Pigs are known and categorized as omnivorous animals. And, many people consider “omnivorous” as being able to eat everything as long as the pig can chew. With this thought, many pigs are fed animal bones for years. But, can pigs eat chicken bones safely and with no risk at all? Read this article for more information.
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Pigs are not picky eaters
Pigs are known as quite easy eaters as they consume mostly whatever we give them, whether it is plants, meat, scrap food, all types of fresh or cooked bones. That is why even though it is a common practice to feed many livestock species food waste or garbage around the world, it has mostly been considered as a source of feed for swine.
Also, their nutritional needs are basic.
These give homesteaders lots of freedom and flexibility in what they feed their pigs. However, not all that we provide them can be digested, especially scrap food. Scrap food in dishes that were not finished such as bread, pasta, soup, sauces and items that are typically thrown away rather than eaten such as rinds, peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, loose-leaf tea & paper tea bags, chicken bones.
Therefore, there are some warnings about the pig feed which you should not ignore as it is intimately related to swine diseases.
Pigs disease pandemic in history
There have been some swine disease outbreaks caused by the inclusion of unsuitable or improperly processed garbage food in the feed for pigs in some countries all over the world.
In the 1950s, it was common to feed hogs leftovers from restaurants, bakeries, and hotels. Then, there was an outbreak of the disease in swine in America. It influenced the whole country and resulted in remarkable financial damage. Undercooked shellfish were blamed for the outbreak.
Accordingly, the 1980 Swine Health Protection Act mandates that food plate waste to be fed to pigs must be heat treated.
Due to the spread of African swine fever (ASF) across Europe, Russia, and part of Asia, all states and territories in Australia have prohibited feeding swine to swine as the reason was found to be pigs accessing food waste.
The disastrous foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001 broke out because pigs were fed garbage food containing illegally imported meat products of the foot-and-mouth disease virus.
These are applied to minimize the risk of foreign animal diseases in swine and to eradicate any potentially harmful pathogens.
Or else, human health will be strongly affected as a result.
Why so? First off, pork is one of the main ingredients in our daily meals so if they are infected with viruses through food, no wonder we experience the same thing after consuming the contaminated meat from such pigs. It is dangerous that some sick pigs even show no signals of infection as many viruses can survive in meat or meat products for a long time.
Secondly, pigs can spread diseases to other livestock or humans. The progression accelerates if the homestead is in the residential areas. There is a high chance that the farm would be kept in quarantine and the entire herd would be butchered just as a safety precaution.
The diseases of concern are hog cholera, foot and mouth diseases, African swine fever, and swine vesicular disease.
The pathogens include salmonella, campylobacter, trichinella, and toxoplasma.
Read more: What is a group of pigs called?
What food should not be given to pigs?
Even though they enjoy a large variety of food, there is a list of food they do not like, and they should not be fed.
First off, you should not give pigs anything moldy, slimy, or rotten.
Secondly, never add raw meat and raw eggs to your options. Feeding swine raw meat can transfer diseases such as foot and mouth diseases. The biotin absorption of pigs can be deteriorated by eating raw eggs. However, cooked eggs do not lead to the same consequence.
It is not suggested to feed pigs a diet high in salt and sugar. High sodium feed is not suitable for them as their need is not substantial.
Their diets also should not be rich sugar; therefore, pastries, sweets, or fresh fruits are in the blacklist.
Pigs can consume almost all plants except for unripe tomatoes, raw potatoes and sweet potatoes, parsnips, celery, celery root, parsley, onions, avocados, and rhubarb as they are toxic to pigs. They should be fed more than just one type of fruit or vegetable the whole season.
Similar to us, pigs need to eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet.
Read More: Can Chickens Eat Celery Stalks and Leaves? Celery can either be a delicious treat or a danger to chickens depending on how it’s fed. Learn more!
So, can pigs eat chicken bones?
If you ever wonder whether “can you feed pigs chicken bones?”, the answer for you will be yes, and no.
Even though chicken bones are classified as scrap food and not all scrap food can be digested once they enter pigs’ stomach, pigs do eat bones, mostly small ones. For bigger ones, they prefer to chew. Their most favorite part in bones is the marrow in the center and they taste as candy to them.
They are born with fairly strong digestive juices, strong jaws and enjoy most bones. As long as they can chew it, they will consume it, starting from the soft parts to the harder ones.
That’s why many farmers have fed their pigs chicken bones as a normal habit.
But, remember the bones must be cooked thoroughly. No pieces of raw chicken bones should be fed as swine food.
Besides, in some countries, chicken bones are prohibited to feed pigs, i.e Australia. So, it is better to search for more information about legal and illegal swine food in your local area.
Read more: Can Pigs Eat Meat?
Avoid feeding them wrong items and including needed supplemental food in pig feed is equally important. Hence, whether you are a newbie or a master in this industry, it is highly recommended to always keep a list of what to feed and what not to feed your pigs handy. And if other farmers and homesteaders ask you questions related to pig diet, including can pigs, have chicken bones, you are able to give them the answer confidently.