Laws against supplying and feeding swill to poultry

Legislation in Queensland's Biosecurity Act 2014 outlaws feeding swill to poultry. This applies to all poultry, including pet poultry and poultry owned by hobby farmers. Penalties for swill feeding include fines and imprisonment.

Swill may contain bacteria or viruses that cause serious diseases that can be passed on to poultry that are fed swill. For this reason, swill must not be fed to poultry.

For similar reasons, you must also not feed swill to pigs

This guide for poultry owners and food outlets explains what you can and can't feed to poultry.

What is swill?

Swill is material that:

  • contains, or may contain, the carcass of a mammal or bird
  • contains, or may contain, material derived 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 derived from a mammal or bird).

Some exceptions are permitted. Animal materials that are not swill and can legally be fed to poultry are:

What is poultry?

Poultry include all birds of the order Galliformes (including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, partridge, quail, guineafowl, peafowl), ducks, geese, pigeons and doves.

Food that must not be fed to poultry

Food waste from various sources could contain swill. Household, commercial or industrial waste (including restaurant food, butcher shop waste and bakery waste) could contain banned items.

Do not feed these foods to poultry:

  • table scraps
  • meat pies
  • sausage rolls
  • bacon and cheese rolls
  • Caesar salad with bacon pieces
  • deli meats
  • eggs
  • 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

Legally, you can feed poultry:

  • milk or milk products of Australian origin or legally imported into Australia as feed for livestock
  • bakery or vegetable scraps that do not contain, and have had no contact with, eggs, meat or meat products
  • fruit, vegetables and cereals
  • 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®)
  • rendered animal fat and treated cooking oils in accordance with Queensland's Biosecurity Act 2014.

If in doubt, only feed your poultry commercially available poultry feed.

Responsible disposal of food waste

Businesses that prepare and sell food have a responsibility to dispose of food waste safely.

Food waste that would be 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.

Transcript of video

Report swill feeding

Contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 if you suspect that:

Suspected cases of Avian influenza and Newcastle disease can also be reported to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Also consider...