Can pigs eat ANYTHING? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We're raising our first pigs to butcher.We're feeding cracked corn,pig feed and any kitchen scraps we have leftover.

Just to see if they'd eat it,my son threw a 1 lb bass he'd caught out of our lake into the pigpen.They LOVED it.My question is...can the small bones hurt the pigs digestive system?Its been 3 days since they ate the fish,and no ill effects. Just curious.I don't want to hurt them,but our pond is overstocked and it would be a free treat for the pigs if it was ok for them to eat. Any input appreciated.

-- Johna (in central TX) (, April 04, 2002


NOOOOOOO!!!! Pigs can't eat fish ... what you need to do is freeze those fish and ... er ... well ... send them to ME!!!

Okay ... just a joke ;-) ... yes, pigs can and will eat fish, and just about anything else you put in their pen. Should they? Some people say no - others say why not? We feed our pigs a custom ground pig feed from the co-op, table scraps, and all the left- over "cleanin's" from our butchering (rabbits, chickens, ducks, etc.). If your pigs are confined, feeding them anything but the actual pig feed can cause odors (really, bad, nasty ones sometimes), but there's just not much that can really hurt a pig. If they don't like it, they won't eat it.

Reason I know is that I asked this same quesiton about hedge apples when we put our pigs out in a pasture with hedge trees. Didn't want the oinkers to turn up croaked in the pasture! Hope this helps!

-- Phil in KS (, April 04, 2002.

we fed ours everything-might not want to feed them fish for a couple of weeks right before you butcher-read somewhere (don't remember-i read a lot) it might taint the taste-don't know for sure. make sure the pig feed is hormone, etc. free.

-- laura (, April 04, 2002.

It is my understanding the of all common animals the pig is the one with a digestive system most like our own.

-- john hill (, April 04, 2002.

do not forget to castrate the males be for they get to old

-- nick (, April 04, 2002.

I have a friend that had a pet sow,it died from to many egg shells built up in her intestines-thats not conculsive she wasn't already sick. But thats what the vet had said! They are what they eat! We chose not to feed any commercial grain due to the medicine content in it, and other strange ingredients!! Just ground corn, milk, some eggs, garden scraps etc. We never feed meat products!! Except the time acouple got loose and ate some of our chickens!!! I've read you should cook anything you may bring home, from like a restaurant. Some {not all}old timers use to feed everything even road kill!!!

-- Suzanne (, April 04, 2002.

Thanks for all the input...and Phil in Ks,if you ever come down to Tx you're welcome to all the bass you can catch.Serious,the experts at Tx A&M said we need to fish out over 1000 lbs every year to keep our lake healthy.

-- Johna (in central TX) (, April 04, 2002.

I heard about some guy in the midwest who had easy access to a LOT of catfish, which he fed his pigs, which then tasted like fish. But he sold them to processors and they got mixed up with lots of other pigs, so no one could tell whose pigs those were that tasted fishy.

-- Laura Jensen (, April 04, 2002.

Yep, pigs can and will eat just about anything, and thrive on it. However, anything derived from animals ought to be cooked first. Not only does it make it more digestible, but it kills any parasites that are in it. You don't have to be fancy about it - just boil it up in a five-gallon metal bucket, or a fifty gallon one, depending on your scale. If you want to feed whole grains or any really tough vegetation you can cook that at the same time. Often people will empty the container, put water back in it, and leave grain soaking for tomorrow. Once cooked, LET IT COOL DOWN before you give it to them.

I've also heard that you should withdraw any strong-tasting food for a fortnight before slaughter, or the taste will come through in the meat.

-- Don Armstrong (, April 04, 2002.

Suzanne, that's a crock. The vet misinformed your friend. Either the vet was lying, or the vet was incompetent, or there was a misunderstanding. As John said, pigs are similar in many respects to people (Oink!), and their digestive systems, like our's, run on enzymes and hydrochloric acid. STRONG hydrochloric acid. There won't BE any eggshells after they hit the stomach (or fine fish bones either). There'll be gas (carbon dioxide) and it will probably come out as burps, but in any case it will come out. There'll be calcium chloride in solution waiting for absorption. And that's all that's left of the shell (or the bone).

