Are you a pig owner or a pig farmer and you care about what you feed to your pigs and what your pigs consume or are you just a curious person trying to figure out some things about pigs? Then this article is for you.
Basil is a culinary herb that is used worldwide in cuisines. It is flavourful and a green-colored herb, originating from mainly Asia and Africa. It is known to add color to food. Humans love basil, we all love adding basils to our meals to spice things up. But can pigs eat them as we do?
CAN PIGS EAT BASIL
Yes, pigs can eat basil. Most pigs love them. The basil leaves in addition to their stems are completely safe for pig consumption. However, it is worth noting that basil should not be fed to pigs in high quantities.
WHY YOU SHOULD FEED YOUR PIGS WITH BASIL
Pigs need a well-balanced diet that would contain a series of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients. Luckily, basil as a herb contains some of these essential nutrients that are required by pigs.
It is no surprise that basil contains vitamins. Vitamins are our best friends. Pigs, especially piglets, need vitamins for healthy growth.
Basil contains vitamin C. This vitamin is essential in pigs' diet as they do not produce it in their bodies. Vitamin C Is a good source of antioxidants therefore, it helps prevent diseases like scurvy. Scurvy is a disease that is characterized by gum bleeding. Although basil does not contain a great quantity of vitamin C, it still contains more when compared to other herbs.
Aside from vitamin C, basil also contains vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting mechanisms and bone metabolism. The deficiency of vitamin k in pigs might contribute to bleeding, malformation of bone, and an increase in disease.
Basil has 177 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams. Impressive, right? This amount of calcium is quite high when compared to some vegetables like sweet bell peppers or tomatoes. Basil, therefore, is indeed a great source of calcium for your pigs and piglets.
Of course, you expected basil to contain some amount of fiber. Fiber is an important part of a pig's diet. Fiber helps keep a pig's digestive system healthy. Basil has about 1.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams. The quantity of fiber is not that high especially when it is compared to other herbs or vegetables, but the point is for pigs to at least consume fiber in their diet.
This is another constituent of basil. This mineral helps ensure proper and safe wound recovery. Zinc helps boost the immune system. Therefore, minor diseases like colds would be prevented.
Manganese is necessary for normal nerve and brain function in pigs. Manganese also contributes to the support of bone formation, the formation of sex hormones, and the metabolism of other nutrients like carbohydrates and amino acids. The deficiency of this essential mineral might result in slow and retard growth as well as the abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and fats among others.
Antioxidants help destroy free radicals in cells and tissue that can cause damage. Different antioxidants have different functions. Vitamin A, in particular, works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Some other antioxidants help maintain good eyesight and enhance proper bone and joint health. Antioxidants prevent muscles from wasting as your pig ages.
Maintains healthy weight
It is no surprise that basil leaves are very low in calories. A 100 grams of basil leaves contain only 22 calories. Nice! This simply means that pigs can consume basil without gaining unhealthy weight.
HOW MUCH BASIL IS SAFE FOR YOUR PIG
Basil can be fed to pigs a couple of days a week as a part of their diet. Because basil is high in calcium, you can start by feeding them about one or two leaves a few times per week. It is also a better idea for pigs to have their Basil mixed with other veggies. This would make it easier to maintain a good portion. Some of the side effects of overfeeding on calcium include constipation, an increase in the risk of kidney stones, nausea e.t.c.
THE PROPER WAY TO SERVE BASIL TO YOUR PIGS
Anything worth doing, worth doing well.
Yes, you are taking your time to serve your pig with the basil leaves, but there are some ideal ethics to take note of in the process.
Pigs are animals that do not care much about how clean or healthy the food they are being served is, but as their owner, this is something you should care about.
Serving rotten or spoilt basil leaves to your pigs is a very detrimental act common among pet owners. Rotten herbs, vegetables, or fruits no longer have the ideal nutrient content a fresh one would have.
It is thus important to help yourself by helping your pigs by ensuring their meals are still fresh before serving them to them. If by chance, they didn't eat a meal that was served to them on previous days, this meal should be taken out of their space or cage to prevent them from eating such food when they are hungry.
I would assume that you are not the type to pick up a vegetable or a fruit from wherever and immediately throw it into your mouth. Pets including Pigs deserve clean food. It would only take less than a minute to rinse or wash a set of basil leaves before serving it to your pigs. Animals might have a good tolerating system, but in some extreme cases, this little dirt they consume might lead to complications. Complications neither you nor your pigs would like.
We all want what is best for our pets including our pigs. But, it is one thing to serve your pets with the right diet and it is another thing to serve them in the right and proper proportion. Taking note of these little details on proportion might be the turning point your pig needs. Seeking a veterinarian's opinion is also a good idea before you decide on whether to introduce a specific meal to your pig's diet or not.