Pigs are omnivores, and among all of the common livestock animals, they certainly have the most wide-ranging diet. They eat meat, grains, dairy products, fruit, and of course vegetables.
Vegetables actually play a pretty important role in the diet of most domestic pigs, but despite the big appetites they can’t eat quite every veggie there is. Some vegetables are known to be problematic for pigs, so we shouldn’t take it for granted.
Let’s look at one of the most common and popular veggies around, carrots. Are carrots safe for pigs to eat?
Yes, carrots are completely safe for pigs to eat in moderation as part of a well-rounded diet. They’re packed with vitamins that pigs need and are easy for them to digest.
Carrots are a great option for feeding to your herd. They are cheap, nutritious and a decent source of energy that pigs tend to like. But as always, carrots should only be a component in their diet, not the majority source of calories or nutrients.
As long as you remember that, you’ll like what carrots can do for your pigs. Keep reading and I’ll tell you a lot more.
Do Pigs Like Carrots?
Yes, they do. In my experience, the vast majority of pigs really seem to like carrots. Crispy, crunchy and a little sweet and they tend to eat them however they can get them.
Are Carrots Healthy for Pigs?
Yes, definitely! Carrots are surprisingly nutritious, and have a well-rounded macro and micronutrient profile that has a good amount of carbs, vitamins and minerals.
They can give pigs a good pop of energy whenever they need a snack or are dealing with stress from weather, or used to supplement their diet with more wholesome goodness.
Examining the vitamin profile of carrots, we see that they’re a really remarkable source of vitamin A and beta carotene, beating out pretty much every other fruit and vegetable by a country mile.
But more than that, carrots contain a strong lineup of B vitamins, among them plenty of B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 backed up with folate and a decent amount of vitamins C and E. Carrots are also a great source of vitamin K which plays an important role in the biology of pigs.
The mineral content is likewise pretty strong, with manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and some naturally occurring sodium being the standouts, but they also have a respectable amount of calcium and zinc.
When you put all these nutrients together, they can improve almost every part of a pig’s health, especially eyesight and nervous system function, circulatory health, metabolism, and skin and fur health. Carrots might be a humble vegetable but they’re definitely a healthy one for pigs!
Are Raw Carrots Okay for Pigs?
Yes, raw carrots are totally fine for pigs. They’re pretty easy for pigs to digest and they contain the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals.
Are Carrot Leaves Good for Pigs?
Yes, they sure are. The frond-like leaves of carrots are completely safe and nutritious for pigs.
Can Pigs Eat Carrot Tops Safely?
Yes. Carrot tops consist of the stems and leaves of the carrot, sometimes called carrot greens or carrot crowns.
Technically it also includes the tough, woody top of the carrot where the greenery joins the taproot that we eat. All these parts are completely safe and nutritious for pigs.
Can Pigs Have Carrot Peelings?
Yes, pigs can eat carrot peelings. The peelings are just the outer skin of the tapper, and are totally safe for them to eat.
If you peel any carrots you’re preparing for your family, you can serve the peelings to the pigs, and they’ll get a few vitamins and minerals from them.
Are Baby Carrots Okay for Pigs?
Yes, baby carrots are just fine for pigs. There are nothing more than smaller, pre-peeled carrots.
Can Pigs Have Cooked Carrots?
Yes, pigs can eat cooked carrots. Most pigs seem to truly love cooked carrots; must be something about the aroma and texture.
Cooked carrots also have an advantage in that they’re soft and easy to mix in with other foods. But, think twice before cooking carrots because they will lose considerable amounts of vitamins and minerals during the cooking process.
Are Canned Carrots Safe for Pigs?
Nominally, yes, but I don’t recommend giving them to pigs. Most canned carrots have a lot of added salt and sometimes preservatives which are not good for pigs.
If you’re confident that the brand you are opening is completely clean in terms of ingredients, you can give them canned carrots.
Are Carrots Poisonous to Pigs in Any Way?
No. There’s no part of a carrot that is harmful to a pig, and the only real risks associated with them are from overfeeding. Giving your pigs too many carrots can potentially give them indigestion or diarrhea and in any case, carrots are not nutritionally complete for them.
They can’t live on carrots alone, and if they regularly eat too many, they’re going to miss out on other foods they should be having.
Even though your pigs can have carrots or regularly they still need to be served as part of a well-balanced diet in order for them to thrive.
How Often Can Pigs Eat Carrots?
Pigs can have several servings of carrots a week, anywhere from 4 to 5, with each serving being no more than 5% of their body weight.
You can serve them a little more or a little less depending on your objectives for the pigs, but in all circumstances make sure they are getting a well-rounded diet of hay, other vegetables, corn and more.
How Can I Feed My Pigs Carrots?
It’s easy to give carrots to your pigs; you only need to decide how you want to serve them…
Raw is the most straightforward and the most nutritious, but I recommend that you chop any carrots you serve into smaller pieces that make them easier to chew and swallow while minimizing choking risks.
Your other option is to give them cooked carrots. Boiling is the quickest and the most straightforward, and boiling the carrots long enough to soften them means you can mash them or easily mix them in with other foods to make a sort of salad for your herd.
Just make sure to let them cool down prior…
Can Piglets Have Carrots, Too?
Yes, once they’re old enough to start eating solid food your piglets can eat carrots the same as the adults.
But as always with piglets you’ll want to keep the quantity very small until you see how they react to them. It isn’t out of the question that carrots could upset their stomach and give them diarrhea at this delicate stage of life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can mini pigs have carrots?
Yes, mini pigs can have carrots too. Just make sure that the portions are smaller corresponding to their smaller size, and you make the pieces small enough for them to easily eat.
Can potbelly pigs have carrots?
Yes, potbelly pigs can have carrots the same as any other.
Is it safe for pregnant sows to have carrots?
Yes. Carrots are safe and nutritious for pregnant sows.
Are white and purple carrots safe for pigs?
Yes, they are. Although they are more rarely seen in supermarkets or gardens compared to the typical orange variety, white and purple carrots are also safe for pigs.
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.