this is my first time raising pigs. i have a couple that i am raising out to slaughter weight. i am feeding grain as well as kitchen scraps from a school lunch program. i am wondering if there is anything that will give the meat a bad or off taste? what should i avoid in excess? thanks for any suggestions.
What you feed in the last month makes a significant issue on the taste of the pork because the taste of the food goes into the fat. Studies show that there's about a two week lag time to get the taste out which is why I say month - the common wisdom given. With this in mind don't feed fish, garbage, etc. Personally, I would not feed any garbage, swill, post-consumer wastes, etc due to disease issues. I would not take the school kitchen scraps. Broken glass, tableware and plastic are not good for the pigs. I also do not feed meat to our pigs.
The digestive systems of pigs are not nearly as indestructible as they're made out to be. They're regarded as walking garbage disposals, when, in reality, they can and do become ill, contract diseases, etc from what they're fed -- especially if they're kept on dirt lots with no choice but to eat what is tossed out there.
Stay away from toxics -- raw potatoes, nightshades, etc. Be careful with mold and if the kitchen scraps sit for any period of time -- especially during the warm season -- they need to be kept cool and/or reheated to kill bacteria before being fed.
Personally, I am with Walter. I would skip the school kitchen scraps altogether.
I would agree with others that you should be careful of what you feed the pigs in their last month before slaughter. Prior to that, however, I feed ours nearly anything they will eat. I would suggest using the kitchen scraps up to one month prior to slaughter, and then removing them from the pigs diet. If you are only raising one group at a time, you could use the kitchen scraps in a compost pile during the time that the pigs are not eating them.
I've found my pigs digestive systems to be pretty much indestructible.
Mine eat everything from chicken and deer offal to cracked corn and hay. Post consumer waste is welcomed on this farm, and the plate scrapings from our local church picnic or spaghetti dinner satisfy their infernal appetites for another day. I've fed them buckets of slop that were more maggots then slop. It didn't hurt them one bit.
Pigs are scavengers by nature. A pig in the wild would eat everything from freshly fallen acorns to a week old, maggot infested carcase.
I look at pigs like a giant filter. I can eat them, they can eat a lot of things I can't. If I could eat their food, there would be little sense in having a pig.
Feed them whatever you have. The pork will taste delicious.
I wasn't worrying about the pig.
I was concerned with do I want to eat the pig after it ate X.
I raise pigs to sell. How they taste and how healthy they are for my family and my customers is of the utmost importance.
So while a pig may be the equivelant of a garbage disposal, I'll use the compost pile as appropriate.
thanks for the variety of advise. i appreciate hearing different viewpoints.
its a kind of a tough position that im in, im sure that im not the only one. i simply cant afford to raise two pigs if i feed them primarily grain. i live in the northwoods, if i buy pig feed here, the hardware store has to special order it and they sell it to me for 18$ for 50 lb. I can drive 120 miles down the shore to get feed at an actual town but that is hardly any cheaper. i was in Iowa this spring and filled up my truck with bags of pig feed that i got there for 7$ for a bag.
I am constantly thinking of ways of tapping into someone else's waste and finding a use for it. i currently (but my wheels are always turning) dont have access to a dairy operation or some other source of clean feed.
sidenote, i am watching a very nice looking buck in velvet through my window as im typing this. ill be looking for him with my bow in october!!
Eat less meat. Two pigs, plus venison is a lot of meat even for a family of 4 or 5. If you're worried you might need a little more raise a few chickens to fill the void. Go for a small batch of dual-purpose and let them free-range and your feed costs will be next to nothing.
You need to be aware that its against the law to feed raw consumer waste to livestock. Don't be surprised if a USDA livestock inspector shows up one day and quarantines your pigs. They are tasked with keeping track of waste from schools, and institutions.
It has to be cooked to a given temperature for a given amount of time. This applies even if you are raising them for your own use also.
(post-consumer waste) has to be cooked to a given temperature for a given amount of time. This applies even if you are raising them for your own use also.
Oh? What state are you in? In most states and federally there is an exemption to the cooking requirement for post-consumer wastes from your own home fed to your pigs which are for your own consumption.
Note that I am _not_ advocating feeding any post-consumer wastes to pigs. I advocate just the opposite. But do be clear on exactly what the laws say.
SugarMtnFarm.com -- Pastured Pigs, Poultry, Sheep, Dogs and Kids
its a kind of a tough position that im in, im sure that im not the only one. i simply cant afford to raise two pigs if i feed them primarily grain.
1) Sell the additional pig - get a deposit sufficient to pay for the feed. This scales.
