Pigs shouldn’t eat coffee grounds, though the substance isn’t lethal to hogs.
I have researched the topic thoroughly, reading scientific studies and dedicated research papers to determine the value of coffee grounds in a pig’s diet.
Though you may be tempted to fill out your porcine pal’s feed with coffee grounds, this article explains why you should resist the urge.
Why Pigs Should Avoid Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds provide no nutritional value for pigs. Swine are prolific eaters, likely to devour any edible thing.
However, their diet should be made of foods that give them nutrients.
Many people have spent coffee grounds and assume that pigs, not renowned for being picky eaters, will gladly chew through them.
The substance seems an excellent way to pad a feed mix and prevent waste.
Remember, pigs exist in the wild. These creatures evolved to find their food and live their best lives when they follow a diet near that of their wilder ancestors.
Wild hogs don’t eat coffee grounds because they don’t exist in nature. Your pig shouldn’t either.
Pigs have very similar digestive systems to humans and require similar nutrition to survive and flourish.
However, a human might enjoy coffee for the extra energy to start their Monday morning right.
Pigs gain their energy primarily from carbohydrates. The caffeine in coffee beans only makes hogs jittery and anxious.
Some feed coffee grounds to pigs to cancel out the smell of their feces and repulse flies.
A small number of coffee grounds won’t hurt your pig. If your curious porcine pal sneaks a snoutful, they’ll survive.
However, there’s no nutritional benefit to intentionally feeding your pig coffee grounds. In fact, too great a quantity causes health risks.
Health Risks of Pigs Ingesting Coffee Grounds
Ingesting coffee grounds isn’t fatal to pigs but does cause a slew of health issues. The caffeine in coffee grounds messes with a pig’s reproduction and can trigger porcine stress syndrome (PCS).
Some pigs are predisposed to porcine stress syndrome. The illness is genetic, so your porky pal is either born with it or not.
While coffee doesn’t actively cause the condition, stress and excitement activate the disease. Coffee contains caffeine, a substance that creates energy.
Porcine stress syndrome presents as:
- Tail tremors
- Back and leg muscle tremors
- Rigid muscles
- The inability to walk
- Trouble breathing
- Dermal hyperemia
- Heart failure
Excess caffeine can give your pig seizures, and irregular heartbeats can keep them from sleeping and make them agitated.
Pigs are omnivorous. You can’t rely on them not to eat coffee grounds for themselves, though the taste does seem to repulse them.
While some pig owners mix coffee grounds into their hog’s feed, the substance turns pigs off for the rest of the meal.
They don’t enjoy the flavor and want to avoid eating it, so they don’t eat anything contaminated with the taste.
This means your pigs eat less than the calories they need to maintain their size. Pigs getting insufficient nutrition will be tired, listless, and underweight.
According to a 1973 Kansas State University study, 10 percent coffee grounds added to a pig’s diet slowed its growth rate.
The grounds taste harmful to the swine, so when mixed into the pig’s food, it makes the porker not want to eat.
Healthy Pig Nutrition Guidelines
Pigs are monogastric, or single-stomached, like us. The porcine creatures need many of the same fundamental nutritional elements humans do to survive and thrive.
The nutrition pigs need to grow and be healthy includes:
- Water: hydration is essential to a pig’s well-being. Hogs need a 2:1 ratio of water to food. Again mirroring human needs, insufficiently hydrated pigs suffer many health complications. Their bodies require the wet stuff to maintain a good appetite and to keep all the correct systems running correctly.
- Carbohydrates: primarily in grains like corn, barley, wheat, and oats. These foods give a pig the energy necessary to snort through his day.
- Fat: a reasonable amount of fat provides a pig with extra energy and helps them grow to its full potential. Too much fat in a porcine diet leads to health risks and complications, but when served in moderation, the nutrient is invaluable.
- Protein: Pigs receive most of the proteins they need in their feed. These food mixes contain fishmeal, bone meal, cottonseed meal, and soybean meal, all of which contribute protein. Pigs need the amino acids that protein contains to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Minerals: pigs thrive on carefully monitored levels of certain minerals, including calcium, sodium, chloride, zinc, copper, iron, and iodine.
Foods That Are Toxic to Pigs
While generally speaking, pig diets and digestive abilities function similarly to ours, certain foods we can manage and enjoy are detrimental to our porcine friends.
Foods hazardous to swine include:
- Nutmeg: the seasoning causes gastrointestinal distress.
- Chocolate: While not lethal, as it is to dogs, pigs struggle to digest the delicious treat.
- Bones: pigs may enjoy chewing the flavor from a bone. Once ingested. However, bones can scratch and tear porcine insides.
- Sweet foods: Again, pigs should maintain a diet close to nature, and sugary, processed foods deviate from that plan. The treats add no nutritional value to a pig’s day and often cause obesity.
The Bottom Line
Pigs can and will eat most things put in front of them. Their lack of discernment can cause health problems, however.
Coffee grounds serve no nutritional value to swine and can hinder their growth.
Pigs don’t like the taste of coffee grounds and will actively avoid eating feed the substance is mixed into.
Adding the grounds to your porcine friend’s meal makes them less likely to ingest critical nutrients and the calories necessary for healthy growth.
Stick to feeding your swine only the food that carries essential nutrients that ensure health and growth.
Don’t panic if your pig eats some coffee grounds; they’re not lethal.
However, avoid feeding the substance to your swine; it provides no value and can damage your pig’s long-term health.