More than any other livestock species, pigs eat the widest array of foods. Their reputation precedes them, I guess: they can eat nearly anything, including meat, fruits, and all sorts of vegetables.
But even though pigs can eat nearly anything, there’re still a few things out there that they shouldn’t have, or they should have only in strict moderation.
If you want to take the best possible care of your pigs, you should avoid giving them unhealthy foods. So let’s look at something like sweet potatoes. Can pigs eat sweet potatoes?
Yes, sweet potatoes and their peels are totally safe for pigs to eat. Sweet potatoes are rich in many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and beta carotene, and they’re also an excellent source of energy.
Sweet potatoes are among the best and most wholesome veggies that you can serve to your herd. In my experience, pigs really do love them and you’ll love the nutrition that these potatoes, and their peels, can provide.
If you’ve been searching for a new and interesting food that can help break your pigs out of menu fatigue but one that is still good for them, you found it. I’ll tell you what you need to know down below…
Do Pigs Like Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, they really do! Pigs love sweet potatoes, as they are sweet, crisp, and still easy for them to digest. They’re a good source of energy and a great source of nutrition, and based on what I’ve seen, pigs will always look forward to getting them.
In fact, they like them so much that you can even use sweet potatoes as a special treat or training aid when you are interacting with them.
Are Sweet Potatoes Healthy for Pigs?
Yes, they are very healthy fare for pigs. In fact, most folks don’t know just how nutritious sweet potatoes really are; they’re one of the best sources of certain vitamins and minerals you can get…
But before we get to the micronutrients, let’s look at the bigger picture. Sweet potatoes are a wonderful source of energy for pigs, as mentioned, consisting mostly of carbohydrates in the form of nearly equal amounts of starch and sugar but also a little bit of dietary fiber.
They contain hardly any fat and just a little bit of protein, but every bit helps when we’re talking about putting weight on our pigs, right?
But back to the vitamin content, I’m happy to report that sweet potatoes are just about the best source of vitamin A around, and also beta carotene besides.
They contain more than any other vegetable I know about. They also contain a great amount of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, along with good amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.
These vitamins are backed up by just a little bit of folate and vitamin E. All around, this is excellent, especially for a pig’s eyesight and neurological health.
But the mineral content is not too shabby either, although not quite as good as the vitamin lineup.
Manganese and potassium are the standout minerals on offer, the sweet potatoes still have useful amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc along with just a little bit of naturally occurring sodium although this won’t be a problem at all for your pigs.
When you look at what all of these nutrients can do together, they will prove to be a huge health benefit for your herd, improving nearly every element of a pig’s biology, from their growth and skin to healing, cellular function, metabolism, eyesight as mentioned, and a whole lot more.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, they can. Although sweet potatoes feel really hard to us, the powerful jaws and stout teeth of pigs will make very short work of them. However, it’s a good idea to cut them into somewhat smaller sections that pigs can easily chew and then swallow to reduce the risk of choking.
The largest of pigs can probably handle whole sweet potatoes safely without much worry, but an extra minute or two of work will eliminate an unnecessary hazard.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Sweet Potato Peelings?
Yes, they sure can. And in fact, they should! Sweet potato skins, or peels, contain a good assortment of vitamins and minerals alike, along with a good shot of fiber that can help a pig’s digestion.
You don’t need to waste time peeling the potatoes, and in any case, try to make sure your pigs eat them!
Are Cooked Sweet Potatoes Okay for Pigs?
Yes, they are, and although you don’t have to cook them for your pigs, it can be a good idea for animals that have a hard time chewing and swallowing. Or if you want, to mash the potatoes and mix them in with other foods to make a tasty dish that the whole herd is sure to love.
However, cooking sweet potatoes in any way will reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals they contain. This means that they won’t be as nutritious overall, and considering that most pigs don’t need them cooked for any reason, don’t feel like you have to go through the extra trouble.
Can Pigs Eat Canned Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, nominally, but I say this with some serious reservations: Most canned sweet potatoes have lots of added sugar, spices, and other ingredients that your pigs just shouldn’t get. That said, if the particular canned potatoes are packed plain in water or in very light syrup, it won’t hurt them in small servings but I still wouldn’t make a habit of it.
Is Sweet Potato Pie Okay for Them?
Absolutely not. I know lots of folks want to share delicious desserts and other treats with their animals, and that includes our pigs, but it is a really bad idea.
Sweet potato pie is made with healthy sweet potatoes, sure, but those health benefits are drowned under a deluge of butter, sugar, carbs in the form of pastry crust, and other things that can easily cause chaos in a pig’s stomach.
Save the extra dessert for yourself and your family, and give your pigs only wholesome sweet potatoes instead.
Are Sweet Potatoes Poisonous to Pigs in Any Way?
No, with the sole exception that large chunks or whole sweet potatoes can be a potential choking hazard as mentioned, or in the case that you’re simply feeding them way too many.
Although they are seemingly very plain, these starchy and sugary potatoes can potentially give pigs a significant upset stomach and possibly even diarrhea. That’s no good, and you certainly don’t want to deal with that, so make sure you balance out your herd’s diet with all sorts of other nutritious foods that they need, too.
Something else you should keep in mind is that sweet potatoes, as awesome as they are, simply are not nutritionally complete for pigs; they cannot live on them alone.
How Often Can Pigs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
4 to 5 servings weekly, with each being around 5% of their total bodyweight. Sweet potatoes are an excellent option for pigs, and can be a mainstay in their diet.
How Can I Feed My Pigs Sweet Potatoes?
The best way to serve sweet potatoes to your pigs is simply to give them a good wash and scrub to remove any lingering dirt, dust, or other contaminants, and then chop the sweet potatoes into quarters or even smaller pieces for smaller breeds.
This will make them much easier to chew and swallow while minimizing the risk of choking. Be advised, you’ll need a stout knife and cutting board because raw sweet potatoes are very, very hard. Be careful!
If you’re giving sweet potatoes to very large individual pigs or a large breed herd you might not even need to chop them up.
Can Piglets Have Sweet Potatoes, Too?
Yes, definitely. Sweet potatoes are an excellent and highly nutritious choice for piglets, one that you can let them try as soon as they start eating solid food. But consider cutting them up into very small pieces to make it easier for them to chew, or possibly lightly cooking it.
And as with all new foods that you give to your baby pigs, keep an eye out for any signs of indigestion or diarrhea afterward.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are sweet potatoes good for mini pigs?
Yes, they are, the same way that they are for all other pig breeds. Just make sure you cut them up into an appropriately small size for them.
Can potbelly pigs eat sweet potatoes safely?
Yes, they sure can. Sweet potatoes are fine for potbelly pigs. Once again, just make sure the potatoes are cut up into smaller chunks for easy eating.
Is sweet potato casserole okay for pigs to eat?
Absolutely not. Sweet potato casserole is a caloric disaster waiting to happen for pigs, and is also highly likely to give them diarrhea. Don’t do it!
I’ve taken over this blog from Kendra Lynne around 2018, and turned it into one of the best an most comprehensive homesteading website out there. I was raised partly in the countryside living a very frugal life ever since I can remember.