CAN PIGS EAT DANDELIONS
Pigs are popular for their meat (pork). They are efficient converters of feed to body flesh. No wonder pork meat has now found its way into foods and meals we see every day. However, pigs are much more useful in other ways. Pigs (especially guinea pigs) serve as excellent pets for men. They are also good sources of valuable products like fertilizer, lard, glue, medicines, leather, etc. Therefore, to keep your pig in good shape and ensure its optimal productivity, you need to have good knowledge of their diets.
Pigs are omnivorous animals; a blend of herbivores and carnivores. They can eat plants (green plants) and animal products. Pigs are versatile eaters. They can eat virtually anything. However, you must continue to monitor what your pigs eat to prevent medical complications in your pigs and to support their growth as well as their development.
Having said that, let’s go back to the big question: can pigs eat dandelions? Yes, pigs can eat dandelions the same way they consume many other green plants. Dandelions, on the other hand, should be fed to your pigs in moderation. After all, they say, “an excess of something is always bad.”
What are Dandelions?
According to Wikipedia, dandelions are part of a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. Dandelions are common plants that have small flowers that are usually yellow. Most people regard dandelions as weeds. However, these plants possess several health benefits for your pigs and even for you.
Why Should You Feed Dandelions to Your Pigs?
As earlier mentioned, dandelions are rich In several nutrients. They contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, with vitamins C, and K being the most abundant. Dandelions are also moderately rich in calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese. According to Wikipedia, “raw dandelion greens are 86% water, 9% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and 1% fat. A 100 gram (31 /2oz) reference supplies 45 calories.”
Furthermore, dandelions are easy to procure. Dandelions are also inexpensive if you decide to buy them.
Dandelions are Rich in Vitamins A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K
Vitamins are food nutrients that are needed in small quantities for the proper growth and maintenance of an animal.
Dandelions contain considerable amounts of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is crucial for the growth and maintenance of good eyesight in all animals, including pigs. Furthermore, excessive exposure of your pigs’ eyes to sunlight affects their vision negatively. Therefore, if your pigs spend most of their days outside (under sunlight), you should consider adding dandelions to their diets. This will make sure that their eyes are well protected from damage.
Recent studies have also shown that vitamin A can improve the reproductive health of pigs. A deficiency of vitamin A has generally shown poor vision, reproductive failures, slow growth, and incoordination, amongst others, in pigs.
Dandelions are rich in vitamin C.
As earlier mentioned, dandelions are very rich in vitamin C. Although pigs can synthesize vitamin C from glucose, you need to include it in the diet of your pigs. Vitamin C plays the following roles in the health of pigs:
- Improvement of reproduction.
- Maintain the health of cells.
- Mineral absorption from the diet.
- Formation of collagen.
- Wound healing.
A deficiency of vitamin C in animals is associated with scurvy. Therefore, consider feeding dandelions to your pigs if they show the symptoms of scurvy.
Dandelions are rich in vitamin K.
Vitamin K is needed to initiate and complete blood clotting mechanisms in the event of injury to your pigs. Therefore, if you find your pigs bleeding too frequently, consider adding dandelions to their diets.
Dandelions are Good Sources of some Minerals
Dandelions are rich in minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese.
- Calcium: required for proper skeletal and muscular development. It is also needed for blood clotting.
- Iron: required for the production of hemoglobin and myoglobin.
- Potassium: maintains water and acid balance in animals. It also controls and maintains normal heart rate and nerve-muscle function.
Dandelions are Rich in Dietary Fiber
The dietary fiber in dandelions aids digestion in pigs. They also help to prevent digestive disorders like constipation. Generally, dietary fibers improve the gut health of your pigs.
Dandelions are rich in antioxidants
All living things contain free radicals in their bodies. Free radicals are simply harmful substances that are produced as by-products of normal biochemical reactions. Antioxidants in dandelions help your pigs eliminate these harmful radicals.
What Parts of Dandelion Plants are Edible?
Your pigs can eat all parts of the dandelion plant, even the roots! Cool, right? The leaves, stems, and branches are all nutritional to your pig. Furthermore, the stem contains a liquid that is tasty to your pigs. As a result, the vegetable becomes more appealing.
Dandelions and Teething
Another use of dandelions in pig farming is the area of teething in the piglets. The stem of the dandelion plant is a bit rigid. Thus, the stem of the plant can be given to teething pigs to chew on. This helps them overcome the process with less difficulty.
Flowers of Dandelion Plants
Dandelion flowers are usually yellow and/or white. The bright color of the flowers of the dandelion attracts pigs to them. Hence, making the pigs want to eat more and more of these plants.
On the other hand, the flowers of the dandelion plant can be added to other pig feeds to make them more attractive to the pigs.
HOW SHOULD YOU FEED DANDELIONS TO YOUR PIGS?
Well, you can feed your pigs with both cooked and raw dandelions. Any of them will do just fine. The main concerns arise from where you get the dandelions!
As earlier mentioned, most people see dandelions as just weeds. Therefore, dandelion plants are prone to be contaminated with pesticides that may have been sprayed by those that regard dandelions as weeds. Keeping that in mind, you must pay close attention to the kind of dandelions that your pigs consume, especially if they eat them freely in a field.
HOW MANY DANDELIONS SHOULD YOU FEED TO YOUR PIGS?
Well, just like other vegetables, dandelions should be given to your pigs in small quantities. It is also advised that you feed your pigs other vegetables alongside the dandelions. This will ensure that your pigs are nourished with a balanced diet at all times.
At this juncture, you are already familiar with the health benefits of feeding dandelions to your pigs. It is advisable to keep the ratio of dandelions that you feed to your pigs small. This will ensure that they are not overfeeding them with the vegetable. Also, if you notice unusual changes in your pig’s attitude while introducing dandelions to them, report such changes to your veterinary doctor with an immediate effect.