2) Pasture the pigs as much as possible. Good pasture with plenty of legumes replaces a lot of their diet. I have raised three pig batches purely on pasture. They end up growing a few months slower and very lean but were tasty. The problem is the pasture is low on lysine which makes for slow muscle growth and low on calories which makes for leanness and low marbling.
3) Buy your feed by the ton or more. It is a lot cheaper that way than by the 50 lb bag. If you are just raising the pigs on grain then they'll need about 800 lbs each or there abouts. If you have two pigs that's closing in on a ton. Three pigs is a ton easily.
4) Plant food. We grow pumpkins, turnips, beets, sunflowers, sunchokes, kale and other good things for the pigs. This is especially important for extending our grazing season, late fall food and early winter food. I would like to grow enough to make it through to the next grazing season but have never managed that. Winter hay replaces our pastures which are buried under several feet of snow for months.
I am constantly thinking of ways of tapping into someone else's waste and finding a use for it.
Good. There is a lot of excellent pig feed going to waste. The trick is not causing a problem for the pigs as you understand. Dairy is a great complement to pasture. We get whey and it takes a lot of that to equal one gallon of milk. Sometimes we get milk. The way is because there is a cheese and butter maker near us who needs to get rid of it. If we didn't have that resource I would setup my own dairy to supply milk for our pigs. Pastured pork is value added sunshine.
It isn't worth it, around here, to sell milk but the pork made from the milk is worth it.
Shaws tried to get us to take their pre-consumer vegetable wastes. I didn't but that is something to look into. My hesitation was primarily that it was coming from vegetables that were grown conventionally and often waxed. Pesticides and such worried me.
A local bakery, a cider mill and a brew pub can be an excellent source of alternative foods.
My last pig refused to eat the lamb offal I gave it, even the tasty liver... even when I didn't give her a normal ration for 2 days, don't know why. Did notice she was a much picker eater than the last two I raised. I guess what they say about 2 pigs eating more because they are greedy is true...
I presume you eat your pigs raw if you are worried about trichinosis. That grosses me out even more then watching my pig eat a raw deer liver.
Trichinosis can be contracted through both raw and "undercooked" pork (as well as other meats). "Undercooked" being under 170 degrees fahrenheit. Most recommendations for palatable pork cook it only to 160 degrees fahrenheit. "Done" pork can very well spread trichinosis.
We are lucky. We raise two pigs a year and I time their arrivial when I have weaned the kids, weaned the calf and weaned the bunner lambs. Then all the extra goats milk, extra eggs and trimmings from a large U-pick farm 6 miles from us , as well as feed goes to the pigs the last month they get the milk, eggs, feed and spent corn from the u-pick place. They ( only two of them) get meat in their freezer.........three cuts of our lamb, pork, Jersey beef and once in a while a dozen eggs. These are forth generation people on their land, we are second generation on ours........a common fence between our lower farm an theirs.
You have gotten a lot of good advice. If it were me, I would probably cook the leftover kitchen scraps given me, just to be sure there was no chance of a transfer of disease. We don't give our pigs raw meat, but pigs will and do kill and eat small rodents, chickens and other animals when they get a chance. Pigs are omnivores.
Paddler, never mind what the law says, use your commonsense - and your commonsense in this case will probably follow the law.
Highlands, I'm sorry but I don't agree with you. There is nothing wrong with waste food but it should always be cooked. The only exception I make to that rule is for fresh waste out of the vegetable garden and grasses they eat as part of their free ranging habitat.
Back you you Paddler. Sort through your waste food and pick out tea bags, bones, citrus skins/fruit, avocado skins(inedible), onion skins(indedible) and pretty much anything you can't eat yourself. Put any bread to one side. Cook it up for at least an hour and just before turning it off, add the bread. Leave to cook a few minutes longer and you should have a lovely soup for your pigs - and it will be healthy.
If feeding fresh produce watch out for potatoes. These should always be cooked if feeding in large amounts. Raw potato is hard to digest and will ferment in the gut before digestion occurs. This can result in the death of the pig. Celery and parsnip can cause lesions around the mouth and tongue similar to FNM and while not a death threat are very uncomfortable for the pig. This is not a problem if cooked. Remove all tea, tea bags and coffee grounds. Not only do they not have any nutritional value, they will sit in the gut and can cause death. Fish is fine but quit feeding it 2 months before slaughter unless you want to eat fishy tasting pork. If you have access to fruit, this is good to finish pigs on.
Good luck with your pigs, they are fun to keep - and fun to eat - but do it right and do it economically. Do a search of people and pigs and you will know what I mean.