This blog is about the delicious food that pigs eat. Most of these recipes have been passed down from generation to generation.
Food For Pigs
Foods that contain meat or meat products or that have had contact with meat or meat products may contain viruses that can cause severe disease in pigs, as well as providing an entry point to infect other livestock. Many viruses can survive for extended periods in meat and meat products.
All states and territories in Australia have banned swill feeding to help protect Australia’s biosecurity and enviable health status.
Examples from overseas of how swill feeding can cause disease include:
- The devastating outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001 is thought to have started when pigs were fed waste containing illegally imported meat products carrying the foot-and-mouth disease virus.
- The recent spread of African swine fever throughout Europe, Russia and parts of Asia is believed to have been caused by pigs accessing food waste.
Australia is fortunate to be free of many diseases that could affect our livestock industries and trade. Feeding prohibited feed to pigs is the most likely way exotic diseases could be introduced into Australia’s livestock.
Although Australia has strict quarantine and biosecurity measures to prevent the importation of animal products from countries where these diseases are known to occur, there is still the risk that infected products may reach Australia. This is why it is vital to only feed approved feeds to pigs.
Which foods are illegal to feed to pigs?
It is illegal to feed pigs any foods that contain meat, meat products or any other products from mammals or that may have been in contact with them.
Illegal pig feeds include:
- food scraps and wastes from:
- kitchen scraps
- processors and manufacturers
- food retailers including supermarkets and bakeries
- hotels, restaurants, cafés, fast food outlets, delicatessens, lunch bars
- rubbish dumps
- used cooking oil, unless it has been treated to the required standard
- blood, bones, carcasses from mammals.
If you don’t know whether food has been in contact with meat or meat products, you must not feed it to pigs.
What can I feed my pigs?
Pigs are omnivorous and benefit from a healthy, balanced diet.
A variety of foods are safe to feed pigs and include:
- grains, fruits and vegetables
- formulated commercial pig food
- foods that have been approved for feeding to pigs in Western Australia. These are:
- milk and milk products from Australia or legally imported into Australia for stock feed use only
- commercially manufactured meatmeals and tallow produced according to the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Rendering of Animal Products (AS 5008:2007)
- used cooking oil processed according to the National Standard for Recycling of Used Cooking Fats and Oils Intended for Animal Feeds and where the oil has only been used for cooking in Australia.
How to Feed Pigs
- Start piglets off with a well-balanced pellet feed. Pellet feeds, such as creep feed, come in small, digestible pieces that are the perfect size for young pigs to munch on. These feeds are specially formulated to meet growing pigs’ unique nutritional needs, and typically contain a well-balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals.
- You can find creep feed and other dietary supplements for newborn pigs at farm supply stores.
- Each of your piglets should get about 20g of creep feed per day over one or two feedings.
- 2Feed mature pigs a variety of wholesome grains. As your pigs get older and larger, you can wean them off pellet feed and switch them to natural grains, which will make up the bulk of their diet. Wheat, barley, rice, and corn (both on and off the cob) are among a few of the grains that backyard farmers commonly feed to their pigs.
- Most whole grains are high in carbohydrates, which can cause your pigs to put on fat rather than lean, healthy muscle. For this reason, it’s a good idea to supplement regular grains with protein-rich offerings like alfalfa and soybeans.
- For ease of digestion, the grains you supply to your pigs should be cracked, rolled, soaked, or otherwise processed.
- 3Give your pigs a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Like humans, pigs need to eat their fruits and veggies in order to grow. For the most part, it’s safe for them to have just about any kind of produce you yourself would eat. However, they’re especially partial to leafy vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and sweet potato vine, as well as apples, bananas, pears, melons, and other fruits.
- You can also feed your pigs root crops. Pigs can’t get enough of the hearty crunch of veggies like potatoes, carrots, sugar beets, and parsnips.
- Sweet, colorful produce not only tends to be the tastiest to pigs, it also contains the highest concentrations of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
- Fruits and veggies are more nutrient-rich than other types of foods, so it’s okay for your pigs to have as much as they can hold on top of their regular grain-based diet.
- 4Keep your pigs full with distilling residue. If you brew your own beer or liquor, allow your pigs to feast on the spent mash rather than simply throwing it out. Alcohol is made by fermenting the same types of grains that pigs love to eat. Since these materials have already been softened by the distilling process, they’ll be easy for your pigs to chew and digest.
- In some places, you can purchase spent grains from distilleries for a low price to use for feed.
- Avoid giving mash to pregnant sows or young piglets. Even though it has a low alcohol content, it still isn’t good for them.
- 5Supplement your pigs’ diet with table scraps. Gather up any leftover fruits, vegetables, and grains from your kitchen and combine them in a large container. You can then divide the mixture up between your pigs in place of one of their regular feedings, or serve it up as an extra treat at the end of the day. Giving your pigs your leftovers is a good way to reduce household food waste while cutting down on feed costs.
- Pigs will eat just about anything, but that doesn’t mean that they should. Never feed your pigs processed meat or cheese products, or overly sugary baked goods.
- Keep in mind that what you feed your pigs affects their health and body composition. A diet full of fattening foods will therefore produce pigs with more lard and less lean meat.