Land & Space
Ideally we would love it if every pig, like ours, has around half an acre each to enjoy, but we know with the number of pigs in need this isn't always realistic.
We take into account a number of factors when we assess each home application, such as age and size of pig, and whether the home are around most of the time to provide alternative enrichment. In addition we take into account indoor areas, areas available on rotation and hardstanding, etc. Typically in farming and smallholding you’ll see the space requirements given are much smaller. This is because pigs raised for meat usually go to slaughter by the age of 6 months, so they don’t even make adult size. Please note we very rarely if ever rehome to an average back garden in a residential area because so many pigs from those sort of environments end up being put up for rehoming due to lack of space, mud, behavioural issues from lack of enrichment, and complaints from neighbours. We look at two key areas to assess land and space suitability: 1) the impact of the seasons on the land and 2) enrichment.
1) Pigs tend to tear up the ground with their rooting, as well as churning it up just by walking on it. In summer this isn’t too much of an issue when the ground is dry but in winter this can become something of a mud nightmare!! We have helped rehome several pigs because they were living in deep flooded mud with no dry areas. Much as pigs love a good wallow in the heat, being permanently stuck in cold mud in the winter is not good for them as they are prone to arthritis. Also as the carer, having to wade through knee-deep mud to look after them is not a pleasure! This means that you need enough space to be able to give them dry areas during the wetter months. This could include some hard-standing, especially around their shelters. If you have a large enough area, eg two paddocks, you can have them on one half and then switch to the other when the first area needs to rest and recover. This also gives the grass a chance to grow back for the pigs to munch on next time they’re moved there. This is why your average back garden is NOT a suitable home for a pig. If your land is clay or prone to water-logging, think especially carefully about how you will manage during times of heavy or prolonged rainfall.
2) Pigs are intelligent and inquisitive. They need a lot of enrichment and to be able to use natural behaviours. We don’t want a destructive and unhappy pig. The more space they have the bigger the area they have to explore and forage, the more smells to encounter and the more ground to root about in. If you can add in trees and a natural wallow, it’s piggy paradise!