Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Keeping Your Pigs Healthy and Safe

Program Contact: Loren Imes, Master Gardener/Food Systems Coordinator
(360) 639-6059 •
Photo of two piglets

Raising Healthy Pigs

Before you decide to raise pigs for fun or for profit, learn about important health concerns facing pigs.

African Swine Fever

A very deadly disease called African Swine Fever (AFS) is currently affecting pigs in Africa, Asia and Europe, and is a major concern of U.S. pork producers. While not a threat to human health and not currently found in the U.S., AFS is highly contagious and a would have a significant impact on U.S. livestock producers, their communities and the economy if it were found here.

Learn more about African Swine Fever:

The disease spreads several ways, including through feeding of human food waste, also known as “Garbage Feeding.” Both the USDA and Washington State Department of Agriculture discourage this practice and require livestock owners to have a license to feed human food waste to livestock to prevent the spread of several diseases, including AFS, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow disease”), Foot and Mouth Disease, and Trichinosis.

Garbage feeding is different than feeding scraps. Scraps are an allowable food source. Here are the important differences from WSDA’s Education and Outreach Specialist, Susan Kerr:

  • Garbage: human food waste that contains or has had contact with meat, poultry, or fish, including waste from restaurants, school cafeterias, food processing plants, and homes.
  • Scraps: excess, damaged, or expired bakery items, dairy products, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and other non-meat foodstuffs.

Learn more about garbage feeding and the nutritional needs of pigs:

Buying Pigs

For those new to raising livestock, buying healthy and locally bred livestock is a wise investment. Purchase all animals including pigs from reliable sources and isolate any new arrivals for 30 days before mixing with other animals to help prevent illness. WSDA offers important advice about the concerns of purchasing pigs from out-of-state.

Caring for Your Pigs

Many resources are available to help you care for your pigs.

Always seek your veterinarian’s advice on managing and caring for your animals. Veterinarians that care for pigs in Island County include:

Central Whidbey Veterinary Clinic