Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pigs prefer salmon

[Hi Natures Harmony Readers.  If you'd like to see my comments and the background for this fight, click here after you're done reading.  The laws on what is legal to feed to pigs vary from state to state; Whey, a byproduct of cheese production, is a prohibited feed in Missouri, for instance.  Tim feeds whey to his pigs.  I feed fish to mine.  Both are legal feeds in our respective states.  Not sure what his point is.    Fish is found in many animal feeds.  Fish meal, fish cake, fish oil, or just plain fish.   ]

I've been feeding a couple of hundred pounds of fish to the pigs every day for the last few days, and have found that they prefer salmon over other types of fish.  They like skin-on fillets better than the skin-off.  They'll dig through a pile of fish and eat all of the salmon before they eat any of the other types of fish. 
Here's a typical serving size for 30 pigs.  It's helpful that these 4oz portions were packed loose in the box.  Slit the box open, dump the fillets, toss the box into a pile, next box. 
Color and texture wise they're actually in pretty good shape, but most show sizes of freezer burn.  Doesn't seem to cause the pigs any anxiety.  They eat it all. 
All of this fish is wild-caught, all of it from alaska.  None of it is cooked or flavored 
The whole round cod aren't nearly as popular as the sockeye fillets, but, well, hey, it's free, and the pigs eat it too. 
The dogs have a preference for the whole flounder -- which are listed as "flathead" on the box.  They'll pick these out of the pile and eat them seperate.  No accounting for taste -- my favorite is sockeye.


Anonymous said...

I think you have to be careful about the fish flavor affecting the pork flavor. The Alaska Cooperative Extension Service recommends that people do not feed fish to their market pigs for this reason.

Bruce King said...

I seperated out my market hogs from the breeders and feeders for that reason. I'll put them on a non-fish diet for the last 3 months.

Anonymous said...


Here you can see how unscientific people are about food.

Producing food is a multidimensional optimization problem. Whether you are optimizing enivronmental impact, "organicness", "tastiness", "pig happiness" or other factors, there's all sorts of tradeoffs.

When it comes to how things taste, it is likewise a multidimensional optimization problem - obviously, what you feed, how much and when are some of the factors that go into how something tastes.

Most people don't/can't view it that way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bruce, first I want to say thanks for the post where you describe how to eviscerate using the Tongan method. Wow! Its like magic how everything comes out in a neat little package. I've used this technique a couple of times and I love it. It also has convinced me that it is easier to do the bung cut on any size pig before hoisting on the gambrel.
I am also really excited about pig food scavenging. I recently bought a used Isuzu flatbed with a liftgate to deal with palleted foodstuff. I've already started picking up from a few stores and cold storage facilities in additition to the vegetable farms I've been hauling from for the past few years. I use a dump trailer for the bulk stuff.
My next goal on this front is to begin to use the the scavenged food more efficiently.
I plan to build a cooker for the more unpalatable foods -like root vegetables, cabbage leaves etc. I am also going to build portable feeders to get the feed off the ground, especially in muddy situations. I imagine these ideas have crossed your mind as well.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to share an added bonus regarding feeding fish to pigs. We had a gilt that had gone off of her feed, wouldn't drink, and was on death's doorstep during a very hot summer. We had already lost three of her litter mates the week prior. The vets had no clue, the meds didn't help, and even the Necropsy we had done on one of the boars that passed wasn't definitive. So, figuring that I usually eat fish when I feel sick and it helps me, I tried giving her canned mackerel. She ate a little bit and drank the brine. So, we kept giving it to her. It took her a week to be able to eat an entire can in a sitting, but within 7 days she was back to eating milled feed and made a full recovery. Now fish is my first line of defence.