Pigs grow fast!

Pigs Grow Fast…Naturally

So, a big part of my job, at the Ohio Pork Council, is managing the Ohio Hog Farmers Facebook page. Yep, there’s a real life human person behind a pig association’s social media efforts…shocking, eh?

Needless to say, we get all kinds of interesting, sometimes unusual, questions, comments and statements via social media. A comment we’ve gotten recently is:

“Amazing how fast pigs grow when force-fed growth hormones.”

Pigs grow fast!

Pigs grow fast!

Frankly, farmers feed their pigs growth hormones about as often as your mother fed you parts off a Volkswagen when you were growing up.

The truth is, added growth hormones are not permitted in growing pigs.

Most pigs eat a diet that consists primarily of ground up corn and soybeans, with some trace vitamins and minerals added.

All living things contain hormones, therefore any meat, milk, vegetable, etc. you consume would contain certain amounts of hormone. What many people are actually concerned about are added hormones, or what does not exist in the food naturally. Added hormones are not permitted for use in growing pigs. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork unless it is followed by the statement “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

The follow-up statement to this is usually:

” Well, what about antibiotics? Antibiotics are forced upon animals to make them grow. Right?”

Antibiotics are very expensive, so farmers would be going backward if they gave antibiotics frivolously. Just like in human medicine, antibiotics are only given to pigs that are sick or at risk of becoming sick. Farmers work closely with veterinarians to make sure they are properly caring for their animals and that any animal that is sick is medicated appropriately. Also, strict guidelines are in place to ensure that animals treated with antibiotics are kept out of the food system until those medications have left their system.  It’s a fact that healthy animals grow better than sick animals, just the same as people, so keeping their animals healthy allows farmers to ensure their animals are going to thrive.

Pigs grow fast, naturally.

Until next time,

About Quinton

Hi! I’m Quinton, director of communications for the Ohio Pork Council….probably better known as the voice of the Ohio Hog Farmers Facebook page. I’m way into Pigs, Cows, Cameras and Food!

11 thoughts on “Pigs Grow Fast…Naturally

  1. Do any of the 4H kids feed any hormones? Does some feed called Palean or Perlean I don’t know feed have any hormones?

    Thanks Jo hoffman
    H and h farm

    1. Hey Jo –

      Excellent questions!

      Hormones are not permitted for use in growing pigs. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by the statement “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

      Paylean is a feed ingredient for increased rate of weight gain, improved feed efficiency and increased carcass leanness in finishing swine. Paylean does not affect meat quality, and it maintains the desirable pork qualities of flavor, tenderness and juiciness. Meat from Paylean-fed pigs can be exported to leading U.S. markets, and Paylean is approved for use in 26 countries.

      Hope this helps!

  2. What about pigs or other animals for that matter that are raised in confinement and never see the light of day, much less a large lot/pasture to “roam” in, how healthy is this type of environment ~ physically and socially/emotionally?? Please understand I was raised on a farm in the mid-west. My family still farms the same farm (plus more) my grandfather farmed ~ yes, 3 generations and beginnings of a 4th. Our animals, pigs, chickens, cows (dairy), steers, cats and dogs all roamed freely, except in the winter when they, voluntarily could seek the shelter of a barn or shed ~ with the exception of the chick who resided in the chicken “coop” until they were old enough to explore the larger world! I find the confinement of the mega-farms to be inhumane. Thoughts?
    (No, I am not a member nor a PETA fan ~ however, they too have some good points!)
    Farm Girl at heart, “city-slicker” by career.

    1. Hey Jean – Sorry, not sure how this slipped through the cracks for so long :-(

      Farms come in many different shapes and sizes, but what remains constant is the importance of animal care. Some farmers raise pigs outside and others raise pigs inside barns. Barns are one tool that farmers can use to help care for their pigs. Modern barns help farmers keep their pigs warm in the winter and cool in the summer, provide access to clean water and fresh feed, and keep them safe from extreme weather and predators. For a farmer, animal care is top priority.

      Check this out…


  3. Hello Quinton. I am Daniel Shember from Nigeria. I am planning to establish a small pig farm of about 10 sows. In my locality, farmers produce soybeans, cassava roots chips, red and white corn among other food stuff. Pls, give me an idea of good pig feed formula containing the above mentioned food stuff. Thank you.

  4. Hello Quinton glad peace is at his post. Am a pig farmer of about a year plus now, reside in nigeria but trying to learn more about pigs

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