Like humans and other animals, pigs need milk early on in life. Owing to large litter size and increased competition for sow milk, not many piglets get enough milk for growth.
Pigs are given milk during the early stages of development for them to gain weight and get proper nutrition. Piglets drink milk for the first five weeks and then happily feed on pig chow.
Though milk is healthy for the pigs, there are many things that should be considered before feeding them milk, especially if the sow milk availability is limited.
Can Pigs Drink milk?
When they are raised, pigs need milk for growth and energy. Piglets are fed sow milk which is tailor-made for them regarding nutrition and physical health.
Oftentimes, sow’s milk is insufficient as they can not store milk like cows and other animals.
Therefore, pigs are often served milk from other animals to compensate for the shortage of sow’s milk.
Some clever pig keepers milk the sows, store them in bags, and freeze them to use later in their regular diet.
Luckily, pigs can drink the milk of other animals like cows and goats.
Milk from other animals should be given in a moderate amount supplementary to the sow’s milk. As per anecdotal evidence, dairy makes the pig meat tender.
Cow milk has an abundance of protein and is also readily available, therefore, it seems productive to feed them bovine milk.
Though pigs can drink cow milk, it is not entirely advisable as cow milk contains a lot of fat. Pigs gain weight easily, therefore, it is not really recommended.
Due to the different percentages of proteins and other components, it could lead to diarrhea when fed in high quantities. Also, the nutritional content does not match that of sow’s milk.
Some farmers after making cheese from cow milk feed the whey to the pigs, which has a lower fat content and more protein. Learn Can Pigs Eat Pumpkin?
What Kind of Milk is Best For Pigs?
Though pigs can drink any type of milk, it is the question of whether they should. They prefer drinking goat milk, either fresh, canned, or powdered.
After 24-48 hours of receiving colostrum or colostrum replacement, pigs can drink raw goat milk.
It is said to be the best substitute and a good milk replacer for pigs. Even after the weaning stage, it can also be integrated into the pigs’ milk-based solid diet.
Pigs love the combo of goat milk with regular unmedicated corn/soybean ration.
Goat milk stacks up favorably against cow’s milk owing to the high protein and calcium levels. It can be fed to the orphaned piglets and is better for their health as compared to milk from other animals.
Skim Milk For Pigs
There are a lot of pros and cons of feedback skim milk to the pigs. Firstly, talking about the pros, skim milk is rich in high-quality protein, easily digestible carbohydrates, and B group vitamins.
Being a great source of protein in monogastric animals, the diet of post-weaning piglets constitutes 10-25% skim milk powder.
Monitor and moderate the amount of skim milk given to the pigs.
Skim milk is valuable for the pigs but it should be given complementary to other food items for proper nutrition.
It is expensive, lacks some essential minerals, and the casein fraction of skim milk is known to inhibit growth. Learn Can Pigs Eat Bacon?
Importance of Milk For The Pigs
No one can deny the importance and value of milk, it is also helpful to pigs to stimulate growth and development.
- Increasing Survival Rate – After weaning, piglets experience low feed intake and diminished growth. The inclusion of milk products in the piglet diets is credited for acceptability and palatability due to the familiar smell and taste.
- Nutrition – Milk is loaded with macronutrients (butterfat, casein, whey proteins, and lactose) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, immunoglobulins, and enzymes).
- Lactose – Owing to the excessive production of lactase in infant mammals, lactose is easily digested and increases the palatability of food.
- Protein – Milk has highly digestible protein and essential amino acids to contribute to the growth and well-being of the pigs.
Milk plays an essential role in piglet development as well as provides nutritional and immunological protection. The inclusion of dairy products provides valuable and readily digestible nutrients.