I think it is safe to say that most folks know that pigs eat meat. Yes, they eat a lot of other things but compared to most of our livestock, it’s pigs, and I guess chickens, that we think of as the meat-eaters. And chickens mostly eat bugs, so they don’t count!
But pigs can eat all kinds of meat. And I do mean all kinds, including pork products. Kind of unsettling when you think about it. And what about bacon? Can pigs eat bacon? Is that okay?
Yes, pigs can eat bacon as long as it is cooked. However, bacon is extremely salty and this can quickly cause problems for pigs if they get too much in their diet. But bacon has lots of protein and calories that they could use, however.
I know this is certainly going to upset some readers, and I guess it is upsetting to think about pigs eating their own kind, but in a way, it is entirely natural…
Wild pigs are scavengers, and that means they aren’t choosy. Pigs will eat their own kind along with lots of other things, so in a way, them eating bacon is something they’re already used to…
There’s a lot more to consider on this topic, though, so keep reading…
What Will Happen if a Pig Eats Bacon?
A pig that eats bacon will get calories from it and other vitamins and minerals as they digest it. That’s it and, assuming the bacon is cooked, nothing particularly bad or strange will happen.
Do Pigs Even Like Bacon?
Yes, in my experience, most pigs seem to really like bacon. It is savory, salty, and delicious, and it won’t take much convincing to get your average pig to eat it.
Does Bacon Have Any Nutritional Benefits for Pigs?
Yes, it sure does. Bacon is very calorie dense and a great source of energy for pigs, and is also an excellent source of protein along with a few vitamins and minerals that pigs need, believe it or not. It can definitely help your pigs grow and put on weight.
But, and it is a big but, bacon is incredibly salty. Or at least, all the commercially produced bacon you get at the grocery will be.
Pigs cannot handle this level of salt in their diet, and accordingly should only get big in every once in a blue moon as a treat.
Excess salt intake has been linked with a variety of health problems in pigs, including high blood pressure and, most alarmingly, hypernatremia or salt poisoning.
Will Pigs Eat Other Kinds of Pork?
Yes, they will. Pigs will reliably eat pretty much every other kind of pork too, not just bacon.
Is Raw Bacon Okay for Pigs?
No. Bacon should always be cooked before you give it to your pigs to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Is Cooked Bacon Okay for Pigs?
Yes. If you’re going to serve your pig’s bacon, it had better be cooked.
Does Feeding Bacon to Pigs Make Them Dangerous?
Not typically, although there is some historical and anecdotal evidence to suggest pigs that are fed bacon and other pork are more likely to eat their fellow pigs if they are starving, or if one of their own should die and not be removed.
Generally, though, the claims that feeding pigs meat of any kind (and pork in particular) makes them more aggressive towards people is greatly overblown.
Pigs are always carnivorous, and large pigs are very powerful and surprisingly dangerous animals. They are this way all the time by nature, and feeding them bacon doesn’t make them any more or less dangerous.
How Can You Prevent Cannibalistic Tendencies in Your Pigs?
The single best thing you can do to prevent cannibalism among your pigs is just to make sure that their nutritional requirements are met and that they don’t go hungry.
If you can do that, and assuming your pigs get along in the first place, you don’t need to worry about attacks and subsequent cannibalism.
In any case, cannibalism is only going to be a practical concern among well-cared-for and well-fed pigs if one of them should die and you don’t notice it in time to deal with them.
Pigs in the wild regularly eat their fallen brethren, and domestic pigs will likewise come around to the idea pretty quickly.
What To Do if Your Pig Starts Eating Other Pigs
You probably don’t need to do anything. I know it sounds awful, but again this is hardly a practice that is unknown among domestic or wild pigs.
In fact, many pig farmers deliberately feed dead pigs back to their live pigs assuming it is safe to do so. This is really just a way of recycling resources back into the food chain, of sorts, on the farm or homestead.
This practice, grimly, is known as “feedback.”
However, if you don’t want this to occur for whatever reason you had better act quickly to get the deceased pig away from the other pigs because they will start eating from the carcass in fairly short order even if they are already well-fed.
How Often Can Pigs Eat Bacon?
Pigs should only have bacon occasionally. It has a lot of calories and, as mentioned, is super salty. I would not give any pig more than a couple of small pieces once a week.
How Can I Feed My Pigs Bacon?
Assuming that the bacon is cooked, you can give it directly to your pigs, or chop it up into small pieces for mixing into other food.
I especially like the latter method because it can prompt pigs to eat other things that they normally wouldn’t and it somewhat buffers the saltiness of the bacon.
Is Bacon Safe for Piglets?
Yes, but I say that with two major caveats: the first is that piglets should be old enough to eat solid food at all times before they ever get a single bit of bacon.
The second is that they should only ever get a small portion, sparingly, while they are very young because it can easily upset their digestive system.
Is it Safe to Feed Bacon to Mini-Pigs?
Yes, but once again only in very limited quantities and only when they are old enough to eat it safely.
Can Potbelly Pigs Have Bacon, Too?
Yes, potbelly pigs can have bacon according to all of the guidelines I mentioned above.
Is it Illegal to Feed Bacon to a Pig?
No. Or at least it isn’t illegal in the United States. It is illegal to feed bacon to pigs in Australia and possibly other countries as well.
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.