The Importance of Minerals in Your Pastured Pigs' Diet

| 1/11/2016 9:13:00 AM

Tags: heritage livestock, pigs, raising livestock, livestock breeds, Jodi Cronauer, Wisconsin,


Have you ever looked out in the field and thought, “Wow – look at how glossy and shiny those animals look?” That is a great indicator of good nutrition in the animal’s diet. You can give animals all of the feed they could ask for, but if there is no nutritional value to it they will not flourish.

We raise Idaho Pasture Pigs and Kunekune pigs, but most of this information applies to all breeds of pasture pigs.

All of our pigs are out on pasture all year round. They get alfalfa/grass/clover hay in the winter months as well as eating grass all summer long. Some people will assume that because they have ample grass or hay that their diet is complete. That is not the case!  If the ground is deficient in minerals or vitamins, then the grass or hay growing on it will also be deficient. The same thing applies to vegetables or fruit grown in that ground.

We have heard people say, “It’s only a trace mineral. How important can it be?” The answer to that is VERY important if you want to have healthy animals. The problems that arise in pigs with a mineral deficiency will be varied depending on the mineral/vitamin with the deficiency as well as the degree of the deficiency.

Some signs are very easy to see and can range from: dull coat appearance, lethargic behavior, lack of appetite, dull look in the animals eyes, or rooting the ground. Some of the signs are more internal and not as quickly visualized, but are just as important to the health and well-being of the animal.  A good example of this is selenium again. 

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