The supply of adequate livestock feed is under threat. This is most likely due to the rapid growth of the agricultural industry which places great strain on available resources. Moreover, the constant increase in livestock feed prices is beyond the financial capacity of most farmers. Consequentially, production levels tend to be low. In a bid to solve this challenge, the agricultural community is aimed at uncovering alternative feed sources that are both affordable as well as nutritious. Among the considered feedstuffs is meat. Studies conducted on whether pigs can eat meat indicate remarkable results. However, it is also recommended for farmers to acquire relevant knowledge on the nutritional value of meat versus livestock dietary requirements. Feed rations should also be taken into considerations as excess utilization of unconventional feedstuff often has adverse effects on maintenance.

Nutritional Value

Pigs can feed on meat without experiencing any negative effects on maintenance, reproduction as well as production. Pigs are omnivores therefore can eat a variety of feedstuff; their diets are somewhat similar to that of humans. Meat is an excellent sources of nutrients and minerals. In fact, research reveals that meat ranks among the most significant, nutritious and favoured food items available to masses; it aids in fulfilling most of the body requirements. As such, pigs can eat meat as a means to maintain health and increase on productivity. Meat is a good source of protein. It constitutes an average of 23% protein value which varies according to variety. In addition to being a superior protein source, it is rich in energy and vitamins, particularly A and B. Vitamins are often ignored and yet can be critical to the wellbeing and performance of every animal. To help meet the known deficiencies of vitamins, pigs can feed on meat supplements. Meat also has an ideal amount of trace minerals including selenium, zinc, iron and phosphorus. Trace minerals are needed for blood synthesis, hormone structure, normal reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation, and immune system integrity.

A major challenge is that deficiencies do not immediately impact yield or growth. Reduced reproductive performance or impaired health can take several months before a deficiency appears. Although pigs can eat meat for production purposes, care should be taken not to provide it in excess. When providing unconventional feed stuff to livestock, farmers should make sure that they are ensiled with a complementary feed. An important factor to be aware of is that meat can cause poisoning and so great caution is necessary. Feedstuffs containing meat have been known to cause some devastating effects in agriculture world over. Despite the fact that pigs can eat meat without exposure to any diseases and infection, some countries have placed a ban on the provision of meat to livestock due to cases of poisoning. The following diseases are recorded to be due to the usage of feed scraps in pig dietary plans:

  • Foot and Mouth Disease
  • African Swine Fever
  • Swine Vascular Disease
  • Transmissible Gastroenteritis

Physical Development

Pigs can eat meat which is an excellent source of protein required for their physiological development. As a matter of fact, protein is used to determine the quality of the feed. Growing pigs require sufficient protein for growth. For mature pigs, protein plays an important role in daily sustenance. Studies indicate that livestock provided with sufficient protein perform better compared to their counterparts. Younger piglets require a higher protein diet of approximately 16% to 17%, whereas finishing pigs and maintenance diets for sows can be lower, usually ranging somewhere around 13% to 14%. Since meat contains 23% protein content, it is able to solely meat livestock protein requirements. As such, pigs can eat meat scraps as a means of meeting their protein requirements. The high protein content found in meat is important in accomplishing optimum livestock growth and development. Pigs that are not receiving enough minerals generally become lame and sometimes paralyzed in the hind quarters.

Pigs can feed on meat as a means to acquire minerals necessary for proper growth, development as well as daily sustenance. As previously mentioned, meat is good source of trace elements. It contains phosphorus which is essential in the formation of bones, muscle and nerve tissues. The vitamins found in meat are not only involved in releasing energy from carbohydrates and fat but also in the activity of the nervous system. They are also responsible for promoting growth, food conversion, fertility and improves skin and coat condition. Contributes to improved eyesight. A deficiency may cause cataracts, light sensitivity and eye lens opacity. Piglets may die at birth or within 48 hours. Feeding a balanced diet comprising of essential proteins and minerals to growing pigs from weaning through to slaughter not only ensures that pigs grow rapidly but helps to ensure that the carcass composition and meat quality is desirable. Keep in mind that although pigs can eat meat, it should be gradually introduced as sudden changes in the diet can cause diarrhoea among other health related problems.

Health Maintenance

Livestock health maintenance is at the core of every livestock farming venture. As such, pigs can eat meat which is considered to be among the most nutritious feedstuff, therefore is necessary for health sustenance. Meat is a good source of vitamins which partake in various metabolic processes involving a series of chemical and biochemical reactions. Vitamins also play a crucial role in maintaining immune system integrity. To add on, meat consists of zinc which is essential for enzyme activation, repair of damaged tissue, immune system and teat keratin formation. Pigs can feed on meat to absorb iron which is a component of haemoglobin and important enzymes, and is involved in cellular respiration. It also contains selenium. Selenium is an active component of several microbial enzymes. It is interrelated with Vitamin E and is specifically found in the enzyme glutathione peroxidase which reduces peroxides in the intracellular spaces, that protects cells against oxidative damage.

Pigs can eat meat as a means of preventing the occurrence of oxidation. Oxidation is among the leading causes of poor quality production. It results in the deterioration of the nutritional value of meat, its texture as well as taste. Consequentially, the produce fails to meet quality standards costing farmers a lot of money. Meat provides farmers with an opportunity to effectively manage this challenge. The selenium and vitamins found in meat act as antioxidant agents fighting free radicals that cause oxidative stress. This method is most valuable in areas facing restrictions in usage of synthetic antioxidants.