Have you noticed that your pigs are not eating? And you have no idea why.
As a pig owner, it is important to always be aware of the health and behavior of your pigs.
When you notice that they are not eating, you should take action as soon as possible. This is to make sure that they maintain the pig’s optimum weight.
What to Do When Pigs Are Not Eating
Here’s a list of what you should do if your pig is not eating.
1. Check to see if they are sick because this could cause them to stop eating.
Sickness is one of the primary causes of pigs refusing to eat. Check them for signs of illness.
Look for symptoms such as diarrhea, scratching or itching, runny nose and eyes, loss of appetite or energy, coughs, growths on the skin (such as tumors), etc.
If you notice that they are not eating it could be because they have a cold or flu which requires medication from a veterinarian.
According to the CDC, signs of swine flu in pigs can include fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and going off feed.
You also need to look at their skin and see if it is red or irritated in any way. If your pigs have this type of condition there’s a big possibility that the problem with not eating comes from the illness.
2. Investigate if there is a change in their surroundings including changes in other animals living with them or a change in temperature of the room.
Pigs normally do not like changes and are used to their daily routine so any small changes in their conditions can cause stress and affect their eating habits.
In some cases, pigs are also very sensitive animals even when compared to dogs and cats.
When your pigs are not eating, they may not tolerate sudden changes in temperature or humidity, so make sure that the room where they live is properly ventilated.
3. Ensure that your pig does not have health problems such as dental issues which could cause them to stop eating.
A lot of pigs develop dental problems when they are older so it’s very important to check their teeth often and look for symptoms like bleeding gums, loose or cracked teeth, and swelling from infections.
If you notice any of those signs take your pig to the veterinarian immediately because an infection may affect their appetite causing them to stop eating.
4. Observe how much they drink since lack of water intake could be another reason why they’re not eating properly.
Make sure that your pigs always have access to fresh and clean water.
If they’re not drinking for more than three days, take them to the veterinarian immediately because that may be a sign of dehydration which can affect their health.
5. Make sure that there is enough food for your pig.
Even if they are normally big eaters, you should still monitor how much food they’re taking every day.
Make sure that your pigs won’t get obese or overweight especially during hot summer months when they consume more energy (in terms of the amount of food) than necessary usually because of the heat.
Pigs need a balanced diet with vegetables as well as fruits containing as many minerals and vitamins as possible so choose carefully what your pigs will eat.
You also need to make sure that you feed them food for their age and size.
For example, if your pig is old or young (weaned piglets) you should not feed them the same foods because their nutritional requirements are different.
6. Observe if your pig is alone or with other pigs and if they may be fighting over food.
Fighting over food is one of the most common reasons why pigs do not eat.
So make sure that they are alone when you feed them and that there is enough space for each pig to have its bowl of food if they are grouped in a small area.
If you notice that they stop eating because other pigs are taking their food away from them, then separate your pigs so they can all eat peacefully.
7. Visit your veterinarian to ensure that everything is okay with your pig and ask what may be wrong if no health problems or changes in their surroundings exist.
Before starting any treatments or medications, visit the veterinarian first who will check your pig’s overall health condition which could lead to a diagnosis about why exactly pigs are not eating properly.
Ask your veterinarian what you can do to help them eat more. You must follow the doctor’s advice about diet and nutrition during that time because pigs need to regain their health before starting any exercises which could put stress on the pig’s body.
The list above includes some of the most common reasons why pigs stop eating, so observe and monitor your pigs closely as it might be one of these problems.
If after making a proper observation, you haven’t found any possible reason for your pig not eating, then it’s best to bring them to a veterinarian.
Recommended supplements when pigs are not eating
Vitamins can play an important role in giving your pig’s appetite a boost so ask your veterinarian what supplements are best for pigs that don’t eat.
Two supplements that are recommended for all pet pigs are selenium and vitamin e. Other supplements include Multivitamin, coconut oil, and fish oil.
1. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and it helps with the circulation of blood through the body. It also improves muscle tone and bone strength which is important for healthy pigs.
Vitamin e promotes growth, development, and fertility in both males and females so it’s one of the best vitamins for your pig if they are not eating enough or their appetite is poor.
Selenium is an antioxidant that helps the body fight against disease and infection. It’s a mineral so it’s important to monitor the amount of selenium you’re giving to your pig as pigs cannot get rid of excess amounts of this mineral.
The FDA set the selenium supplementation rate at 0.3 mg Se/kg (ppm) in feed for cattle, sheep, swine, chickens, turkeys, and ducks.
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is good for both humans and animals because it contains medium-chain fatty acids which aid in weight loss as well as helping with antioxidant protection in the body.
It also increases immunity against certain types of harmful bacteria and viruses while improving digestion by increasing the level of enzymes produced by the body.
4. Fish Oil
Fish oil is beneficial for pigs because it fights against free radicals that can harm cells in the body and cause inflammation which leads to various chronic diseases in humans and pets alike such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.
A recommended dosage is 1 gram (g) per 100 pounds of weight once a day or divided into 2-3 times throughout the day. It’s best to give fish oil when you feed your pig their food so they are more likely to eat all of it with their meal.
5. Multivitamin Supplementation
Multivitamins are good for any animal, from dogs to cats and even horses! They contain high-quality ingredients derived from natural sources while having no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
The main reason why pigs stop eating is that they’re lacking something in their diet so multivitamin supplementation is important for malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies to help with appetite.
As you can see, to resolve this problem of pigs not eating properly there are many remedies and treatments that you can try at home on your own before taking any action.
However, if none of these solutions work then you need to visit a veterinarian who will determine the cause behind why pigs do not eat properly for him/her to suggest the best possible treatment so he/she can recover from whatever illness they might have without putting extra stress and pressure on their bodies.
Sarah Lane has been a farm wife since 2010 and mother of two children for nearly as long. She and her husband, Jonathan, live on a small farm in Texas where they raise dairy goats and beef cattle as well as chickens for eggs and meat. In addition to growing their own hay, straw and garden produce, the Lane family works with other nearby farms to source organic grain from which they make artisan bread sold at local farmer’s market.