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Feeding Food Waste as a Feed Stuff
Good human food today is great hog food tomorrow. Left over food that was good for human consumption is a valuable resource as a
feed stuff for hogs because its economical, resourceful, and nutritionally viable to the natural diets of swine.
Economically, it is a way to feed hogs at a lower cost than the traditional diet of corn and soy. But corn and soy wasn't always the traditional
way to feed hogs. In fact, feeding food waste has a much longer history with swine than grain does. It wasn't until very modern
industrialization that hogs were fed just corn and soy. Everything before that for domesticated pigs was food waste or the natural diet of
feral hogs which is everything on the ground including other animals.
Feeding food waste is resourceful because of the actual process. You take food out of the waste stream and re-use it. Recycling! Tossed
out food contributes to our global problem of pollution so why not do the right thing and make some hogs happy? They absolutely love it.
Food waste is nutritionally viable for swine because they are omnivores just like you and I. What we can eat so can they. Besides, who
wants a dish of plain white rice or grain when you can have a dish of white rice as a side of a fillet and au-groton potatoes? mmmmm..
The one downfall for food waste as a feed stuff for swine is that you can't control the percentages of vitamins, minerals, proteins and other
important contributions of a nutritional diet. However, a well managed food waste facility knows this and supplements accordingly at the
different stages of the pigs life. Most importantly, this time period is when the sows are lactating, and when the piglets are weaned.
About Our Operations
Animal Husbandry Practices
Our pigs not only eat well but they are housed humanely and treated
respectfully. They have access to fresh clean water even though they
may choose to do so differently. We farrow our sows in 6x9 concrete
pens that are cleaned every day if not more than once a day. They are
bedded with the finest white pine shavings that are available. The
shavings act as cushion for bedding and as an absorbent material for
any wetness that may collect throughout a 24 hour time period. The
shavings also allow the sow to exhibit natural farrowing behavior of
nesting at the time right before birthing occurs.
After the litter is born, the sows and their piglets remain in their pen for
up to six weeks. After the four to six week lactation time period, the
piglets are weaned and removed from their mother to have their own
pen for a period of approximately one to two weeks. This is so that they
can adjust to not having their mother as a source of nutrition. Three to
five days after weaning the sow is returned to their outside paddock to
be bred again. The piglets remain in the barn for an additional two to
four weeks and usually get supplemented with grain. This is done to
compensate for proteins that they would have been receiving from their
mothers milk. At the appropriate time, usually between two and three
months old, the pigs move to outside shelters or place directly into
their own paddock where they have room to grow, be free, and be one
with mother earth.
Most of our paddocks have been wiped clean of almost all of their
vegetation especially during the colder months due to the fact that we
have been continually raising pigs in these areas for nearly one
hundred years. However we do allow the lots to rest and regenerate so
that the pigs going into those areas have a clean and natural place to
grow. They love to root up rocks, wallow in mud holes, and run around
when they feel a little frisky. Each area has old trailers that shelter the
pigs either for sleeping or during inclement weather.
We have a daily routine of picking up food waste from local establishments and bringing the cargo back to the farm for further processing.
This ensures the freshest leftovers possible for our operation. We then have to cook the food to kill any pathogens that may be harmful
for the animals. It's quite a simple process but it is time consuming, and it does actually cost a lot of money to be able to do. When fuel
prices are high, it directly effects us because our trucks and other equipment run on diesel. One essential piece of equipment we run
daily is a massive steam boiler that enables us to inject the food waste barrels with extremely hot steam. By regulations from the USDA,
we have to maintain a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes. After a cooling off time period, the food waste is safe for
A very important part of this process is cleanliness. We try very hard to maintain a clean operation. But it is a pig farm and pigs keep the
place generally dirty looking. So we attempt the best we can by washing empty drums that the food is collected in, eliminating any debris
that may collect around the farm, and controlling the amount to food fed out to the animals so that spoilage does not occur. These
practices prevent or at least keep to a minimum any pest or vermin that could spread diseases harmful to the pigs. Also it allows the
animals to act naturally in environments that enhance their over all well being.
Did you know that over 6 million tons of discarded food goes to
waste in U.S. landfills every year? We are a family farm that
collects unused food scraps from local eateries such as
restaurants and college cafeterias. We help the environment by
recycling the food for swine consumption, which in turn provides
quality meat products for you! Our animals are not given growth
hormones and are raised free of unnecessary antibiotics. The
waste that the animals produced is collected in areas to be
composed and then returned back to our gardens or yours.
Inside the Farrowing Barn
Outside growing area
We are a licensed food scrap
facility and are inspected by
the state of Connecticut and
the United States Department
of Agriculture to regulate the
proper feeding and health of
our pigs. Unfortunately, not
all farmers that feed food
waste to their pigs are
licensed to do so. In
Connecticut, it is illegal. Our
farm is one of three legal
facilities in the state able to
have this practice. Our herds
health status is monitored
and the sows and boars are
blood tested by the state to
ensure they are free from