Pigs can eat hay, yes. Hay, grass hay, and grass are an excellent food to help your pigs with healthy digestion and teeth preventing them from gastric ulcers. So, make sure your pigs are eating hay and grass hay regularly to keep them healthy.
Being able to find a cheap yet nutritious food for pigs feels like finding a treasure as well.
For this reason, hay sounds like a great deal that hog raisers and pig owners would never decline.
Let’s get into it more!
Is hay bad for pigs?
Hay is not a bad thing for pigs. In contrast, it can even be beneficial and safe for regular intake.
Feeding hay and grass to pigs helps improve their digestive functions. Such feeds support these animals’ teeth and can even prevent gastric ulcers.
Hay is a mixture of grass, legumes, or other herbs cut and dried by farmers to feed on livestock.
Most livestock owners feed it to cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Still, it can also be a feed for pigs, both farm and pet ones.
Thus, it would be ideal for hog raisers to always have available hay for their livestock at all times. The same principle goes even to those who own pigs as pets.
What about pet pigs (like mini pigs)? Is hay bad for them?
Hay is not only beneficial for hogs raised for its meat. Moreso, it can be helpful to pet pigs and even mini pigs.
Both grass and hay grass can promote healthy digestion to your pet, so you don’t have to hold back in feeding hay.
Of course, there’s such a thing as overfeeding, so don’t give your pets too much.
Unlike large breeds, mini pigs and pet pigs have smaller bodies and stomachs to take in a lot of food.
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What hay is best for pigs?
There are several hay options you can choose from for your pigs.
Since it’s a low-calorie meal, all kinds would be safe to eat regularly. Most people even prepare silage as feed during winter seasons.
Still, the best hay would be the ones with some protein mixed on it. Go for some clover hay and alfalfa hay, significantly if your pigs are still growing.
If you’re wondering about straw and its difference from hay, it’s quite simple.
Hay is a crop grown and harvested as feed. On the other hand, straw is a byproduct of a grain crop. The former is best to feed since it’s a dried grass packed with nutrients.
If you have plenty of straw, don’t feed it to these animals. It’s just an empty fiber tube and is only significant to serve as bedding, not a feed.
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Do hogs eat alfalfa hay?
Technically, hogs can eat alfalfa hay if you feed it, and it can be beneficial to them as well.
Still, feeding alfalfa hay to these animals should depend on its nutritional quality. At the same time, the age of the animals should also be a factor.
The reason is that other livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats differ from pigs in digesting.
Other kinds of livestock have four-chambered stomachs that help them digest such hay. Hogs have a one-chambered stomach that does not effectively digest fibers that comes with it.
Indeed, this hay is an excellent source of protein. Even so, hogs would find it hard to digest, therefore limiting its nutrients.
Thus, it would be best to feed alfalfa hay to pigs that have recently weaned and are still growing.
If you still wish to do so, you can give alfalfa hay but only in small amounts. With small quantities, you can be confident that they can digest it.
How do you feed pigs hay?
Unlike other livestock, pigs would find hay less attractive than other food.
These animals may not be picky-eaters. Still, they would likely play and stomp on hay if you try to feed it to them.
Don’t lose hope, though.
Although pigs won’t like the idea of eating such, you can always train them and teach them to eat it.
One standard solution to teach them to do so is by removing all other food options.
The hunger they’ll feel should be enough to drive them to munch on hay.
Another thing you can do is to teach them that hay is one food they can eat. You can do so by mixing in feed or scraps. Further, you can even put molasses on top of it.
Lastly, consider the size of the hog you’re feeding hay. Unlike the matured and grown hogs, smaller ones like piglets lack strong jaws to munch on it.
Further, they have a small digestive tract to make use of hay. Thus, it would be best to only feed hay to growing pigs rather than to piglets who have just recently weaned.
Hay as pig bedding
If you want to use hay as your pig’s bedding, it would be best to use a straw instead.
As I said earlier, straw is just empty fiber tubes, and pigs will find it more as a toy than a food.
Other hay types may also serve as bedding, but I recommend maximizing its use as a feed.
Moreso, using hay as bedding may easily get ruined if your hog suddenly wants to munch on it.
Contrary to the common knowledge that hay is for other livestock, it can also feed to pigs. It offers not only a cheap and accessible feed but also a nutritious meal for these animals.
Still, it would be best if you also took note of the other factors that may affect your livestock when feeding hay.
By being mindful, you can be confident of healthy growth and proper care for these animals.
Image credits – Photos by Michael Weibel and Mitch Fox on Unsplash