Do Pigs Chew Their Cud?

We get many questions regarding the pigs diet, and their  form of living. Many people don’t know that there are animals that only eat plants, others meat, and then there are those who have a plant and meat diet which are called omnivores.

Both humans and pigs are omnivores. But although pigs and humans have some similarities in their digestive systems, there are some fascinating differences. In this article I explain everything you need to know regarding if pigs chew their cud.

Do pigs chew their cud? No, pigs do not chew their cud. The action of “chewing the cud” refers to animals who swallow their food and then store part of that food in a special stomach pocket. This pocket is called the “rumen.” The rumen is where the word “ruminant” comes from. (The rumen is the front pocket of the stomach of ruminants and is sometimes also called the “paunch.”) 

After some time, the animals will regurgitate this partially digested food and then chew it again. 

Ruminants sometimes chew their cuds for extended periods. This process helps these animals to get the most nutrients from their food.

Pigs do not chew their cuds. Because of this, pigs are also referred to as non-ruminant animals. 

Do Pigs Chew Their Cud

Pigs’ stomachs have a simpler structure than the stomachs of ruminants;  and they can’t digest the cellulose in most grasses and grains. 

Fun fact:

Because pigs do not chew their cuds, their meat is considered “unclean” or forbidden from being eaten by Jews and Muslims. 

Around 1000 years B.C., the Biblical book of Leviticus classified animals as “clean and unclean”, and animals who don’t chew their cud were deemed “unclean.” In the seventh century A.D., the Koran also forbade Muslims to eat pork. 

There has been some speculation that this taboo was a prophetic restriction to protect the Jews and Muslims from trichinosis (intestinal worms).

 But this has been shown to be untrue because those parasites didn’t exist during those times – and the meat of some “clean” animals of that time held just as much risk of infection.

Pigs are omnivores. This means they will eat anything if they get the chance. But the pigs’ diet will determine the quality of the meat they produce. 

So, modern pig caretakers have taken measures to increase the nutritional content of the pigs’ diets. 

Today’s pig food has been designed to help the pigs grow bigger and healthier. This improved food will make the pig muscles leaner and moister. This is what results in better-tasting pork 

A healthy diet for pigs begins at their birth. Once the pigs are weaned from their mother’s milk, the best food for piglets is pig feed.

These small pieces of food contain the right balance of proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. 

Once the piglets get older, they are switched to natural grains. These grains include rice, wheat, alfalfa, and soybeans. This balance gives them carbohydrates and proteins. 

How Many Stomachs Does a Pig Have?

The pig’s stomach is “monogastric” which means: like humans, they have only one stomach. 

Having only one stomach means pigs can eat only the simplest of grains. Once the food enters the pig’s stomach, it is quickly metabolized (processed by their bodies.) 

This metabolic process takes 4 hours. 

The digestive tract of the pig has five parts. These parts are the mouth, the esophagus, the stomach, and the small and large intestines. 

As the food passes through all the digestive organs, it is broken down into the nutrients needed by the pig’s body. 

The food enters the digestive process through the mouth. The pig’s teeth grind the food into small pieces, and the pig’s saliva helps to begin dissolving the food. 

The saliva moistens the food, and this allows the food to flow into the esophagus. 

The esophagus is the tube between the mouth and the stomach. The food then flows downward to the stomach with the help of the contractions of the digestive muscles.

When processed food enters the stomach, digestive chemicals are added to it. 

These chemicals will break down the food into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Some parts of the food can then pass directly from the stomach to the blood.

The remaining food then passes to the small intestine. 

This spiral organ fits into a small space in the pig’s belly. Secretions from the pancreas and liver are added here to the food and help break it down even further. 

The lining of the small intestine is made up of tiny “fingers” called “villi”. These villi then provide a wide area full of cells that absorb the nutrients in the food. 

The large intestine is the last part of the digestive system. The final processing of the food happens here. 

It is wider than the small intestine. Water and mucus are added to the remaining food there; to make it easier for it to be passed out of the pig’s body as feces.

What Animals Chew Their Own Cud?

Animals who chew their cud are called “ruminants.” Those animals are herbivores (plant eaters.) Ruminants take their time chewing their partially digested food. 

Since ruminants are herbivores (plant eaters), they get their protein from the bacterial proteins produced while the food is inside the animal’s rumen. 

While in the rumen, the food is further broken down by stomach acids. Ruminants produce more saliva than non-ruminants. 

This extra saliva helps reduce those acids formed in the animals’ rumens.  These animals’ livers also help them convert the fat in their foods into energy. 

Examples of ruminant animals include cows, deer, sheep, goats, and antelopes.

Conclusion: Do Pigs Chew Their Cud?

Pigs do not chew their cud. Chewing the cud refers to animals who re-chew portions of their food that have been regurgitated from their stomachs. Animals who chew their cud have digestive systems that are different from those who do not chew their cud. 

Ruminants include cows, deer, sheep, goats, and antelopes. Pigs don’t do this because their stomachs digest food differently. 

Pigs have only one stomach, although their digestive systems have five parts. Pigs will eat anything if they get the chance, but modern pig farmers have developed healthier pig food. This healthy pig food prepares pigs to produce more nutritious meat. Piglets begin their lives with a diet of pellets and then go on to eat natural grains.