset in pigs, so only give them a few at a time.
Also, keep an eye on how your pigs react to apples. If they seem to be having any problems, stop giving them apples and talk to your vet.
Other than that, you can give your pigs a serving of apples every day if you want to. As always, make sure they are getting all the nutrition they need from various sources.
How to Give Apples to Your Pigs
The best way to feed apples to pigs is to core them (to remove the seeds easily) and then slice them into halves or quarters.
You can cut up apples into small pieces if you want to make them go farther for your herd.
Also, consider that you can add applesauce (no sugar added) or pureed apples to their food if you like to make a tasty and nutritious sort of slurry that they will love.
Can Baby Pigs Have Apples, Too?
They sure can. Piglets love apples just like adult pigs do, and there are only a few things to keep in mind when serving apples to piglets particularly.
Always cut apples into small pieces or slices to prevent choking, and don’t give them too much at once.
A few small pieces or slices are plenty for a piglet. As your piglets grow, you can give them larger pieces of apples or even whole apples.
Also, wait until piglets are old enough to eat solid food before giving them any apples. If you give them apples too early, they may have trouble digesting them properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, potbelly pigs can eat apples with no problems.
Yes. All common cultivars of “true” apples are safe for pigs. If you can eat it, they can too.
Yes, but this is almost a trifling concern. Pigs cannot live on apples alone as they are no nutritionally complete, and pigs that fill up on apples won’t really be getting enough calories.
Overconsumption can lead to diarrhea, perhaps, but apples don’t become toxic just because pigs eat too many. This all assumes the seeds are removed, of course!
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.