Raising pigs is tricky. For starters, they have pretty voracious appetites. And then there is the need to give them plenty of calories so they grow big, and quickly, but all the while giving your pigs a good, varied diet so they stay healthy.
You definitely don’t want to feed pigs junk calories as their health can suffer.
What is needed is nutritious but high-calorie foods. How about bananas? Can pigs eat bananas safely?
Yes, pigs can eat bananas and banana peel, too. Bananas are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as C, B6, and potassium. If you decide to feed your pigs whole bananas keep an eye on them since there is a risk of them choking on the peel.
It seems strange at first, the idea of feeding a banana to a pig, but as it turns out most pigs really do like them.
You’ll like the fact that your pigs can get some much-needed nutrition and plenty of “clean” calories from bananas. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about feeding them to your pigs.
Are Bananas Toxic to Pigs?
No, bananas are not toxic for pigs. Pigs can safely eat bananas, both the flesh and the peel.
Bananas are actually quite good for pigs since they contain a lot of nutrients that pigs need.
One thing to keep in mind is that while bananas are nutritious they don’t have all the nutrients that pigs need, so you will still need to provide them with a well-rounded diet all the same.
Nutritional Benefits of Bananas for Pigs
Bananas are a popular food not just for their great taste, but also for their solid nutritional profile as well.
Bananas are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and B6, as well as minerals like potassium and manganese.
The nutritional content of bananas can vary depending on how ripe they are when you eat them. For example, unripe or green bananas will have a lower sugar content but higher levels of resistant starch.
On the other hand, ripe bananas have a sweeter taste because of their higher sugar content but lower levels of resistant starch.
Either way, both types of bananas can be safely fed to pigs and they will get some benefit from the nutrients they contain.
Vitamin C is always good for pigs since it is an antioxidant and can help to boost the immune system. It can also help to protect against some diseases.
Vitamin B6 is important for metabolism, and potassium is good for maintaining proper fluid balance in the body as well as helping with muscle function.
In terms of calories, a medium-sized banana has about 105 calories, not including the peel. This means that bananas can be a good source of energy or calories for pigs that need to put on weight.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Bananas?
Yes, and this is definitely the best way to serve bananas to your pigs. Raw bananas are very easy for pigs to eat as-is, and also contain the highest possible nutrient levels.
Are Banana Peels Toxic to Pigs?
No, banana peels are not toxic to pigs.
Can Pigs Eat Banana Peels?
They sure can. Though they are not appealing to humans, banana peels are edible by pigs.
However, you should keep an eye on them if you are feeding them whole bananas or the peels separately as they are a choking risk. A marginal choking risk, but still a risk!
Can Pigs Eat Banana Stems?
They can, but the tough, woody, fibrous stems are the least desirable part of the banana for pigs. They also contain minimal nutritional value. If you do nothing else, snip the stem off.
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Bananas?
Yes, although there is little real reason to cook bananas for your pigs. They don’t need to be softened, and cooking also reduces the amount of both vitamins and minerals that bananas contain.
Don’t Give Your Pigs Bananas if They Were Made with Bad Ingredients
Since we have brought up cooking, now is a good time to remind you that you should never serve cooked bananas to your pigs if they have been prepared with any harmful ingredients.
Things like alcohol, added sugars, ice cream, and other such things should all be avoided.
Though bananas feature as a central ingredient in all kinds of delicious dishes, usually desserts, their value to your pigs plummets if you are going to give them a bunch of junky stuff along with them.
Excess sugar and artificial ingredients can cause all kinds of problems for pigs, from upset stomachs and diarrhea to legitimate health crises like inflammation of the intestines or even organ damage.
For this reason, you should only ever give your pigs plain cooked bananas, if you are going to cook them at all.
Be Mindful of Pesticides if the Bananas Came from the Grocery
Yet another concern you should be aware of is buying bananas from the grocery to feed your pigs.
Nearly every single piece of commercial produce these days is heavily treated with all kinds of pesticides and other such chemicals.
Intended to keep fruit beautifully intact and unsullied until it reaches the market, these chemicals are certainly effective, but they have a dark side.
All such chemicals have been linked with major health issues in mammals. Worse, these toxic chemicals can build up in your pigs’ bodies over time and result in such devastating conditions as endocrine system failure, reproductive harm, and cancer.
For this reason, you should only ever feed your pigs organic bananas if possible, and if you absolutely cannot find organic bananas, then make sure to wash them thoroughly before feeding them to your pigs.
Consider discarding the peels, too, since they are what will retain much of the pesticides in question.
How Much Bananas Can Pigs Have?
Bananas are definitely a healthy treat that your pigs will love, but they are not nutritionally complete and not something that your pigs can sustain on for any length of time as their primary food source.
This means that you should only ever give your pigs bananas as a treat or supplement to their usual food, whatever phase of growth they are in, and not as a staple part of their diet.
A good rule of thumb is to only ever give your pigs one or two bananas per pig a couple of times a week.
This will ensure that they get all the nutritional benefits bananas have to offer without overdoing it.
Be aware that too many bananas in too short a time can cause diarrhea in pigs, and the subsequent dehydration can be a major problem.
How to Give Bananas to Your Pigs
It is as easy as can be to serve bananas to your pigs. You can simply peel them (or not!) and drop them into their usual food container, or you can slice them up into smaller pieces if you like.
Some people like to mash their bananas before blending them with other things and giving them to their pigs, but there is really no need to do this unless your pigs have trouble eating whole bananas.
In general, it is best to give your pigs ripe bananas, but if you have some that are still pretty green then they can still be fed to your pigs. Just be sure to remove any truly bad or moldy bananas before feeding.
Can Piglets Have Bananas, Too?
Yes, they can, and they generally love them. Compared to other firmer foods piglets will enjoy the soft sweetness of a ripe banana.
One word of advice though: remove the peels, as they are a pretty serious choking hazard for piglets. Wait until they reach true adolescence before you allow them to make a go at the peel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, but they are not your best source of calories for post-weaning and striving for that last bit of finishing weight.
Bananas are pricey, and there are other calorie-dense foods that are more reliable for packing pounds on your pigs safely. As ever, though, they remain a great dietary supplement.
Yes, but only tiny bananas. Just kidding!
Micro pigs can have bananas the same as larger breeds, but you should take care to modify the quantity in accordance with their size.
Yes. Pigs can safely eat plantains just the same as bananas.
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.