Pigs might subsist mostly on a diet of grain and vegetables meal, but pretty much everyone knows that pigs are also carnivorous and will eat meat.
But do pigs eat all kinds of meat? How about something they wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to eat in the wild, like fish? Can pigs eat fish?
Yes, pigs can eat fish. Fish is highly nutritious, packed with protein, healthy fats, and many vitamins and minerals including omega-3 fatty acids. However, do make sure you cook it to minimize the chances of your pigs contracting diseases or parasites.
Fish are one of those things that most people seem to forget about when it comes to feeding their pigs.
But fish is known for being a lean and healthy source of protein, and the same is definitely true when fed to your herd.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about giving fish to your pigs.
Nutritional Benefits of Fish for Pigs
Fish is a wonderful source of nutrition for pigs, and is packed with protein, minerals, and vitamins in abundance.
In fact, fish is considered to be one of the most complete sources of protein available, and is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish is an excellent source of protein for pigs, providing all the essential amino acids needed for proper growth and development.
Fish is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for cognitive function, eye health, and immunity.
Omega-3s are also known to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can be beneficial for pigs with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
The vitamin and mineral content of fish is also excellent, with fish being a good source of vitamins A, D, E, and B12, as well as minerals such as selenium, phosphorus, and iodine.
Feeding fish to your pigs may help to reduce the risk of certain diseases. One study found that feeding Atlantic salmon to pigs reduced the levels of certain inflammatory markers in their blood.
This suggests that eating fish may help to reduce inflammation in pigs, which could potentially help to protect them from diseases such as arthritis.
Another study found that feeding fish meal to pigs improved their growth performance and increased their intake of essential fatty acids.
Can Pigs Eat Raw Fish?
Pigs can eat raw fish, but they really shouldn’t. Eating raw fish, unless it is very fresh and of the highest quality, significantly increases the chances of your pigs contracting parasites or diseases.
If you do feed raw fish to your pigs, be sure to do so only occasionally and always choose the freshest fish possible.
Can Pigs Eat Fish Bones?
Yes, surprisingly. Pigs can easily eat most fish bones. You are generally advised to serve them cooked bones however.
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Fish?
Yes, they can. Cooked fish is a great option for pigs since it minimizes the chances of them contracting parasites or diseases.
Don’t Give Your Pigs Fish if it Was Made with Bad Ingredients
Fish can be prepared in all kinds of ways and with all sorts of ingredients. You probably have your own favorite dish, one you may even consider sharing with your pigs.
However, it is crucial that you avoid serving your pigs any fish that is prepared with ingredients that are bad for them, or fish that is prepared in a harmful way such as by frying.
Ingredients like oil, salt, sugar, breading, and so forth are all bad news for your herd.
Too much oil can cause digestive issues and weight gain in your pigs, while salt and sugar can lead to health problems down the road. Breading will just end up adding wasted junk calories.
Frying is also a big no-no, as it significantly increases the fat and calorie content of the fish without adding any nutritional value.
So, can pigs eat cooked fish? Yes, they can, but only plain! Fish is a nutritious and healthy food for pigs, but you can make it otherwise through improper preparation.
How Much Fish Can Pigs Have?
Fish has the potential to make up the primary meat component of a pig’s diet, or even be a supplemental mainstay if they already have a complete protein option.
The amount of fish your pigs can eat really depends on what else is available to them.
If you are supplementing their diet with other sources of protein, then they will only need a small portion of fish.
If you are feeding them fish as their main source of protein, then they will obviously need a larger portion. A good rule of thumb is to offer 1-2% of their body weight in fish per day.
How to Give Fish to Your Pigs
You have options for serving fish to your pigs. Large cuts of fish or whole fish can be fed as is, while small bits or flaked fish can be mixed in with their regular food.
You can also buy some pig feeds that already have fish meal as an ingredient. No matter how you choose to serve it, just be sure that the fish is cooked before feeding it to your pigs.
Can Baby Pigs Have Fish, Too?
Yes, piglets may also have fish, but with a couple of restrictions.
First, only feed them cooked fish to avoid any parasites or diseases; piglets are far more vulnerable to disease and other ill effects associated with raw fish than adults are.
Second, be sure to chop the fish into small pieces or flakes so that they can easily eat it.
So long as your piglets are old enough to be eating solid food all the time, they are old enough to have some fish themselves.
As always, make sure to mind the portion size and be sure that they are getting plenty of nutrition from varied sources.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is a bit gross, but yes. Pigs love all sorts of organ meat, including those of fishes.
However, think twice before serving your pigs fish organs from wild-caught fish since they may contain high levels of contaminants, ones that could be quite harmful to your pigs.
Again, a bit unsettling but yes. Pigs will eat every part of a whole fish- head, bones, guts, tail, and all.
All common varieties of fish that people eat are safe to serve to your pigs. Obviously, you should not serve your pigs any fish that have venomous or poisonous defenses, or have other defensive adaptations like spines or spikes.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.