Pigs need the right kind of diet if they’re going to grow quickly and stay healthy. But sometimes, it’s good to give your pigs a special treat. Something that will make them feel good, keep them happy, and give them a little bit of energy.
And as you know already, they can eat all sorts of things but just because you want to treat them doesn’t mean you have to give them junk food.
Many kinds of fruit can be healthy and nourishing treats that your pigs will still love. How about something like watermelon? Can pigs eat watermelon safely?
Yes, watermelon is totally safe for pigs. Highly hydrating and a great source of energy, watermelon can help pigs beat stress and get some vitamins and minerals they need in the bargain.
I’ll tell you, watermelon is one of my very favorite things to serve to my pigs when it’s in season. They love eating it; it’s easy for them to digest and really does help them deal with hot weather just a little bit better.
This one’s a no-brainer, but as you’re probably anticipating there’s still a little bit more you should know before you add watermelon to their menu. I’ll tell you everything in the rest of this article.
Do Pigs Like Watermelon?
Yes, they do! In fact, I’d go so far as to say that pigs truly love watermelon. You’ll rarely see them get as excited for anything as they do for a freshly cut and super juicy melon.
Is Watermelon Good for Pigs?
Yes, it is, so long as it’s fed to pigs in the right amounts and on the right schedule. Watermelon, as wholesome as it is, is really more of a treat or a supplemental item than a mainstay of their diet. They don’t need to get it all the time.
But watermelon does have plenty of macro- and micronutrients that can benefit pigs. It has very little fat or protein, of course, but it’s a good source of carbohydrates, predominantly in the form of sugar. It has a little bit of fiber, too. This makes watermelon a pretty good source of energy.
And more than that, watermelon can supply pigs with needed vitamins and minerals, and it contains a surprising variety.
For starters, looking at the vitamins, we see that watermelon has vitamin A and beta carotene, many of the B complex vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 along with a little bit of choline.
Watermelons don’t contain particularly large amounts of these vitamins, but they do contain a good shot of vitamin C that can benefit your pigs.
Looking at the mineral content, we find that watermelon contains iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium rounded out by just a little bit of zinc and a trace amount of naturally occurring sodium. Not a ton of anything concerning the minerals, but it all adds up and it’s all beneficial…
And of course, watermelons are mostly water, being nearly 92% water by weight on average. Combined with the sugars and the vitamins, this makes them excellent for hydration and a great way to help your pigs beat the summer heat.
The nutrients in watermelon will help them balance their electrolytes and maintain a healthy metabolism when they might otherwise be struggling.
And, don’t forget, pigs love the stuff: this will definitely improve their mood and sense of overall well-being.
Is Watermelon Flesh Okay for Pigs?
Yes, definitely. The super-soft, juicy, and sweet flesh of watermelon is just fine for pigs.
Is Watermelon Rind Okay for Pigs?
Yes, it is. Although it is hard and pretty unpalatable to people, pigs can and will eat the rind. Although, in my experience, quite a few will ignore it unless they’re very hungry.
Can Pigs Eat Watermelon Seeds Safely?
Yes, so no worries there. You don’t have to give your pigs seedless watermelons or spend all that time and effort getting them out before serving. They won’t hurt your pigs and they can digest them.
Is Cooked Watermelon Okay for Pigs?
Yes, but this is only theoretical: there is no reason whatsoever to cook watermelon prior to serving it. It’s just going to turn it into a nasty mess and will further deplete the already marginal amounts of nutrients it contains.
Are Watermelons Poisonous to Pigs in Any Way?
No, not overtly. There’s nothing in watermelons that will hurt your pigs, nor any sort of compound or other substance that will build up in their bodies over time and cause problems.
However, watermelons are pretty sugary, and getting too much sugar in their diet will cause problems for pigs. This usually manifests as indigestion and diarrhea at first, and that can lead to dehydration if it’s bad enough, so take it seriously.
High sugar intake, sustained, will cause unhealthy weight gain, obesity, and a host of other issues.
But of course, this is mostly academic assuming you are giving pigs a complete, correct, and well-rounded diet with just a little bit of watermelon in there.
How Often Can Pigs Eat Watermelon?
Pigs can have watermelon occasionally, especially during hot weather. I recommend you give them no more than two servings per week, and even then, watermelon should be no more than 10% of their daily caloric intake at most.
And also recall that pigs are individuals to a degree: what does not upset the stomach of one pig might upset the stomach of the other, so give them a little at first and monitor for any adverse reactions before increasing the serving size with time.
Follow these guidelines and your pigs will be able to enjoy watermelon all summer long.
How Can I Feed My Pigs Watermelon?
This depends on how big your pigs are. For smaller ones, I highly recommend you remove the flesh from the rind and cut it into cubes that will be easy for them to eat. This will minimize the risks of choking associated with that sturdy rind.
For larger porkers, you can cut watermelons in half and serve them as is, or cut them into slices that they can eat rind and all.
Another fun idea is to scoop out the flesh of a watermelon and mash it before mixing it in with other fruits, vegetables, or even grains that pigs eat. This can make a really interesting meal for them.
Can Piglets Have Watermelon, Too?
Yes, piglets can have watermelon once they’re old enough to eat solid food. I recommend that you wait until they are completely weaned before giving them a few tiny bites of watermelon to try.
Remember, baby piglets are especially prone to getting an upset stomach and diarrhea from sugary foods, so easy does it…
Frequently Asked Questions
Is watermelon and its rind safe for potbelly pigs?
Yes, it is, assuming you keep the portions and the pieces small to reduce the risk of choking.
Is watermelon and its rind safe for mini pigs?
Yes, mini pigs can have a watermelon also, just make sure you reduce the serving size and keep the pieces very small if you’re going to give them rind. They can handle the flesh and seeds, of course, with no problem.
Is honeydew and its rind safe for pigs?
Yes, it is. Honeydew is often served alongside watermelon, and you’ll be happy to know that it is also entirely safe for pigs, including the rind.
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.