-- Don Armstrong (, April 04, 2002.

As a former employee at Texas A&M's Swine Center Research farm, I think I can clear up a couple of misconceptions:

1. Pigs will eat ALMOST anything, but that doesn't mean they should. I have watched them eat rotten feed, glass, rocks, carcasses, each others tails, their own young, others young, hay twine, bailing wire, my rubber boot, etc., etc., etc.

Back in the days before commercially prepared feeds, even Texas A&M (GO AGGIES!!!) fed "garbage" to the swine herd (leftovers from the campus dining halls) but before it was fed to the hogs, it was BOILED and COOLED.

p.u. (don't ask)

2. Fish is a component of commercially prepared hog feed in the form of "fish meal". It won't "taint" the flavor of the meat unless it is fed in COPIOUS amounts. The bones will NOT hurt their digestive tract. In fact, at Texas A&M, we raised fish in lagoons and housed hogs on slat-floored pens over the lagoons. The hogs droppings "fed" the fish, and when the lagoons were drained, the fish were collected and fed back to the hogs. (Our tax dollars at work.)

3. The best feed for hogs (for optimum health, growth, and reproduction) IS a complete nutritionally balanced commercially prepared feed along with free forage and unlimited fresh water supplies.

4. Meat flavor WILL be adversely affected if you do not castrate the boar pigs. The sooner the better! The best time to castrate piglets is at three days.

5. "Treats" should be fed in addition to balanced nutrition, but not as a substitute.

Hope this helps.

-- Onceapigfarmer... (, April 04, 2002.

Suzanne, like Don said...that's a crock about the eggshells!! We feed our pigs both excess raw eggs and hard boiled eggs...shells and all. Never had a problem in 25 yrs. of raising pigs. Watch the pigs chew sometime...they chew very thoroughly!!!

-- Marcia (, April 04, 2002.

Sorry, but thats what her vet told her!!!! Anyway we have always fed our pigs eggs too, with no detrimental effects. But can feeding pigs to much milk give them problems??? We give ALOT of milk with no ill affects, but is there a point thats to much??

-- Suzanne (, April 04, 2002.

Suzanne, no. Avoiding the smart-alec comments, if they want to eat it, then it will do them good (in the terms of someone who's trying to grow fine healthy meaty pigs anyway). Might not be conducive to long life, but then - heck, they aren't going to have a long life anyway. Protein will be better for them - and the people who are going to eat them - than something which chemically can only grow fat.

-- Don Armstrong (, April 05, 2002.

i maintain my stand on commercially prepared hog feeds-make sure they don't have antibiotics, hormones, etc before you feed, unless you don't care about eating that stuff. i firmly believe it stays in the meat and we ingest it after butchering. my belief. not proven, no research, just my feeling.

-- laura (, April 05, 2002.

I have an aunt who lived by a farm and their neighbors had pigs which always got out. One time a sheep got stuck in the pigs' fence with the head facing inside the pen. The sheep's entire head was devoured and the pigs had eaten it's face alive! She said it was sickening and the sheep died from it. So pigs eat anything and have even eaten chickens.

-- Tyson Sam (, May 06, 2002.

Actually it IS possible to feed pigs too many RAW eggs. Its not the shells that's the problem, (that sounds silly!) but the fact that Biotin is bound up by a protein in raw egg whites (called aviden), thus causing biotin deficiency (also known as 'egg white injury'). I discovered this years ago when I lost a rare breed herdsire (Guinea Hog). Our pigs were kept in the same barn as our 200 layers at that time, and naturally we just threw em a few eggs every day since they loved em and it was so convenient. He suddenly went lame in the back end, couldnt walk,and we couldnt bring him back, had to put him down. HaD him autopsied, which showed the mysterious deficiency, so I discovered it with research. The vet didn't even know of it.

Course its possible that Guinea Hogs are more susceptible than other breeds, but FWIW, be careful of too many raw eggs.

-- Earthmama (, May 06, 2002.

Hey, John Hill, it's obvious you're in the southern hemisphere -- you've got that info upside-down: many people have digestive systems that ara most like pigs...!

-- snoozy (, May 07, 2002.

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