Natural Worming for Pigs

How to deworm a pig naturally:

One of the major issues with raising pigs, be it commercial or organic, is worming. Pigs are susceptible to a multitude of worms, which brings us to the question.

How do I deworm a pig naturally?  or  What can I use to deworm a pig naturally?

While there are many commercial products available, the majority of them contain hazardous chemicals and even poison. Many of us have seen the labels on the drugs we use in our homes and farms that give distinct warnings on the use and storage of the drugs. Here is an exert of a  label from a major drug company that produces dewormers for livestock:

WARNING

“Not For Use In Humans. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. This product can cause irritation to skin, eyes, or mucous membranes. In case of accidental skin contact and/or clothing contamination, wash skin thoroughly with soap and water and launder clothing with detergent. In case of accidental eye contact, flush eyes with copious amounts of water. When direct inhalation occurs, cleanse lungs and respiratory passages with fresh air. In case of ingestion do not induce vomiting and seek medical attention immediately. If irritation or any other symptom attributable to exposure to this product persists, consult your physician.”

Why would anyone use a product that boldly states the poisonous effects it has on skin. And how can they promote a product known be hazardous to the skin. The last time I checked my pigs and cows all had skin. As a matter of fact, part of the butchering process involves removing the skin.

Then we have the other menagerie of dewormers that kill all the worms by injecting a poison into the muscle mass of the animal. While these are very effective at worm removal, they also have a withdrawal period. If you are giving your livestock a poison that is so strong that you have to wait 30 days to butcher the animal or you may poison yourself by eating the meat, one needs to question the other effects these chemicals have on the livestock they are injected into.

I recently read the warnings from a pour on deworming product which stated on the label,”Studies indicate that when moxidectin comes in contact with the soil it readily and tightly binds to the soil and becomes inactive. Free moxidectin may adversely affect fish and certain aquatic organisms. Do not contaminate water by direct application or by improper disposal of drug containers.”

What?  They are telling us that we can pour this on our animals and send them out to pasture where they walk through a pond and contaminate the water to the point that aquatic life will die? How is that an effective product? Sure it will kill the worms. And the fish and the plants, and then it will leach into the water supply and we all get to drink it. I can’t wait!!!

Until “Big Drug” comes up with a product that matches the amazing effects of those created by Mother Nature, I choose to use the natural worming methods. There are many herbs, fruits, and vegetables known to expel parasites. Of these, we have found garlic and rosemary to be the most effective. We also use diatamaceous earth which our feed mill mixes directly into the feed so the pigs get the advantage of a continuous natural dewormer, which is supplemented once a month by adding 2 tablespoons of garlic to their feed once a day.

Garlic has been used for thousands of years and it’s medicinal properties have been exploited by people around the world, not only for animals, but many of it’s curative properties can be used to treat humans as well. It was used during the Great plague of London not only as a cure, but as a preventative against the plague. Using garlic as a dewormer is a little more labor intensive, since you must mince it and mix it in the feed. Some pigs will eat the whole garlic head, but the majority of our pigs prefer it to be minced.

Rosemary is another great natural dewormer and is easily grown on any farm. I have seen Rosemary around homes that have literally grown into a hedge about 4 feet tall. By adding a handful of fresh Rosemary along with the garlic you can effectively control parasites in your swine. This mixture can also be used on other livestock but may need to be thoroughly mixed into the feed.

For the past 2 years we have used natural dewormers on our pigs with phenomenal results. Recently we took some stool samples to our veterinarian, with high hopes and some nervousness as to the results, and the tests came back negative for parasites. That’s right “negative”. The pigs diet of ground corn, soy, grain, vitamins, minerals, and pasture grass only needed the addition of diatamaceous earth and a once a month treatment of garlic and rosemary. Our pigs are kept outdoors on pasture where they forage and root in the dirt. The same place parasites like to hide. We do rotate pastures but it is a little pig farm, and the pastures don’t get a complete year to rest and dispose of the parasites. I can tell you how excited we were when the tests came back negative. We spent a lot of time worrying and praying that we weren’t killing the pigs by not giving them commercial dewormers. Even though they all appeared healthy and vibrant, we couldn’t see what was going on internally until it was time for the test.

Test number 2 was during butchering. The time came to send 2 pigs to the butcher. Both were over 250 lbs and had never been given a single shot. Not even iron. These pigs were a cross between a Berkshire and what I lovingly refer to as a junk pig. An old sow we’ve had for years that was from so many crosses nobody could figure out what she was. She was a great mother pig, and produced good meat pigs, but she would have been classified USDA grade 4 on appearance. The big day came and I couldn’t wait to see was going on inside the pigs. Sounds a little cruel putting it that way, but you never really know unless you take a look. I’ll skip the details and let you know that we inspected all the internal organs and found no signs of parasites. The organs looked great. Free from worms, vibrant in color, and healthy. I was amazed and a little giddy too, like a girl at her first prom sorta. Whatever, Brenda always laughs at my excitement. It worked, Holy Cow, it really worked. No parasites, healthy internals, and an overall healthy pig. And we didn’t have to give them poison to achieve this.

The dirty little secret to this marvel and lack of modern medicine is real simple. We add 20 pounds of Diatamaceous earth to 1000 pounds of feed. If you are only feeding 1 or 2 pigs you probably don’t want to buy 1000 pounds or more at a time. No worries, just mix 2 tablespoons of Diatamaceous earth in the pigs feed once a day. It takes almost 1000 pounds to get a pig from weaning to butcher weight so a 20 pound bag per pig from weaning to butcher.  Once a month, for a 7 day period, add 2 tablespoons minced garlic and rosemary. It’s that easy.

One problem for 4H – FFA show pigs, is the fact that many of these programs require a commercial dewormer. I would like to see that change, but these things take time. Most likely a 15 year study by a University to conclude that pigs on DE are apparently as healthy as those given poison, I mean commercial dewormers.

For those of us that are raising pigs ourselves for the mere piece of mind that we know what we’re eating, this method is completely viable and I must say that the meat quality wasn’t affected by the diatamaceous earth, garlic or rosemary. No runny meat, no funky taste, nothing at all except for great fresh pork. If you’re looking for an alternative to those commercial dewormers, give this a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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  1. [...]  Apparently, pigs are apt to get worms.  Conventional pigs are given meds to kill these worms.  Some say that these medications are hazardous not only to the environment, but are also so strong that [...]

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