Do Pigs Eat Pine Cones? Is It Safe?

Pigs don’t eat pine cones because they are able to distinguish edible from inedible food due to their excellent sense of smell. Also, the brown scaly layer of pine cones isn’t as appetizing as their regular source of food such as hay, corn as well as juicy fruits, or fresh vegetables.

I took my fourth-grade students to a neighborhood farm so they could learn about the food habits of farm animals like goats, pigs, and chickens.

Naturally, children are curious and ask me about pigs’ eating habits. The common assumption is that pigs can eat almost everything, but as I found out that wasn’t the case with those brown cones.

Can pigs be given pine cones to eat?

Pine cones are not suitable food for pigs. Although pigs are opportunistic omnivores, you will find that even in the wild, pigs avoid eating pine cones.

They can eat several fruits that fall from trees, like oranges and apples, but pine cones that fall from the conifer trees are not suitable food for pigs.

This is because pigs have an excellent sense of smell and can easily differentiate between edible and inedible food.

Therefore, pine cones usually fall among the inedible food, even for pigs.

pig eating 01102022

Can pine cones be used as bait to attract pigs?

Not really, because pine cones are not suitable food for pigs. In the wild, pigs avoid eating pine cones, and pigs bred in captivity should not be given pine cones.

If you are looking for suitable bait for pigs, you should consider using shelled corn. This has been known to draw wild pigs out of their hideouts.

You can also use dog food to attract pigs. Pigs have an excellent sense of smell, and hence, dog food that is meaty flavored, corn, or cheese-based is the best to attract pigs.

Are pigs known to collect pine cones?

The behavior of pigs is quite different from that of other animals that eat pine cones.

Fruit pigs are nocturnal, and they tend to live in burrows and among tall grasses.

Even if they live in burrows, they tend to avoid collecting food and taking these to their burrows to eat.

Hence, there is no evidence of pigs collecting pine cones and taking these to their burrows like other critters.

Can pigs get ill if they inadvertently consume pine cones?

This vegetation does not fall under the usual food consumed by pigs for two reasons.

First, pigs eat food that is available on the ground, and pine trees are pretty tall, making it almost impossible for pigs to reach the leaves.

Secondly, pigs avoid pine cones that fall on the ground because of the needles.

Nevertheless, if a pig consumes a broken pine cone or eats the pine nuts inside the cone, it will not cause any harm to the creature.

Are all species of pines dangerous to pigs?

According to, at least 20 pines are known to be toxic to livestock.

The Norfolk Island Pine and the Yew Pine are especially harmful because these are usually found in homes.

The Norfolk Island Pines can be grown indoors and are often used as decorative plants.

However, these pines can be pretty dangerous to pigs, and if the animal consumes the leaves or the cones of these plants, it can lead to diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

In some extreme cases, these pines have also resulted in toxic shock in pigs. Thus, most pines are harmful to pigs, while certain species are dangerous.

Can the Christmas tree become a holiday treat to the pigs on a farm?

It is best to avoid giving the Christmas tree as a holiday treat to the pigs on your farm. Once the holiday season is over, you might wonder what you can do with the tree.

First, you should discard it along with the pine cones.

The leaves on the tree and the cones can become quite hard over time, and even if you chop these into small pieces, they will remain inedible for the pigs.

Therefore, it would be wrong to assume that pigs can eat anything, including parts of the Christmas tree.

Why you should avoid decorating the pig pen with pine cones?

Pigs bred on farms do not have the instincts of survival that the animal develops when it roams freely in the wild.

At the same time, the animal retains its natural curiosity, and the pigs in the pen might try to eat the pines you have used to decorate.

This can prove dangerous as the pine cones used for decorations can have toxic chemicals, colors, and other ingredients.

As a result, the pigs can fall ill, so you should avoid using pine cones to decorate pig pens.

Can pigs eat pine seeds?

Farmers are often known to include pine seeds in pigs’ diets, especially when they want to raise the pigs for leaner pork.

Pine seeds are full of nutrients like vitamins and minerals that can help the animals build healthy bones and robust immune systems.

When you give pine seeds to pigs, you must ensure that the nuts are unsalted and completely organic.

Another thing to remember is that the pigs cannot extract the seeds from the cones.

You will have to remove the pine cones’ seeds and give them to the pigs. You can also mix the seeds among the swill you give to the pigs to make it easier for the creature to consume the pine seeds.

Do farmers take pigs out to graze among the pine forest?

Raising pigs near forested regions is a good idea, but taking them out to graze near pine forests is unnecessary.

The primary reason is that pine leaves and needles are not suitable food for the pigs.

In addition, the pine cones that fall from the trees are also inedible for the pigs.

However, pigs can be taken for grazing in forested regions as this can help them find different roots, nuts, and insects to meet their nutritional requirements.

Is there any animal that likes eating pine cones?

Yes, there are quite a few animals that like pine cones, you can check out that article for more information.

Unlike pigs, squirrels love pine cones. They are known to collect pine cones and take them to their nests.

Squirrels love pine cones and often find cones stripped off their scales at the foot of the trees. This indicates squirrels have been eating pine seeds inside the cones.

Hamlett The Piggy – The Do’s & Don’ts of a Pig’s Diet

Scroll to Top