Pig production is one the most lucrative animal husbandry business ideas. One female pig (a sow) can wean off at least 20 healthy piglets in a year. That is one of the reasons pig production is so lucrative. Additionally, pigs generally have excellent feed conversion. In pig production it is inevitable to assess what you feed the pigs with. More than US$7 in every US$10 you put in pig production goes to feeding. That is why at times pig farmers can consider low-cost feeding alternatives. Frugal as that may be, you still have to know what pigs can or cannot eat. Today we are exploring if pigs can eat chicken bones.
Yes And No – Depending On The State Of The Chicken Bones
Pigs can eat chicken bones if they are cooked. This is a stretch though because that can lead to complications. When the chicken bones are raw, pigs should never eat them. It does not mean that pigs cannot eat raw chicken bones; they can. It is just that with raw chicken bones there are high risks of transmission of pathogens. For both scenarios (raw and cooked chicken bones) there is a risk of the pigs getting choked. Furthermore, even if they manage to ingest them, indigestion can occur. The bottom line is pigs can or cannot eat chicken bones, depending on their state. Yet the most ideal thing will be to not feed pigs with chicken bones.
Raw Chicken Bones Pose Health Risks To Humans Too
You risk making it easy for pathogens to enter into pigs by feeding them with raw chicken bones. Common pathogens here are those that cause E. coli and salmonella. These diseases can cause serious health problems for you pigs. Worse, those diseases can end up infecting humans as well. For instance, that can happen if a person gets into physical contact with the diseased pigs. It can also happen if a person eats pork that came from a diseased pig. This is fair warning to emphasise that raw chicken bones should be kept away from pigs.
Chicken Bones Can Be Good For Pigs
Chicken bones are nutrient-rich. This is an important consideration to make. Chicken bones are particularly rich in calcium; one of their many minerals. Calcium is beneficial to the development and health of pigs’ teeth and bones. There are also several other nutrients contained in chicken bones. Notable examples are fatty acids and protein. All these nutrients are useful in the development and general health of the pigs. This might be a justifiable basis to consider feeding the pigs with chicken bones. You just have to feed the chicken bones to the pigs in certain ways.
Best Approaches In Feeding Chicken Bones To Pigs
First off, we have established that feeding pigs with raw chicken bones is not ideal. The core considerations you must make pertain to eliminating risks. You must figure out ways to eliminate the risks of choking or indigestion.
Cook The Chicken Bones First
You would have to ensure that the chicken bones are cooked. Cooking helps kill any possible pathogens that may be present in the raw chicken bones. Cooking also helps makes the chicken bones tender for the pigs to ingest and digest smoothly. Care should be taken to not overcook the chicken bones since that would kill the vital nutrients.
Crushing The Cooked Chicken Bones Helps
One possible panacea would be to crush the cooked bones before feeding them to the pigs. Remember that the chicken bones have to be cooked mildly. This means they may still not be that easy for the pigs to eat. The risks of getting choked can be high. Pigs normally can feed on pelleted feeds. Thus if you work the cooked bones into that form or something near to that, they can eat them without risks. The aim is to breakdown the cooked bones into smaller, manageable chunks. Only expose chicken bones to pigs when they are cooked and preferably crushed.
Consider Mixing Up The Chicken Bones With Other Pig Feeds
It can also be better to not feed those crushed, cooked chicken bones to the pigs directly. You can mix them up with other typical pig feeds. That way the pigs can appropriate the beneficial nutrients in a safer manner. This will all be aimed at capitalizing on the nutrients in the chicken bones the pigs can benefit from.
NB: No matter the circumstances, never allow piglets to eat chicken bones. At their age, piglets are not yet mature enough to ingest and digest chicken bones.
Chicken Bones You Must Avoid
Just because pigs can eat cooked chicken bones does not mean anything goes. You have to carefully inspect the current state of the chicken bones in question. If they are decayed or decaying you should not let the pigs eat them. You must also ascertain the state of the chickens from which the bones came from. If the chickens were diseased then the bones cannot be fed to pigs. It does not matter they can be cooked and fed to the pigs. Do not consider decayed or diseased chicken bones at all.
How Often Can Pigs Eat Chicken Bones?
Moderation is a cardinal rule when feeding anything to livestock. That rule applies to pigs in light of them eating chicken bones. Pigs should not eat chicken bones daily. The feeding of chicken bones should be staggered. This will allow adequate time for digestion.
There are possible risks in feeding pigs with chicken bones. When the chicken bones are cooked, at least there is some exception. Even then risks may still be there. Thus it might be best to not feed pigs with chicken bones. If you do choose to allow your pigs to eat chicken bones keep it at minimum. The amount of chicken bones your pigs eat should never exceed 5 percent of their total feeding. It is also advised that every time your pigs eat chicken bones, the portion should be as small as possible.