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Growing pigs eating at a feeder and chewing on straw.
Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie. -Atrid Alauda  

Vegetarian Diet

Based on diet, mammals fall into three rough groups. Herbivores, like horses and giant pandas, are physically adapted to eat only plant material. Carnivores, like seals and cats, depend on the flesh of other animals for their survival, because they are unable to synthesize certain essential nutrients out of vegetable matter. Omnivores, like humans and pigs, usually eat both animal and plant-based nutrients, but can live off a vegetarian diet.

In the wild, pigs are opportunistic omnivores that primarily eat plant matter, but also worms, insects, eggs, reptiles, ground-nesting birds, small or newborn mammals, and even carrion.

A sow entering an ESF station.   A sow waiting to enter an occupied ESF station.
Gestating sows are fed according to individual needs.   Feeders are designed so the sows don't have to compete.
A clear feed tube, with measurements marked to show quantity consumed.   A farmer demonstrating how sows use a farrowing pen feeder to mix their feed with water.
Clear feed tubes ensure nursing sows have food.   Feeders are designed so the sow can mix her own gruel.
Growing pigs eating together at a feeder.   A rolling cart full of feed, with panel and scoop.
Growing pigs like to eat together like when nursing.   Sick or injured pigs are hand fed and closely monitored.

Their diet is high in fiber and takes a long time to find and consume. Their investigation is focused on objects at ground level, sniffing and rooting with their dexterous snouts.

Like us, pigs have a monogastric, or single-chambered, stomach. Their simple digestive system allows many components of their diet to be transferred directly to their fat and muscle tissues. The saying "you are what you eat" applies quite literally to the pig. What it eats affects the healthiness and flavor of its meat.

Truebridge pigs primarily eat corn and soybeans grown in the fields surrounding them. However, specialized nutritionists work with the farmers and feed mills to make sure that their diet has everything they require during the various phases of their lives.

An important supplement to a pig's diet is fat, which helps provide sufficient energy for growth and milk production. Traditionally, pigs are fed fat derived from other animals (e.g. tallow from cattle or choice white grease from pigs). Being high in saturated fats, animal fat makes the fat of the pigs similarly high in saturated fats.

In contrast, Truebridge feed uses vegetable oils for dietary fat. The fat of pigs that eat vegetable versus animal based fat has a more oily texture and a shorter shelf life. However, there are many benefits.

First, the fat has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fat, making it healthier for humans. Second, rendered fat from animals is not always well regulated, so its quality can be variable. Some fats are blended with restaurant grease, which can be denatured or laden with trans fat, and other times it can be downright rancid. Vegetable oils are much purer and unlikely to be rancid.

Finally, there are food safety reasons. While there is small risk of pigs being fed ingredients contaminated by viruses (e.g. Mad Cow disease) or bacteria (e.g. Salmonella), avoiding animal by-products eliminates this risk altogether.

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