When it comes to livestock, there is no other species that enjoys a diet as diverse as that of pigs. Pigs eat all sorts of stuff, and there are seemingly no kinds of vegetables or fruits that they can’t have, at least occasionally! But, nonetheless, pigs still can’t eat just anything, and some foods aren’t good for them.
How about that most iconic winter squash, the classic pumpkin? Can pigs eat it, and is it safe for them?
Yes, pumpkins are safe for pigs to eat. Pigs can eat the flesh, skin, and guts of a pumpkin with no issue and get good nutrition from it. However, excess consumption can cause indigestion so watch the quantity.
If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t think of pumpkins very often unless you’re contemplating some delicious pumpkin pie around Thanksgiving. But you might be surprised to learn that pumpkins are actually a nutritious food for many animals, and that includes our pigs.
You can definitely make it a festive part of their diet when they are in season, but there’s more you’ll want to know before you hand them over. I’ll tell you all about it below.
Do Pigs Like Pumpkin?
Yes, generally, pigs seem to like pumpkin. Not all pigs are thrilled by it, but most will eat it, especially if they’re hungry or see other pigs chowing down.
Also note that the hard outer skin and the guts are sometimes a take-it-or leave-it item for pigs: most of them will eat the flesh eagerly, but not necessarily the other parts.
Are Pumpkins Healthy for Them?
Yes, pumpkins are definitely a healthy food for pigs as long as they get them in moderation. As a small, ongoing part of their diet or a nutritious treat, they have a lot to offer…
For starters, pumpkins are a tremendous source of dietary fiber which can help pigs stay regular and improve their digestion.
Pumpkins are also packed with various vitamins and minerals; they have abundant vitamin A and vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and more, all of this backed up by plenty of iron, potassium, and various other minerals.
All together, these nutrients can dramatically benefit pigs, improving everything from circulatory and immune system health to organ function, healing, and even vision. Lots of good benefits considering most of them are only concerned with how it tastes!
Is Raw Pumpkin Safe for Pigs?
Yes, raw pumpkin is totally safe for pigs. It’s also the ideal way to serve it to your herd because it will have the best possible amount of nutrients. And pigs won’t struggle to eat it raw, so don’t worry about that.
Can Pigs Have Pumpkin Flesh?
Yes, they sure can. The flesh of the pumpkin is the prized bit for pigs, as it’s tender, sweet and packed with nutrients. If you give them no other part of the pumpkin, give them the flesh.
Can Pigs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, pigs can eat pumpkin seeds with no problems. Although they are large and hard for us to eat unless they are toasted, pigs can chew them up with no issues.
Are Pumpkin Guts Safe for Pigs?
Yes, they are! The stringy, slimy guts that we scoop out of a pumpkin prior to preparing it are safe and nutritious for pigs. However, don’t expect all of them to eagerly eat it.
Is Pumpkin Skin Safe for Pigs?
Yes, it is, although smaller pigs or picky eaters might not be too keen on it. The hard outer skin of pumpkins is nonetheless fairly easy for pigs to eat and digestible. If you want to ensure that your pigs will eat the whole thing, you can roast the skin to soften it.
Is Cooked Pumpkin Okay for Pigs?
Yes. Cooking pumpkin can make it softer and more appealing to picky eaters, and is a great way to process the pumpkin and mix it in with other foods if you want to make serving more straightforward. However, you should know that cooking pumpkin does reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals it contains so it will make it less healthy overall.
Also, you never want to give cooked pumpkin that was prepared with any extra sugar, butter, spices and other ingredients; that stuff is all bad for pigs.
Can You Give Pigs Pumpkin Pie?
No! As tempting as it is, you should never give a pumpkin pie to your pigs. It has way too much sugar and other ingredients in there that is just plain bad for them.
You can give your pigs mashed or pureed plain pumpkin, which isn’t too far from the pie filling of pumpkin pie.
Is it Illegal to Give a Carved Pumpkin to Pigs?
No, it isn’t! Or at least it isn’t anywhere in North America that I was able to find. Maybe in other countries, or in some obscure and out of the way county or town but I think this is just a myth that has gotten circulated into the public consciousness.
On the other hand, there might be a grain of truth to it: you should never, ever feed your pigs any old, moldy or rotting pumpkin. For instance, an old jack-o-lantern that is past its prime!
Are Pumpkins Harmful to Pigs in Any Way?
No, they aren’t. At least not directly! The only way that a pumpkin could potentially hurt your pigs is if they are getting way too much of it in one serving or if they’re getting too much pumpkin to the exclusion of other foods that they need more in their diet.
Pumpkins and other squashes are foods that pigs could routinely eat in the wild if they happened upon them, and they are a nutritious supplement to their typical diet in captivity. The only real practical problem that pumpkins can cause is indigestion or diarrhea if they get way too much in one serving.
So long as you are careful with the quantities and with the feeding schedule, aside from the odd risk of choking pumpkins pose absolutely no risk to your herd.
How Often Can Pigs Eat Pumpkin?
Pigs tend to like pumpkin, and it’s definitely a nutritious option for them, but nonetheless, they don’t need it all the time or in unlimited amounts. I like to give them pumpkin no more than twice a week in place of one of the other veggies as a usual part of their diet.
How Can I Feed My Pigs Pumpkin?
You’ve got quite a few options for giving pumpkin to your herd. The most straightforward way is simply to break a whole pumpkin into chunks and then hand it over. They’ll make short work of the pieces after that.
For picky eaters or incorporating it into other foods, you can carve out the flesh from the skin and then leave it in chunks or mash it for mixing. Remember that you can also cook pumpkin, skin and all, to soften it for the same purpose though this will reduce the amount of nutrients as mentioned above.
If your pigs don’t seem too excited about whole pumpkin, you can mash the flesh and then puree it for mixing into a slurry of other ingredients. As long as it contains other foods they like they’ll be more than happy to eat it up.
Can Piglets Have Pumpkin, Too?
Yes, they can, once they are old enough to start eating solid food. It should be obvious that a small piglet is going to struggle more to break into an intact pumpkin compared to an adult, so I recommend breaking it down into chunks for them and removing the stringy guts to minimize the chances of choking.
Also, keep those portion sizes small! Because piglets are still developing their digestive tracts are much more vulnerable to upset and subsequent diarrhea compared to adults, and that can be very troubling for a little baby piglet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can potbelly pigs have pumpkins?
Yes, of course. Pot belly pigs can have pumpkin the same as any other breed, according to the guidelines above.
Is pumpkin okay for mini pigs?
Yes, it sure is. Mini pigs like pumpkin just fine, and it is safe for them. Just make sure to reduce that serving size accordingly!
Are stale pumpkins safe for pigs?
Yes, in a manner of speaking. A pumpkin that is a little old and drying out is fine for pigs, but you never want to serve them any that is rotting, moldy, or truly bad. It can easily make them sick!
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.