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Author Topic: Does all commercial pig food have copper in it?  (Read 1177 times)


  • Joined Apr 2011
Does all commercial pig food have copper in it?
« on: August 14, 2012, 03:22:53 pm »
I've posted a thread on the sheep site about putting sheep on to the field where the pigs have been, but my concern is about copper content.
Does anyone know if all commercial pig food contains copper?
The manufacturer- Dodson and Horrell -tells me that pot bellied pig feed contains less copper than sow and weaner pellets, but still not sure if that would be safe.
Their advice is not to put sheep on the pig field, but in real life people must rotate at some stage.
Thanks, Joanne


  • Joined Nov 2009
  • East Sussex
    • OaklandsPigs
Re: Does all commercial pig food have copper in it?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 06:37:27 pm »
I would not worry, we graze sheep in fields that have had pigs in them all the time.
Copper is essential for life.

Sheep need 5mg per kg of copper in their diet. Levels above 25 can cause problems - symptoms are that sheep go lethargic, drink lots and grind teeth. Untreated death can occur. A drench from the vet can cure/aid recovery if promptly administered.

Levels of copper can be higher in pig grower feeds, as it can aid growth performance. Of 5 labels we have from different feeds we have used over the years, one shows 17mg per kg, two 25mg (inc one grower), and one grower 171mg!

Feeding any of these daily directly to sheep would be likley to create a problem!

However any residuals in the soil should be slight - pigs need copper because they use copper, and as they grow and go to slaughter they will take much of it with them, not leave it in the soil.

Sheep don't eat soil, so this copper would need to transfer from the soil into the grass at a rate above 25mg per KG of grass, which I would be highly doubtful would happen.
Have just read you sheep thread about these being highland things, ours are lowland, but am still sceptical that grass would soak up sufficient levels to be of concern.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 06:44:16 pm by oaklandspigs »
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  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Does all commercial pig food have copper in it?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 06:48:53 pm »
What a brilliant reply! Thank you.
I've been looking online but it seems a complicated issue.
Even our feed bag doesn't tell us how much copper is in it, so that has been very helpful xxxx

Mr Pig

  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Does all commercial pig food have copper in it?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2012, 07:34:48 am »
Copper is a growth promoter in pigs and there were proposals a few years ago that the EU was going to ban it but I haven't heard anything further lately so it may quietly have been kicked into touch. Somebody at BPEX ought to know the actual situation though.

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Does all commercial pig food have copper in it?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2012, 08:36:36 pm »
had a look at the labels 25mg of copper sulphate per kilo of feed :farmer:


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