You might look at your potbelly pig and think that they can eat anything you give to them.
But this is only mostly true, there are a few things that you shouldn’t give to your potbelly pigs.
These things include apple and pear seeds, apricot and peach pits, wild mushrooms, green potatoes, raw lima or kidney beans, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, castor beans, alcohol, salt, and plants.
Read on to find out why these different items are toxic to pigs and should be avoided at all costs.
Apple and pear seeds, apricot and peach pits
You might not think twice about eating some of the above fruits whole.
Heck, I know some people who will eat a whole apple, seeds and all, without even a second thought.
To me that sounds gross, but these people don’t mind that these seeds and pits contain something called amygdalin.
This amygdalin can then be released into the body in the form of hydrogen cyanide.
Hydrogen cyanide is a chemical found in enough quantity could be toxic to humans and animals.
Luckily for a human, you would have to have quite a few of these seeds or pits before they would become toxic to you.
For potbelly pigs, it wouldn’t take quite so much to be toxic to them.
Now if you are giving your pigs one or two apples or pears, you might not have much to worry about.
And a treat of one of these every once in a while might be a nice little thing for your pig to have.
But if you find yourself with a bunch of apples, pears, apricots, or peaches that you don’t know what to do with, make sure to give to your pig over a couple of days.
Otherwise, if you give it to them all at once, you run the risk of them getting cyanide poisoning.
You could also remove the pits from the apricots and peaches before you give them to the pigs and they should be perfectly fine to feed them lots.
Also, remember that these fruits can also soak in any weed killer you might have sprayed around them, so wash them off well before giving them to your pigs.
Every once in a while, we buy mushrooms that sit in our refrigerator without being used.
So they get to the edge of being bad.
At this point, we will usually give them to our pigs because they don’t mind the mushrooms in this state.
And those mushrooms should be perfectly fine for them to have.
When you run into problems is when the pigs are eating wild mushrooms.
In general, there are some wild mushrooms that can be poisonous to any human or animal.
The death cap is one of these and some other mushrooms that look perfectly like store-bought mushrooms.
So in the case of mushrooms, it is better safe than sorry.
Make sure you are only feeding them store-bought mushrooms.
So they don’t get poisoned by potentially dangerous wild mushrooms.
If you find any mushrooms in your yard, pull them out and throw them away.
Then wash your hands.
This will make sure your pigs don’t get to them and they won’t eat potentially poisonous mushrooms.
Have you ever opened up a bag of potatoes and found a bunch of green potatoes in your bag?
That has happened to me a few times and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.
Do I put them in my instant pot and feed them to my kids as mashed potatoes?
Or should I cook them up and throw them out to my pigs and let me eat them.
Now we typically do feed our pigs the baked potatoes that no one ate (they love them), but don’t give them the green potatoes from your bag.
According to Michigan State University:
The green color of the potato is caused by exposure to light. According to PennState Extension, light causes the potato to produce chlorophyll and also solanine. Solanine has a bitter taste and is an irritant to the digestive system that can cause paralysis in large quantities. Small green spots and sprouts or eyes should be completely trimmed off, however, if it’s more than small spots, throw the potato out. Do not use any green potatoes, trimmed or not, if you are serving children as they have a lower body mass and would be more susceptible to the solanine. If potatoes have a bitter taste, do not eat them.https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/is_it_safe_to_eat_a_green_potato
So potatoes go green because they produce more chlorophyll and solanine.
The solanine is bitter and can cause paralysis to people and animals if taken in large quantities.
For some potatoes, the green parts can be trimmed off and still be eaten.
If the potato still tastes bitter, it should be thrown away.
And do not give these to your pigs or your digestive systems may give way and they will die.
You can avoid your potatoes going green by storing them in a dark, cool, and dry area of your house.
Raw lima or kidney beans
Raw lima and kidney beans contain a toxin called lectin.
This toxin can cause a stomach ache and vomiting.
Cooking the beans appropriately will get rid of the toxicity.
This means soaking the beans in water for about 5 hours and then boil them in water for around 10 to 15 minutes.
This should get rid of the toxins.
