You may be surprised! Although pigs can consume many different foods, the saying “eat like a pig” implies pigs eat anything and everything, which is simply untrue. Pigs need to consume certain foods to gain the nutrients they need for healthy growth.
Just like other animals, they need a balanced diet. Animals, in general, do best on foods specifically formulated for them; however, today, we are exploring whether pigs can consume sweet feed, otherwise known as horse food.
Can Pigs Eat Sweet Feed? Pigs can consume sweet feed as it’s not toxic, but it isn’t recommended in large amounts as it doesn’t contain the nutrients pigs need to stay healthy. Even though some vitamins and minerals are added, sweet feed is calorie-dense, which is very important to a horse’s diet, but unfortunately, high-calorie foods aren’t healthy for pigs.
The sweet feed consists of certain grains such as oats, corn, and barley, contributing large amounts of protein and fiber. But molasses is added to horse feed to add sugar for energy.
Basically, if you have some scraps left over from your horses, it’s okay to feed them to your pigs on rare occasions.
If you read the labels, you may notice that goats and calves benefit from consuming particular brands of sweet feed. However, there aren’t any brands listing pigs as consumers.
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Can Mini Pigs Eat Sweet Feed?
Mini pig is the name for varieties of miniature pigs, such as micro-pigs, tea-cup pigs, and pocket pigs.
Mini pigs have a unique set of needs, and they must be fed specific pig feeds to keep them at optimum health.
Mini pigs need to gain the nutrition they need through food consumption, and unfortunately, sweet feed doesn’t fall into this category.
Sweet feed is high in sugar, and the pig digestive system is fantastic at turning this into glucose and storing it as excess fat, which is highly unhealthy to mini pigs due to their petite frames. Pigs can even gain a good amount of glucose from vegetables.
Therefore, it is best to avoid sweet feed if possible to keep your pigs healthy, but don’t worry if they have some scraps of horse feed on an irregular basis.
It should be fine as long as you don’t give them mass amounts of other treats on those days.
Can Potbelly Pigs Eat Sweet Feed?
Pot-bellied pigs diet should consist mainly of hay and pellet feeds.
Pot Belly pigs need a diet low in protein and fats, and up to 10% of their diet can be pig-friendly treat foods such as fresh vegetables and leafy greens.
As mentioned, pigs are good at turning sugary foods into glucose – even vegetables, so sweet foods, including horse feed, should be limited to a rare occasion rather than a diet staple.
Horse feed is also high in protein which isn’t healthy for potbelly pigs’ regular consumption.
Can Pigs Eat All Stock Feed?
Technically, yes, swine can consume stock feeds in moderation. It isn’t toxic, but it doesn’t have the nutrition that pigs require either.
Regular feedings of other stock feeds can cause arthritis and obesity in pigs. A pig’s diet needs to be low in sugar, protein, and fats; lots of stock feeds contain these elements in high doses, so, therefore, need to be limited to pigs.
Alfalfa pellets and hay, for example, are a high source of protein, and pigs struggle to digest the energy content, so it is recommended not to feed this to growing pigs.
Because pasture is fibrous, pigs struggle to extract the nutrients from it, and it takes much longer for them to digest it, so it’s best to limit this intake too.
Conclusion: Can Pigs Eat Sweet Feed?
Yes, pigs can consume sweet feed on a very irregular basis due to its high protein and sugar content, as these elements are too high for pigs to digest correctly. If pigs are fed sweet feed regularly, please be aware there will be a consequence to the health of your pigs.
They will gain excess fat and arthritis. While some may feed high protein, fat, and sugars to commercial pigs to make them gain weight as soon as possible, this isn’t good practice for any domestic pig.