To answer the question in a single word, yes, pigs eat their own poop. Not just their own poop, either. Pigs will eat the poop of just about any creature if they’re hungry enough. It might seem gross to us, but to a pig, this is relatively normal. They aren’t the only creatures who eat their poop; they just got the spotlight because they’re often associated with dirty, smelly habits, and this habit is the pinnacle for some people. Keep on reading to find out why pigs eat their poop!

new pig divider

Pig Digestion

Eating one’s own feces is common in the animal kingdom and has a biological basis in digestion. Almost everyone has been in a situation, at least once, where they’ve passed seemingly undigested food. Corn is a common culprit of this for humans.

Pigs experience this as well, and the only difference is that they’ll re-consume the food to give their stomachs a second chance to digest the feed. Since their stomach acids may have already partially broken down the undigested material, a second pass through the digestive tract can allow them to extract nutrients they didn’t get the first time.

Another reason that pigs might be found eating their feces is that they’re hungry. It doesn’t get much deeper than that. If you find it offensive, consider feeding your pig more to see if they’re being underfed. A pig whose stomach is full won’t go for a pile of poop; it’s not their preferred food. If they have other options available, that will be the first thing they eat.

pig eating
Image Credit: Piqsels

Do Pigs Like Eating Feces?

We can only assume so since they do it readily when hungry. It may not be their favorite food in the world, but they will do so without hesitation or complaint. Many animals would refuse to do so. We can assume they either like it or are compelled to do it for nutritional benefits.

That being said, they won’t beg for it or try to prevent you from cleaning up their pens. It’s an option they’ll take if they have nothing else, but, again, it’s not their first choice.

pig looking for food
Image Credit: Piqsels

Is It Okay for Pigs to Eat Feces?

It’s probably safe to say that pigs have been eating feces since they first arrived on this Earth. They’re not the only ones who do it; so, it’s not like they’ve developed anything

It’s safe for them to eat their feces and even the feces of other animals. However, feces should not be a large portion of their diet. While eating feces does provide some nutritional benefits, it’s no replacement for actual food.

You don’t have to worry if you see your pig chowing down on some doody, but you shouldn’t be shoveling it into their pen, either.

pig sows in factory farm
Image Credit: Saraí Zuno, Pexels

Pigs Aren’t the Only Animals Who Eat Poop

While pigs are the ones who get the worst rap sheet for it, there are plenty of other animals who eat poop for nutritional reasons. For instance, guinea pigs and rabbits produce what’s called cecotropes or night poop. Night poop has specific dietary benefits that can be gained when consumed.

Dogs can be trained not to eat their poop, but plenty of them seem to come with a hardwired desire to consume their excrement. Dung beetles and chimps have also been observed eating their poop. This behavior is usually tied to an attempt to get nutrients from undigested food materials.

guinea pig eating rabbit food
Image Credit: mujijoa79, Shutterstock

Other Pig Poop Facts

Pigs eat a ton, and it shows because they poop about three times a day. Pigs will usually poop in the same place in their pen. In extensive farming situations, they prefer to poop far away from their feed areas. In intensive farming situations, pigs will generally poop near a water source.

Unlike other animals who have very consistent poop habits, so much so that you can determine their health by the consistency of their poop, pig poop can come in various colors, densities, and textures without being unhealthy.

The color and consistency of a pig’s poop will be determined by what they’ve eaten, and pigs eat a wide variety of things. Green, yellow, gray, and white are all perfectly healthy colors for your pig to poop out.

Also See: How Many Pigs Are There? (US & Worldwide Statistics)

pig on the grass
Image Credit: acceptphoto, Shutterstock

new pig divider

Final Thoughts

While eating poop is objectionable to most people, pigs don’t follow the same rules we do, and it would be unfair to try to hold them to the same standards. If you can’t stomach the idea that pigs eat their poop, see if you can get them to stop by increasing the amount of regular feed they get; their nutritional needs are better fulfilled by actual feed.

If it doesn’t disgust you and you were just concerned for your pig’s health, rest assured that it’s perfectly safe for pigs to consume their feces. It’s not a sign of any underlying health issues; it’s just a part of nature!

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels