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What do pigs eat?

Pigs are very clean animals but the farmer must still muck out their sheds regularly. A clean shed means good hygiene levels. So there is less risk of ill health and sickness amongst the pigs.

Farmers feed their pig's special meal, made mostly from cereals such as wheat, barley and oats which supplies them with energy. High-quality healthy food means healthy pigs. The amount of food a pig gets depends on their age and size. A farmer can tell if a pig is happy and healthy or sad and ill, simply by inspecting them. A happy, healthy pig will be sociable with other pigs and will race to the trough at mealtimes.

As pregnant sows prepare for birth, the farmer must watch her very closely to ensure that she and her piglets are safe. A sow will normally have about 12 piglets but sometimes she can have more! Good hygiene helps to prevent sickness. So the farmer cleans and disinfects the farrowing shed before the sow moves in.

 Pregnant sows are kept comfortable in the farrowing shed and are not disturbed by other pigs on the farm. As soon as new piglets are born, they will walk over to one of the teats on their mother's stomach and start drinking milk.

Piglets need to be kept warm so a heat lamp is put into the farrowing shed (Family Farm). 

Employment in the pig sector accounts for at least 1,300 labour units on farms, with the total number employed in associated sectors such as pig meat processing, feed manufacture, haulage and services being estimated at 8,300. There are an estimated 290 commercial sow herds in Ireland and the June 2019 CSO Livestock Survey reported that there are 1.6 million pigs in Ireland, including 143,300 breeding sows.

Breeds of Pigs

Large White

Large White

Are an English breed with a short deep body and erect ears. They have a large litter size of 12-16 and are considered very good mothers to their piglets.



Are a breed that originated in Denmark and are known for their floppy ears. They have a very long body with good conformation.

Other Breeds

Other Breeds

Breeds of pig include Tamworth, Wessex, Gloucester Old Spot and Oxford Sandy and Black.

Pig Anatomy

Pig Cutout
Pig Anatomy

Pork Nutrition

Pork is a great source of high quality protein. All ages need protein to grow and to maintain healthy muscles. 

Lean pork only contains 4% fat! So it is a great meat in order to stay lean. 

Pork is naturally low in salt so whether you are watching your weight, blood pressure or heart health, pork is a great choice.

Lean red meat is one of the best sources of easily absorbed iron which is important for healthy blood to carry oxygen around the body. It also contains zinc and is high in selenium both of which are needed for a healthy immune system.  

Pork contains all eight of the B group Vitamins needed for a healthy body, especially for energy metabolism and brain function. It is also a source of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin

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