Laws against supplying and feeding prohibited feed to poultry
It is illegal to feed prohibited feed for pigs and poultry (swill) to poultry. Penalties for swill feeding include fines and imprisonment.
Swill is material that:
- contains, or may contain, the carcass of a mammal or bird
- contains, or may contain, material from a mammal or bird (including meat, eggs, blood, faeces)
- has been in contact with either of these (including food or food scraps from a restaurant, hotel or home that may have been in contact with meat or meat products or other material from a mammal or bird).
Why swill is dangerous
Swill may contain viruses that cause serious diseases such as Newcastle disease or infectious bursal disease that can be passed on to poultry that are fed swill.
For similar reasons, you must also not feed swill to pigs.
This ban applies to all poultry, including pet poultry and poultry owned by hobby farmers:
- all birds of the order Galliformes (e.g. chickens, turkeys, pheasants, partridge, quail, guinea fowl, peafowl)
Do not feed these foods to poultry
Household, supermarket, commercial or industrial waste, including restaurant food, butcher shop waste and bakery waste, could contain banned items.
Do not feed to poultry:
- table scraps that contain swill
- meat pies
- sausage rolls
- bacon and cheese rolls
- Caesar salad with bacon pieces
- deli meats
- milk or milk products not of Australian origin (unless imported as feed for livestock)
- untreated used cooking oils and fats
- anything that has been in contact with swill through collection, storage or transport in contaminated containers (such as meat trays or takeaway food containers).
Food that can be fed to poultry
It is best to only feed your poultry commercially available poultry feed.
Legally you can feed the following to poultry:
- Products rendered in accordance with the current Australian standard for the hygienic rendering of animal products
- Meals made from meat, blood or bone that have been purchased from a reputable produce store or feed merchant (look for feed produced by an accredited feed supplier under a quality assurance program such as FeedSafe®)
- Milk of Australian origin or milk
- Milk products or milk by-products made in Australia and derived from milk of Australian origin
- Milk or milk products lawfully imported into Australia as feed for livestock
Used cooking oil
- Used cooking oil that was used for cooking in Australia and has been collected and processed in accordance with the National standard for recycling of used cooking fats and oils intended for animal feeds
Other food products
- Bakery or vegetable scraps that do not contain, and have had no contact with, eggs, meat or meat products
- Fruit, vegetables and cereals
Dispose of food waste responsibly
Businesses that prepare and sell food have a responsibility to dispose of food waste safely.
Food waste considered swill should be placed in an appropriate waste bin for collection and disposal.
Learn more about responsible disposal of food waste in this short video.
Report swill feeding or possible disease
Contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 if you suspect that:
- swill is being supplied to poultry owners
- poultry are being fed swill
- your poultry are showing any clinical signs of Newcastle disease or infectious bursal disease.
- Last reviewed: 8 Jun 2023
- Last updated: 8 Jun 2023