Most pig owners know that their pigs can eat all sorts of food, including meat, vegetables, and even fruit.
But what they might not know is just what kinds of fruits and veggies their pigs can eat and get nutrition from. How about something like pumpkin? Can pigs eat pumpkins?
Yes, pigs can eat pumpkins safely, and will get a great boost of nutrition from them. All parts of the pumpkin, including the seeds, are nutritious. However, you shouldn’t feed too much pumpkin to pigs because it can cause diarrhea.
Most folks don’t usually think of pumpkin as food for animals, at least not at first, but you’ll be happy to know that pumpkin is quite nutritious and has lots of benefits for pigs.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding it to them.
Is Pumpkin Good for Pigs?
Yes, pumpkin is good for pigs. In fact, it is very good for them. Fed as a treat or supplement, pumpkin will give your pigs a big boost of vitamins and minerals, as well as beneficial antioxidants.
Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin for Pigs
Pumpkins are an excellent source of fiber, which is essential for good digestion. They’re also a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and iron. All of these nutrients are important for pigs’ overall health.
Pumpkins also contain carotenoids, which are beneficial antioxidants. This help to protect pigs’ cells from damage and keep their immune system strong.
Vitamin A is vital for pigs’ vision, skin, and coat health. Vitamin C helps to keep their immune system strong, while potassium is essential for proper muscle function. Iron is necessary for healthy blood cells and overall energy levels.
In short, pumpkins offer many nutritional benefits that make them an excellent food for pigs. However, as with all things, moderation is key.
Too much pumpkin can cause diarrhea in pigs, so it’s important to only feed them in small amounts periodically.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Pumpkin?
Yes, and this is the very best way to serve it to them. Raw pumpkin, either in slices or chunks, is perfectly safe for pigs to eat.
It’s also the most nutritious way to serve it to them, as cooking pumpkins can destroy some of the nutrients.
Of course, not all pigs will want to eat raw pumpkins. Some may prefer it cooked or pureed. If your pigs are picky eaters, feel free to cook or puree the pumpkin before feeding it to them.
Can Pigs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, they can. Pigs will not be harmed by pumpkin seeds, even raw, and they are nutritious on their own.
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Pumpkin?
Yes. Cooking pumpkin is a great way to make it more appealing to picky pigs, or to incorporate it with other foods like a mixture, but you should know that cooking pumpkin can destroy some of the nutrients.
To preserve as many nutrients as possible, cook pumpkin gently at a lower temperature for a shorter amount of time. Steaming or baking are both good methods.
Don’t Give Your Pigs Pumpkin if it Was Made with Bad Ingredients
Since we are talking about cooking, now is a good time to remind you that you must not give your pigs any pumpkin made with or used as an ingredient in harmful food that they cannot have. Think of things like salt, sugar, oils, spices, and the like.
Pumpkin pie is one delicious dish that immediately comes to mind but it is something your pigs cannot have safely.
Harmful ingredients will cause problems for pigs, at best issues like diarrhea, and at worst high blood pressure, inflammation of the digestive tract, and organ damage, maybe even death.
So please only give your pigs safe, plain pumpkin that has not been used as an ingredient in harmful foods or otherwise had bad things added to it.
Pumpkin is a nutritious food that is perfectly fine for pigs, but only if you don’t add bad stuff to it.
Be Mindful of Pesticides if the Pumpkin Came from the Grocery
One other potential risk associated with pumpkin you’ll need to be aware of is the presence of pesticides.
If you purchase a pumpkin from the grocery store, it’s likely that it was treated with pesticides at all points of its growing life.
These chemicals can be harmful to pigs if ingested, so it’s important to clean the pumpkin thoroughly before feeding it to them.
The best way to do this is to wash the pumpkin in a mixture of water and vinegar. Simply scrub the pumpkin with this mixture, and then rinse it off with clean water. This will help to remove any residual pesticides that may be on the surface of the pumpkin.
Take this seriously: common pesticides in widespread use have been linked with a wide variety of health problems in pigs, including cancer, reproductive issues, and organ damage.
So it’s important to take the time to clean your pumpkin thoroughly before feeding it to your pigs.
Your very best bet is to grow your own, and the next best bet is to buy organic, but organic pumpkins are hard to find.
How Much Pumpkin Can Pigs Have?
Pumpkin is tasty and nutritious, but it is not something pigs need to eat all the time or be allowed to eat as much as they want.
Too much pumpkin can cause diarrhea in pigs, so it’s important to only feed them small amounts periodically as supplement or treat.
A good rule of thumb is to offer your pigs no more than a small serving of pumpkin once or twice a week.
This will help them to enjoy the taste and benefits of pumpkin without suffering from any digestive issues.
How to Give Pumpkins to Your Pigs
Your pigs will likely enjoy pumpkin any way you care to serve it to them, but they might need your help to break it into a large, whole pumpkin.
One easy way to do this is to slice the pumpkin into chunks, or break it open so they can access the soft flesh inside. They will be able to take it from there.
If cooking your pumpkin, remember to do so gently and without adding any harmful ingredients. Steaming or baking are both good methods.
You can also give them heated canned pumpkin, but make sure it is plain and does not contain any added salt, sugar, or spices.
Once it’s cooled, you can offer it to your pigs as-is, or mix it with their regular food to make a tasty slop.
Another option is to puree the pumpkin, then mix it with water to create a slurry. This can be fed to pigs as-is, or used to mix in with dry grains.
Can Baby Pigs Have Pumpkin, Too?
Yes, piglets can also have pumpkin in the same manner as adults, but you’ll need to help them get at the soft flesh; they won’t have a chance of busting through a whole pumpkin!
Also, keep in mind that you should only serve pumpkin to piglets that are old enough to be eating solid food at all times.
Keep in mind that piglets need far less than adults and are also more vulnerable to diarrhea.
Pumpkin is a delicious and nutritious food that can be enjoyed by pigs of all ages, but it’s important to take care when feeding it to them to avoid any ill effects.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. This is a common misconception.
You can give your pigs a carved jack-o’-lantern if you want, but you should never give them an old pumpkin that is moldy, painted, inked, or treated with any preservative chemicals like bleach. All of these things can make a big very sick.
No. Old, rotting pumpkins are in no way safe or healthy for pigs to eat. This is not to say they won’t try to eat them, however.
It is up to you to avoid giving your pigs any harmful food that could make them sick. Remember: if you wouldn’t eat it don’t give it to your pigs!
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.
Find out more about the team here.