Pigs are known to eat just about anything, but despite this reputation they shouldn’t be fed a one-track diet.
Pigs need a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, in order to grow, stay healthy, and thrive.
Luckily, pigs can get considerable nutrition for many common vegetables. How about carrots? Can pigs eat carrots safely?
Yes, pigs can eat carrots safely and will benefit from the nutrition in them, particularly the vitamin A and beta-carotene. All parts of the carrot are safe for pigs to eat, including the skin and leafy green top.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to most of us. Carrots are one of the healthiest vegetables around, and one of the most commonly encountered root vegetables.
That being said, your pigs cannot live on carrots alone so keep reading to learn everything you need to know about when and why you should feed them to your herd.
Are Carrots Poisonous for Pigs?
No, carrots are not poisonous for pigs. However, like all foods, it is possible for pigs to conceivably eat way too many of them and overdose on one vitamin or another.
That being said this is a small concern unless you are feeding your pig’s carrots non-stop, every day.
Do Pigs Like Carrots?
Yes! Most pigs seem to take a liking to carrots after trying them for the first time. Crisp, tasty and easy to eat these can become a mainstay in your pig’s diet or used as a treat.
Nutritional Benefits of Carrots for Pigs
Carrots are renowned and loved for their excellent nutritional content. Carrots contain abundant vitamins and minerals, but it is their vitamin payload in particular that warrants special interest.
Carrots contain a tremendous amount of vitamin A and beta-carotene, more than any other common fruit or vegetable.
But they have much more than that, including an excellent assortment of B complex vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate along with a good shot of vitamins C and E and a surprising amount of vitamin K.
Carrots also contain all the common minerals that a pig’s body needs, from calcium to zinc, but they have a particularly good amount of manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Carrots?
Yes, they can. Pigs can easily eat raw carrots and this is the best way to serve them to them. Raw carrots contain the best possible amount of nutrition, vitamins, and minerals alike.
Can Pigs Eat Carrot Tops?
They sure can. The leafy green carrot tops or crowns are also good for pigs and contain an assortment of vitamins and minerals that they need.
You can leave the tops on the carrots and give them to your pigs or tear them off and incorporate them into other food.
Can Pigs Eat Carrot Peelings?
Yes. Carrot peelings are just carrots skins, and they are completely safe and nutritious for pigs.
Can Pigs Eat Baby Carrots?
Of course. Baby carrots are just smaller, shaved carrots and therefore totally fine for your pigs.
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Carrots?
Yes, they can. In fact, cooked carrots are often extremely appealing to pigs, being easy to eat and even being mixable with other foods to make a tasty slop for them.
However, you should know that cooking carrots significantly reduces their nutritional content, and though they may be wholesome and healthy for pigs your pigs won’t be getting as much of the nutrients they need.
Don’t Give Your Pigs Carrots if it Was Made with Bad Ingredients
Since we brought up cooking, now is a good time to remind you that you must never give carrots to your pigs if they have been prepared with harmful ingredients.
Harmful ingredients are things like extra salt, sugar, oils, and anything else that you might use to prepare carrots for yourself or use as part of a dish alongside carrots.
Though they can be undeniably tasty, these additions can harm the health of your pigs. Maybe not very much, but maybe severely. Weight gain is always a possibility, and not the good kind.
Things of that nature are also likely to give pigs indigestion or diarrhea. At worst, inflammation of the intestinal tract, hypertension, and kidney damage may result.
If you were going to give your pigs carrots, especially cooked carrots, they should only be plain with no added ingredients.
Be Mindful of Pesticide if the Carrots Came from the Grocery
There’s another thing you’ll have to be aware of if you’re going to feed your pigs carrots that you purchased from the grocery store for the purpose.
Pretty much all of our modern products, including carrots, are heavily treated with pesticides from planting all the way to harvesting.
These pesticides are intended to preserve the product until it can make it to market, but even after harvesting and sometimes washing residues remain on them.
These pesticide chemical residues have been linked with all sorts of health issues in mammals, including pigs, and may cause cancer, reproductive harm, or metabolic issues.
For this reason, you must always make it a point to thoroughly wash any store-bought carrots before feeding them to your pigs. Your best bet is to grow them yourself or purchase organic varieties.
How Many Carrots Can Pigs Have?
Carrots are definitely a healthy part of a pig’s diet, but they shouldn’t be the only part and they shouldn’t be allowed to eat as many as they want all the time.
They can have them regularly, even routinely, but they need to be a part of a well-rounded diet.
Make sure that your pig’s diet includes grains, other vegetables, fruit, and even some meat alongside carrots and you can be sure they will grow up happy and healthy.
How to Give Carrots to Your Pigs
You have several options for feeding carrots to your pigs with very few restrictions.
If you want to feed them raw carrots, I would advise you to chop them up into slices or chunks to make it easier for them to chew and swallow them. Only the largest pigs can easily handle a whole carrot without a risk of choking.
Alternately, consider boiling the carrots and then serving them lightly mashed as is or mixing them in with other food to make a tasty, piggy casserole for your herd.
Can Baby Pigs Have Carrots, Too?
Yes, piglets can also have carrots but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
As always, piglets should be old enough to where they are eating solid food continuously before you allow them to try carrots for the first time.
If they haven’t weaned yet, they don’t need to be snacking on carrots.
Also, make it a point to keep the quantity pretty small. This is not because carrots can overtly harm baby pigs, but because it is possible for piglets to fill up on carrots and miss out on nutrition and calories they need from other sources.
Carrots are good for pigs, including baby pigs, there’s no doubt about that but they are also a low-calorie food and that can mean trouble for a piglet at a time when they need more calories, not less.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Pregnant sows can eat carrots with no problem. They will definitely benefit from the vitamins and minerals in carrots.
Of course, but chop them up small. Mini pigs also love carrots the same as other breeds, but are particularly vulnerable to choking on tough, woody carrot sections so you are advised to chop them up much smaller than you normally would
Yes. Potbelly pigs can eat carrots with no problems.
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.