I am new to pig raising this year. I planned to start my pig experience raising two pigs but since I am using my grandmothers land I could not say no to her when she invited more family members in on the deal, so we ended up with five pigs and all of my relatives who bought piglets are looking to me as if I am an expert. I have done 90% of the work building the pen and feeding and watering them but I keep getting phone calls asking "Can the pigs have this?" We have 5 different families saving table scraps for the pigs. I would like to hang a sign near the pen with a list of things not to feed them. But I don't know what should be included on the list. Any input would be appreciated.
Raw potatoes are a general "no" for pigs (though they can have a little, just not much of their total intake as they can be poisonous raw, cooked are fine). Beyond that, all veggie scraps from the kitchen go to our hogs, plus bread and eggs. I can't think of any other bad foods off the top of my head. Good luck with your new pigs!
In my experience, they won't eat asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, raw onions, banana peels (love bananas), citrus fruit. Save all that for compost or just pitch it. Just makes the pen messy when they don't eat it. There was a post recently about some other things that were not good for them; search for that. I've found they're pretty good at picking out what they don't like and I think part of that is they know it's not good for them. I didn't know about potatoes being bad for them. They would never eat them; now that make sense.
I can't believe I've cooked for the pigs, but they do seem to like things cooked they won't eat raw. I had a lot of old venison. They loved it if I just boiled it or browned the hamburger, but one wouldn't eat it raw. A different pig ate it raw, but liked it a lot better cooked.
Pigs have likes and dislikes so yours may or may not eat what others' hogs will eat. I have one that dislikes carrots, another that has spit green beans out because he found them so unpalatable. In general however, there's not a whole lot that is a sure fire NO. And the beauty of pigs is they tend, given the opportunity, to be good at knowing what to eat and what not to eat. Now, I say "given the opportunity" because any animal will eat just about anything if locked in a pen long enough without any other choice. So if yours are on a dirt lot and on limited feed do realize they may be less than picky about what you serve up.
Raw Potatoes, as metioned, can be toxic. Plants in the nightshade family also can be. Pumpkins are generally not recommended for young pigs as they can contribute to scours. Our older pigs love pumpkins however and I've never seen any digestive upset from them -- the seeds act as a natural wormer. Raw meat and "raw" post consumer waste can carry disease, bacteria, etc.
And then there is the simple fact that you are what you eat and, by extension, you are what you eat eats. Junk in, junk out. Meat quality is affected by feed choices, especially in the last few weeks before butcher but also throughout the growth period.
__________________ I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. - E.B. White
I would also set some guidelines for all families on where they can get scraps from. If it's off your plate, that's one thing. If it's off a stranger's plate in some restaurant, that's different. They get all of our scraps, but I wouldn't get the slop bucket that's in my fifth-grader's lunch room at school. Who knows what bacteria those urchins are carrying. If one family is bringing 'bad' scraps, it'll affect everybody's pig.
I find that the pigs don't tend to eat what isn't good for them. They pick out citrus, onions, potatoes and leave them aside to rot. If you cook those things they'll eat them and get more nutrition from them. Cooking eggs increases the available protein too.
Our pigs eat tomatoes with gusto and even the tomato vines in the fall. No problem. It isn't a lot of their diet. The vast majority of what they get is pasture/hay and dairy. We also grow some pumpkins, beets, turnips and such as these are easy things for us to grow.
The big no-no is the post-consumer wastes. e.g., plate scrapings. The issue is disease being transmitted from people to pigs and then back to people as well as the potential for trichinosis from undercooked meat.
Thanks for the input. So far they have been eating mostly Grain (Blue Seal Pig and Sow Feed) and table scraps, I have sourced some produce from a company that provides salad stuff for local salad bars, they loved the Romaine Lettuce.
I am expanding there pen this weekend but we do not have enough useable land to consider it "Pasture". I plan to rotate the pen area. What should I plant in the old area that will be a good food supply when they a returned to that area?
The issue about meat to pigs is based on various regulations that prohibit it. What the USDA and the state ag departments are concerned about is a case of foot--and-mouth disease (FMD) that originated from meat loaded in another country and eventually infected a pig, and spread from there, in 1929, but the government is very worried about it. So they require that any meat scraps fed to pigs be boiled for 30 minutes to sterilize them here in Washington State.
Umm...don't you think the prohibition might also have something to do with the foot and mouth outbreak in the UK in 2001 caused by one farmer feeding meat to his pigs? The point is that the virus can easily be transmitted in uncooked meat (as can many other diseases). There aren't a lot of folks that would take the time to cook meat before feeding it to pigs; better to just discourage it altogether.
So is meat from table scraps ok? I would only be feeding them meat that was leftover that we aren't going to eat. It would all be cooked to be eaten by humans. What about raw hot dogs? We had pork the other night and couldn't bring ourselves to save the leftover pork for the pigs, seems canibalistic.
I wouldn't let everyone parade on and off the place where the hogs are kept. I would have them meet at a central place with the scraps and collect it from there, and be the one who sorted thru the selection.
Limiting access (read: keep other family members out!!) and selective choices for scrap feeding will insure the hogs health and safety.
I'm sure that 90% of the work would garner me interest in the other pigs, too.
I've fed offal from rabbit butchering, and beef livers, too. I try and cook it, but if it is fresh from a healthy animal (like with the rabbits), I don't worry too much. I don't feed them any meat for at least 40 days prior to butcher.
One of the reasons I don't feed meat is my fear that they might start cannibalizing piglets (taste and smell of blood). I don't know if this is true or just a myth but I still worry. And my chickens are happy they aren't looked at as feathery nuggets...