If you are raising pigs, you may be wondering if you can feed them table scraps, and what kind of foods you can feed them.
Almost every kind of food!
However, some foods, such as bread and sweets, should be fed to pigs in moderation. Others, such as meat, should be avoided.
There are many benefits to being able to feed pigs table scraps, but if you want to keep your animals healthy, you must be prudent in doing so.
Here are some tips on giving pigs table scraps. With a little attention to detail, you can avoid most problems and reap all the benefits of these barnyard recyclers!
- 1 Can I Give My Pigs Table Scraps?
- 2 Considerations When Feeding Pigs Table Scraps
- 3 Alternatives to Feeding Table Scraps to Pigs
- 4 Keep your pigs healthy!
Can I Give My Pigs Table Scraps?
technically, you can do give anything to your pigs – the question really should be whether you needed,
There are a few benefits to feeding pigs table scraps.
For one, pigs are omnivores. Like us, they can eat a wide variety of foods and have the ability to digest almost anything.
Because of this, as long as the right kinds of foods are selected, feeding them table scraps from your kitchen can cut your overall feed bill and improve the health of your pigs.
In the end, feeding table scraps to pigs can dramatically reduce your overall spending and the amount of food your household and farm produce.
However, there are also several potential drawbacks – which I will address in more detail in the section below.
Considerations When Feeding Pigs Table Scraps
If you are thinking about using your pigs as a camouflage garbage disposal, you may need to consider these tips first.
1. Don’t Feed Meat
Meat is extremely problematic for pigs, which is why most producers choose not to feed meat at all.
One of the biggest issues is that meat products can be easily contaminated with diseases during and after slaughter. If you plan to feed meat to your pigs, it should be kept at a really high temperature (212°F or higher) for 30 minutes or more.
Most people probably aren’t going to do that.
Pigs are so close to humans in their biology and virology that it is very easy for diseases to spread to humans. Pork is extremely problematic. It is somewhat standard practice among some farmers to feed dead pigs to adult pigs in a process known as “feedback”.
It is believed to be E. coli and rotavirus, but this has not been confirmed.
What’s more, feeding pork to pork has been linked to outbreaks of other diseases, including parasites that cause diseases like trichinosis.
We all remember the outbreak of mad cow disease – which keeps cows back due to cow feeding. It’s best to avoid these problematic diseases by staying away from cannibalism on the farm, don’t you think?
2. Risk of spreading disease
One of the biggest challenges with feeding table scraps to pigs is that it presents the potential for spreading diseases back to humans (as well as among the herd of pigs).
These diseases often come from contaminated meat products, but this is not the case. Even if you don’t eat meat, other foods can spread disease like eggs.
You may be inclined to feed your pig all the leftovers you want out of your refrigerator. Most of the time it is fine. However, whenever you feed them moldy, sticky or poisonous food, you run the risk of making them (and yourself) sick.
Avoid things like random yard waste with toxic or chemically treated weeds, wood and paper products, and seriously perishable food.
If it makes you sick, it can also make your pigs sick. Diseases commonly spread by table scraps include African swine fever and again, Trichinella.
3. Not Nutritious Enough
Pigs can eat everything we can, but that doesn’t mean they should. Sure, we can eat a Big Mac a day for the rest of our lives, but our overall health won’t be that great.
Pigs, especially those raised for meat, have specific needs to grow effectively. High protein and high lysine, as well as high energy through carbohydrates, are all important variables. Using a premixed ration is the best way to feed your pigs.
When feeding table scraps to pigs, it is important that you do not do so as the only component of their diet.
4. Poor appetite
Feeding pigs too many table scraps can lead to serious malnutrition problems.
They may prefer to eat the cheese, bread, and chicken that you are giving them all the time instead of their feed ration (won’t you?) Because of this, they may not be getting essential nutrients and calories needed for good growth. .
If you choose to feed table scraps, do so sparingly. Only treat them occasionally and don’t spoil them too much.
Another problem with feeding table scraps is that it isn’t always legal to do so. There are 48 states that regulate the feeding of junk to animals. In Alabama, you cannot feed food waste to pigs.
According to the Federal Swine Health Protection Act, all animal products must be heated to a boil and kept there for 30 minutes by someone with a waste treatment permit.
This law does not cover food products grown on site, so you can legally feed your pork if it is produced there. However, for the reasons mentioned above, it is still not a good idea.
Contact your local cooperative extension to find out what laws are in place where you live. Many of these laws only apply to pork producers who plan to sell meat to customers (instead of raising pork for their consumption) but they can still provide helpful guidelines.
Alternatives to Feeding Table Scraps to Pigs
Don’t lose hope if you were thinking about feeding your pigs table scraps, but are now thinking that it might not be such a great idea. There are many options to consider.
1. Plans for Table Scraps
Have a lot of table scraps to get rid of? Maybe it’s the day after Thanksgiving or you just cleaned out your freezer.
You are feeding your pigs anything that doesn’t contain meat and is a decent overall quality. Some foods you can also donate to local food shelves for the pantry.
Chickens can eat a variety of table scraps and are safer to eat meat and fish than pigs. Just keep in mind that too much of the same type of food has the potential to affect the taste of their eggs.
For some types of food waste, composting is also an option. Almost anything – except meat and fat – can be composted.
2. Schemes for Pigs
In general, food scraps that are considered “pre-consumer waste,” such as weeds, fruits and vegetables, and cheese you haven’t touched yet, are safe to feed to pigs. Plate scrapings can be contaminated with human disease, so it’s a good idea to discard these.
If you want to save money when feeding your pigs, consider these tips. Raising pigs on pasture can help them forage on their own for more of their nutrients and can cut your costs. Similarly effective is growing and producing some ready-made feeds of its own.
You just need to be creative!
Keep your pigs healthy!
The best rule to follow when feeding table scraps to your pigs?
Don’t feed them anything you wouldn’t eat yourself. Most of the muscles in pigs are similar to those of humans and have a nearly identical digestive system.
While we often think of pigs as the ultimate garbage disposal, you should take care of your small disposal so that they don’t get sick—and make you sick, too.