Growing up in Michigan, I always like a good strawberry rhubarb pie.
We used to get strawberries and rhubarb in our garden and someone would make a pie every once in a while.
I once heard that rhubarb is toxic, but I didn’t believe the person that told me.
But in actuality, the leaves of the rhubarb plant are actually toxic.
The leaves of the plant contain something called oxalic acid.
According to Foodiosity.com:
Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which is toxic if ingested. This is the plant’s primary method of defense. It can be fatal to animals, so please make sure none of your pets or livestock go near those leaves. Humans have to eat a lot of leaves to have severe symptoms, but it’s best to avoid them.https://foodiosity.com/when-not-to-eat-rhubarb/
So the rhubarb should be perfectly fine to eat if you eat the main portion of the plant and not the leaves.
It is best to not give it to your pigs so completely avoid it.
Also, it is best not to grow it near your animals either, so there isn’t a chance they accidentally eat it.
Raw sweet potatoes
Raw sweet potatoes have an enzyme inhibitor called trypsin, which prevents the digestion of protein.
This is important not to block because protein is very important to a pig’s diet and growth.
If they have too many enzyme inhibitors, their body has to create more digestive enzymes instead of detoxifying enzymes.
And this can lead to your pig getting really sick.
You can avoid this from happening by cooking any sweet potatoes before you give them to your pigs.
Cooking the potatoes then gets rid of the enzyme inhibitor from the potato and makes them perfectly safe to eat.
Castor beans have many uses for humans.
In some cases, it can be used as a diuretic, but it is not a fun experience for the user.
But, you can also get ricin from the castor bean as well.
For those of you that don’t know, ricin is a poison that merely touching could end up killing someone.
When you hear of politicians receiving suspicious packages in the mail, they usually contain traces of ricin.
So it is not a good thing to be around.
Apparently, the ricin of one bean can kill a child, while the ricin from seven beans can kill an adult.
So it is important to keep these away from your pigs.
According to ThePigSite.com:
Alcohol poisoning can be caused when pigs are fed on brewing waste. “Brewing grains can continue to ferment which can lead to them having high levels of alcohol in them,” says Mr Pearson. “Once consumed by pigs, it can cause similar effects to alcohol in humans. It can be quite debilitating for them and doesn’t happen that infrequently.”https://www.thepigsite.com/articles/common-causes-of-poisoning-in-pigs
So be very careful what you are feeding your pigs and make sure you are not giving them brewing waste.
This can lead to problems in your pigs.
You have to be very strict sometimes with animals about how much salt you give them.
While other animals need extra salt to keep their body in good condition.
For example, sheep need extra salt to keep themselves from bloating, since they cannot expel gas.
But for pigs, there is a subtle difference between too much and too little salt.
According to FeedStrategy.com:
Studies have demonstrated that growing pigs can tolerate up to 8 percent salt in their diets (that is 40 times higher than the required level). But to cope with such high levels of salt, and keep growing, they require ample quantities of non-saline water. Otherwise, with limited water supply or with saline water, pigs cannot tolerate even 1 percent salt in their diets (that is twice their requirement). Poultry are not so flexible in their salt tolerance, especially layers as it affects their egg quality.https://www.feedstrategy.com/poultry-nutrition/how-much-salt-should-you-add-in-your-animal-feed-diets/
So if you provide your pigs with too much salt or maybe a meal that was prepared with a lot of salt, this wouldn’t a good thing.
And it is always safe to provide them with plenty of water so they can counteract any overconsumption of salt.
There is a long list of plants that are toxic to pigs.
These plants include:
- Angel Trumpet
So plants are harmful to pigs, but might not necessarily kill them.
These plants include:
- Sweet peas
- Easter lily
A good rule of thumb is if you don’t know what it is, don’t give it to your pig.
There is quite a bit you can give your pigs.
We typically end up giving our pigs either food that is about to go bad in our fridge or left-overs from our meals that we will never eat.
This is a good way to bulk up your pigs and not spend any additional money to make sure they are taken care of.
But also make sure they are not fed or getting into any foods or plants that will poison and maybe even kill them.
If you do this, then your pigs should be pretty happy and healthy.