Out of all the different livestock species, pigs are the ones with the reputation for being big and adventurous eaters. In fact, it is easier to list the things that pigs can’t eat rather than list the things that they will!
There’s a lot of truth to this, but nonetheless, pigs still can’t eat quite everything including some things that seem wholesome, like fruits. Let’s look at one of the most ubiquitous fruits there is: the apple. Can pigs eat them?
Yes, pigs can eat apples. Pigs love sweet, crunchy apples and can get a good shot of nutrition from them in the form of energy, vitamins, and needed minerals. However, you must make sure that these seeds are removed because they are toxic to pigs and can form cyanide if digested.
That is hardly a surprise if you ask me! Apples are one of the most universally loved, safest, and nutritious fruits there are and the pigs love hardly anything more than getting a big bucket full of slices to munch on.
This is one snack you can feel good about giving to your pigs, but there’s more you’ll want to know, too. I’ll tell you about it down below…
Do Pigs Like Eating Apples?
Yes, they sure do! Apples are crispy, crunchy, sweet, and moist; four things that pigs absolutely love when it comes to food.
This makes apples a wonderful treat for pigs because they’ll get excited for them, and that’s good for you because they happen to be healthy and also quite affordable.
Are Apples Healthy for Pigs?
Yes, definitely, so long as they are fed to pigs as part of a well-rounded diet.
Adding apples as a fairly regular part of a pig’s diet will keep them energized thanks to the ample carbohydrates that they contain, but besides this will get a shot of nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals.
Apples have most of the B complex vitamins, along with a decent amount of vitamins A and C.
Mineral content is not quite as impressive, but still very respectable, and your average apple will contain a good amount of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and plenty of magnesium.
These nutrients will benefit adult pigs and piglets alike, making apples an excellent resource for keepers whether you want to treat your herd or just give them better variety in their diet.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Apples?
Yes, they can. Pigs love raw apples just fine and this is an extremely convenient way to serve them. Very little preparation is needed, but you’ve got to remove the seeds before you hand them over. See the relevant section on apple seeds below.
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Apples?
Yes, but only if they are gently cooked with no added ingredients that pigs can’t have. This means no added sugar, no butter, no caramel sauce or any other stuff that will turn an apple into a delicious dessert for us but a digestive nightmare for a pig.
Plain-cooked apples only!
Can Pigs Eat Red Apples?
Yes. All varieties of red apples are completely safe for pigs.
Can Pigs Eat Green Apples?
Yes, they can. Green apples tend to be more on the tart and tangy side compared to their red cousins, but pigs will still love them all the same- though an occasional picky eater might turn up their snout at them!
Can Pigs Eat Hedge Apples?
Yes, but I want to clarify something. Hedge apples aren’t apples at all. These weird, wrinkly fruits are safe for pigs to eat, but they tend not to like them compared to the genuine article.
You can hand them over, and if your pigs seem interested in them you don’t have to worry if they eat.
Can Pigs Eat Apple Peels?
Yes. Apple skins are totally safe for pigs and you should encourage them to eat them because they contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals. Plus, you don’t need to waste a moment of your time peeling apples for your pigs!
Can Pigs Eat Apple Seeds?
No! Pigs can and will eat apple seeds, but you don’t want to let them do that and that means you should take the time to remove the seeds from any apples you give them.
This is because apple seeds contain compounds that are precursors to cyanide, and if your pigs chew them up and then digest them and can make your pigs sick or, potentially, kill them!
Can Pigs Eat Apple Cores?
Yes, but if you didn’t put two and two together, you’ve got to be sure and remove those apple seeds before you hand the core over. The tough, fibrous core of an apple isn’t too appealing to people, but pigs will scarf it down with no issue.
Can Pigs Eat Rotten Apples?
No! I know this is a surprise to some people, but pigs shouldn’t eat garbage and spoiled food.
They aren’t immune to foodborne illnesses, and pigs are actually quite vulnerable to contaminants like mycotoxins which show up when food starts to decay. Don’t use your pigs as garbage disposals for any spoiled, rotten produce you have, including apples.
If the apple is a little old and starting to dry out or it’s turning a little brown around the edges, that’s not a problem, but don’t give your pigs any truly rotten fruit.
Are Apples Poisonous to Pigs in Any Way?
Yes, but only if they consume the seeds as described above. Otherwise, the only thing about apples that could potentially harm pigs is if they’re eating too many of them and gaining weight or suffering from nutritional imbalance.
How Often Can Pigs Eat Apples?
Pigs can eat apples as often as you want to give them to them so long as you are moderating the portion. This equates to a couple of larger servings, like a couple of medium apples per pig, a few times a week or about a cupful of apple pieces daily.
As always, the guideline is making sure your pig gets a varied diet and that is meeting its calorie and nutritional goals. So long as you are doing that, your pigs can have apples regularly.
Note that pigs are allowed to overindulge on apples, and most other fruits for that matter, will tend to get indigestion.
How Can I Feed My Pigs Apples?
The best way to give apples to your pigs is fresh and cored. I like to simply pop the apples into a corer to remove both it and the seeds in one easy step, and then just toss them out to the pigs.
As long as the seeds are removed, you can do whatever you want, but you don’t need to waste any time chopping the apples up or peeling them, that’s for sure.
However, there is something to be said for mixing diced apples in with other carrots or veggies to make a tasty salad for pigs that they will enjoy, so you can do that if you want to.
Can Piglets Have Apples, Too?
Yes, piglets can have apples and they love them just as much as adults. But, you want to be doubly sure that all the seeds are removed from the apple because young pigs are even more vulnerable to poisoning from cyanide than adults are.
Also, consider cutting the apple pieces up into small cubes to make it easier for piglets to eat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Potbelly Pigs Have Apples?
Yes, potbelly pigs can have apples the same as any other kind of pig. Just remove the seeds first.
Do Apples Make Pigs Fat?
They can if they are allowed to get too many of them, though they are unlikely to do so compared to other fattening foods like corn.
Keep in mind that pigs can develop a sweet tooth, and they might start to prefer apples and fruit to other foods they need more.
Can Pigs Have Candy Apples?
Absolutely not! I know candy apples are an integral part of fall celebrations for most folks in the US, but these caramel or other candy-coated apples are a nutritional disaster for pigs. Resist the temptation!
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.