Pigs are a study in contrast. The great thing about them is that they have such a varied diet they are easy to feed compared to other kinds of livestock that are strictly herbivores.
Plus, it’s always in your best interest to feed pigs enough food so they grow big and grow quickly. Not difficult, since they love to eat!
But despite these advantages pigs can’t eat just anything without worry, contrary to popular belief. Even some wholesome things like fruit can potentially be bad. How about something tropical, like bananas? Can pigs eat bananas safely?
Yes, bananas are safe for pigs to eat. They can eat every part of a banana, including the peel, and get good nutrition in plenty of calories from them. However, the peels are a choking risk so watch out for that.
When you stop to think about it, bananas are one of the weirder things that you could give to a pig. What pigs would ever have access to bananas in the wild? Not many, I would say.
Nonetheless, pigs love them, and they’re a nutritious treat or supplement for them. However, bananas have some problems you must be aware of before you hand them over. I’ll tell you everything you need to know in the rest of this article.
Do Pigs Like Bananas?
Yes, they sure do! Pigs love bananas, and although I’ve seen a few pigs be hesitant of them, but that only lasts as long as it takes for them to try the first one. After that, they are fans for life. Easy to understand, too, considering how sweet and easy-to-eat bananas are…
Are Bananas Healthy for Them?
Yes, within reason. So long as you are giving bananas to your herd as part of a well-rounded and nutritionally complete diet, bananas can be a great part of that.
Bananas are an excellent source of healthy calories in the form of carbohydrates, though these carbs are predominantly in the form of sugars, and also packed with tons of vitamins and minerals that can benefit pigs.
Looking at the vitamin lineup first we see that they are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, but even more B complex vitamins are present in the form of B1, B2, B3, B5, and folate. These are backed up by just a little bit of choline.
The mineral content is often overlooked but similarly impressive, and bananas are one of the very best sources of manganese and a dependably good source of magnesium and potassium. This is followed up by iron, phosphorus, and zinc in significantly lesser amounts.
Together, all these vitamins and minerals can give pigs a big boost of energy and improve their overall health, facilitating everything from immune system function and a healthy metabolism to organ health, good circulatory performance, healing, growth, thyroid function, etc.
Those are a lot of good benefits from a single fruit, and the easily digestible carbohydrates in bananas are wonderful for helping your pigs beat the heat or deal with other kinds of stress in addition to just putting on weight generally. However, bananas aren’t perfect as we will learn.
Are Raw Bananas Okay for Pigs?
Yes, they can eat raw bananas, and they should. These are very easy for pigs to digest and will contain the best possible amount of nutrition, both vitamins and minerals.
Are Banana Peels Okay for Pigs?
Yes, banana peels are fine for pigs to eat. They have a few nutrients and pigs can digest them, but they’re somewhat of a choking hazard, so I recommend you chop them up.
Can Pigs Eat Banana Stems?
Yes, they can, but the extremely woody stem of the banana contains almost nothing in the way of nutrition and pigs typically won’t eat it if they are given a choice. Cut the stem off to keep your herd happy.
Can Pigs Have Cooked Bananas?
Yes, pigs can eat cooked bananas, but this is basically a waste of time… Cooking isn’t going to make a banana any easier for them to eat, practically, but it will deplete the vitamins and some minerals.
Save yourself some time and effort and keep your pigs pumped up on nutrition by skipping the cooking.
Are Bananas or Their Peels Poisonous to Pigs?
No, not directly. There is no component of a banana, neither the flesh, the seeds or the peel, that is toxic to pigs.
However, bananas are very sugary, and like all sugary foods, they have a tendency to give pigs indigestion and potentially diarrhea if they get too much of.
This is bad when it comes to overall health and well-being, cleanliness of their enclosure, and weight gain objectives and is to be avoided when possible.
Luckily, this isn’t a serious threat as long as you aren’t giving way too many bananas to your herd or feeding them too often. If you can manage that, your pigs will be eating bananas for a long time to come and benefit from them.
Are Bananas a Good Food to Help Pigs Grow?
Yes, they are. Bananas have the calories to help pigs pack on pounds, but if you’re looking at raw efficiency, bananas aren’t a great choice. They are too expensive compared to other foods like corn for the purpose.
But, for whatever reason, if you have plenty of bananas on hand, there’s no reason you can’t use them to help your pigs gain weight!
How Often Can Pigs Eat Bananas?
Pigs can have bananas a couple of times a week, maybe three times a week if you’re pushing for extra weight gain. Give each of the adults one or two bananas per serving.
Keep in mind that you should observe them after each feeding to make sure they don’t get an upset stomach or start suffering from diarrhea. Excess gas is a bad sign too.
Highly sugary foods like bananas tend to cause issues, so make sure that your pigs are handling them well before you give them more, and don’t be afraid to back off if they aren’t.
How Can I Feed My Pigs Bananas?
Bananas are a cinch to feed to pigs. You don’t even have to peel them if you don’t want to, but I recommend that you do.
Proper preparation will minimize choking risks on those waxy, thick peels. Cut the stem off and then cut the banana pieces into medallions, with or without the peel on, prior to feeding.
Another option, and one that some people swear by, is mashing the bananas with a fork or blender before mixing them in with other foods to add even more calories and nutrition to something else that your herd will be eating.
Can Piglets Have Bananas, Too?
Yes, but cautiously. To begin, piglets should only get bananas once they are fully off of milk, or nearly so.
But even then, only give them a very small amount to make sure they can handle it without getting an upset stomach. I also strongly advise that you remove the peels until they are physically mature: piglets are a lot more prone to choking compared to adults.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are plantains okay for pigs?
Yes, pigs can have plantains the same as bananas. Although not as sugary, they’re still a good source of energy and nutrients.
Can mini pigs eat bananas safely?
Yes, mini pigs can have bananas also, just make sure you reduce the serving size to accommodate their smaller size.
Can potbelly pigs eat bananas safely?
Yes, potbelly pigs can also have bananas. However, they are far more prone to going overweight and then suffering from obesity compared to other breeds, so mind the quantity.
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.