Can Pigs Eat Chicken Bones?

A few days back, I and my fellow livestock keeper gathered to settle the debate whether our pigs should or should not be eating chicken bones? As the pig in my neighborhood was in severe pain because the chicken bone got stuck in his throat.

This incident gathered us all to a table to discuss how we can save this messy eater from eating chicken bones from the scraps?

We had a valuable discussion so I decided to share all that I know about feeding chicken bones with you as well. Starting with the simpler most Googled questions as usual;

Can pigs eat chicken bones?

The answer to this question is yes you can but you should not. Pigs aren’t picky eaters they are used to eating scraps. Sometimes they find and eat chicken bones from the food scrap but it is not healthy at all.  

What makes the chicken bones harmful? If it’s harmful

Chicken bones are harder to digest and if the no-so-chewed part gets stuck somewhere it may cause a lot of disturbance in the pig’s body. Also according to peta raw meat and bones have got the reputation of infecting the omnivorous with bacteria and viruses.

Pigs are categorized as omnivores, they love chicken bones

Pigs love chicken bones to the point that once they get used to eating them it would be impossible to stop them from having it from your plate. They would do anything to have it over and over again just like the kids are willing to do whatever their parents say to get chocolate in the end.

Some of the pig keepers support whereas the majority of people go strictly against the idea of feeding chicken bones

Even though pigs have been eating chicken and chicken bones from the restaurant and home scraps since the beginning of time, the debate on whether it should be fed or not is on. 

chicken for pigs

The majority of people that go against the idea of feeding chicken bones defend their view by saying “it’s not easy to digest, it can get stuck in the stomach or what if it transmits the bacteria or virus?” 

The raw chicken bones are even more dangerous as they are more likely to cause harm by infecting the pig with a bacterial disease and transmitting it to humans and other animals.

The other reason why should you never let your pigs taste chicken or chicken bones

The pigs, once they are used to eating chicken or chicken bones, would do anything to satisfy their taste buds even if they have to kill a bird or chicken. What if they get infected by eating raw chicken or chicken bones? And it would also be hard to see the beloved chickens and birds of your farm sacrificing their lives this way.

Feeding Chicken Bones to Pigs

  • Feed-in moderation; Chicken bones, if you have to feed it anyway, should be fed-in moderation like all other pig treats.
  • Make sure the bones are small and easy-to-chew; The bones that you are separating for your pet pig should be small and easy-to-chew. So, before feeding carefully remove the harder, not-so-easy to chew parts and for the pig’s safety.
  • Feed only cooked chicken bones; The raw chicken and chicken bones should be avoided as who knows if they are carrying virus or bacteria?
  • The chicken bones should thoroughly be washed; Make sure the chicken or chicken bones that you are cooking to feed the pigs should thoroughly be washed. As per a belief, washing chicken before cooking wash away the harmful pathogenic bacteria.

Do chicken and chicken bones cause diseases

We all know how much the pigs love food scraps. The majority of the total population is surviving mainly on food scraps. In 1950, a swine disease started engulfing the pigs of America rapidly.

The pigs at that time were eating the food scraps of restaurants and bakeries. The “uncooked shellfish” from one of the restaurants becomes the reason for this viral disease that took the lives of uncountable pigs.

In between, finding the reason and cure for the viral disease it was discovered that raw chicken, meat, and bones are not good for the pig’s health.

After that sad incident, the majority of pig owners started preferring cooked chickens and bones. So, be extra careful with the chicken, meat, and chicken bones as the viral diseases not only affect the pigs or other animals but humans as well.

chicken bones

What vitamins and minerals chicken bones have?

Chicken bones are enriched in several essential vitamins and minerals that pigs need to live a healthy life. The major ones are;

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium 
  • Vitamin A
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Manganese 

Pigs need copper, iron, manganese, and zinc during the critical growing years, and iron, manganese, sodium, vitamin E, chlorine, and selenium to live healthily. (Resource)

Phosphorus is another important macromineral that helps in better skeletal growth, mineralization, and cellular functions but the vitamins and minerals need can be fulfilled through healthier treat options other than unripe tomatoes, raw potatoes, parsnips, celery, parsley, onion, avocados, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, chicken, meat, and chicken bones.

My recommendation

We should be as careful with our pets as we are with our kids. No parents want their kids to eat unhealthy junk all the time. The chicken bones are just as unhealthy as junk food is for us. So, I would never recommend feeding both cooked and raw chicken bones. If our pig is already addicted to it you can still break the addiction by finding a better alternative.

Summary 

Pigs can eat cooked chicken bones but they should not because it’s hard to digest and can get stuck. The raw chicken bones should never be fed as they can transmit the virus or bacteria within a matter of minutes.

The chicken bones are enriched in calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, Iron, zinc, manganese but the vitamin and mineral need can be fulfilled through other healthier treats as well. If food puts the pig’s and your life at the stack why should it be fed anyway?

Other Feed for Pigs

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