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What a pig needs
If you're thinking about offering a home to a pig, below is a checklist of things to consider. Click on the underlined headings for more information.
Land & space - Is there enough to meet enrichment needs such as rooting, exploring and wallowing? What types of space are there? And do you have provision for periods of wet weather and mud?
Consent from landlord and/or neighbours where needed - Also check deeds for any restrictions on the land/property.
Fencing - Stock proof or similar. Pigs are strong and often escape artists!
Shelter - We recommend reinforced wooden shelters and not metal pig arks.
Holding Number (CPH) & Herdmark - You need to have these to legally have pigs on your land.
Moving pigs & Keeping records - You need your CPH and Herdmark number to be able to apply for a Movement or Walking Licence to legally move your pigs. And you must keep annual records of the pigs on your land.
Able to cover grooming, medical and other costs - These will vary depending on size and age of pig but we give an indication of what you should budget for.
Feeding pigs - The law does not allow the feeding of kitchen waste to pigs. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/apha-warns-not-to-feed-kitchen-scraps-to-farm-animals-because-of-disease-risk
Meeting social needs - Pigs need friends!
Managing pigs with other species - Dogs and pigs should never be left unsupervised and horses can be scared of pigs. You need to think about your whole human and other species family when you introduce pigs.
Basic personal care - Hoof trimming, skincare, and daily checks.
Basic health care & vets - Things to watch out for, worming, poisoning, plus have you got a pig experienced vet. It is very hard to find good pig vets, especially for pet pigs, in the UK.
Neutering & spaying - Discuss with your vet if this has not been done whether it is possible. It will depend on the age and size of the pig as the larger the pig the greater risks of something serious going wrong. Both mean you won't have to deal with rampaging hormones and will protect the pigs long-term from certain tumours, such as uterine in females. However in the UK spaying is uncommon so you may find it difficult to find a vet close enough who is experienced to do it.
Willingness to commit to lifetime care, including cover for holidays and sickness - Who will look after your pigs when you are sick or away?
Be aware and manage behaviours - The Minipig Info website has useful information on what to look out for and steps to take, click here.
Contact us if need to rehome
When they die - Pet pigs are treated in the same way as Fallen livestock and subject to the same rules.
If you are new to caring for pigs, we highly recommend visiting and perhaps volunteering at a sanctuary or rescue to get a better understanding of what it involves. Also, if having thought it through you realise that you are not in a position to offer a good home, please do consider sponsoring or adopting a pig instead. There are many pigs in sanctuaries and rescues, and demands for spaces for more all of the time, so helping with their care financially makes a real difference. You will usually receive a photo of your pig and information in return. Obviously we have 20 pigs at PITW who love to be adopted but if you aren't local and would rather find somewhere closer to you, here are a list of just a few places you might choose to support instead or as well as. Please note that visits may be only on specific open days rather than all year round, check the individual websites for details.
Brinsley Animal Rescue - sponsor and visit
Brockswood - sponsor and visit
Dean Farm Trust - sponsor and visit
Margaret Green Animal Rescue - sponsor and visit
https://www.retreatanimalrescue.org.uk/ - sponsor and visit
https://www.thefarmanimalsanctuary.co.uk/ - sponsor and visit
For more guidance on caring for pigs, check out the following online seminars, books and websites. (Please note we are not responsible for the information provided by them, so if you read something that you are concerned about, do let us know by contacting the Rehoming Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, laws and some issues like diseases relating to pigs vary from country to country so please bear this in mind when looking at resources from a non-UK country.
The online New Pig Parent Seminar is run by the Pig Placement Network in the US. Suitable for those simply interested in pigs through to reasonably experienced pig carers. Please note a couple of things under health aren’t relevant to the UK - Dippity Pig & Rabies. And any legal aspects won’t be relevant to the UK. You can learn things like why males take longer to pee 😂 & therefore why they are prone to urinary issues 😢, and that you can clicker train pigs to learn 8-10 basic colours. It is free but they welcome a donation to help fund their work with pigs in need. In 2021 they are also planning to offer topic-specific seminars. https://www.pigplacementnetwork.org/events/ .You can find PPN on Facebook and Instagram if you want to keep up with their work and future events.
There are a large number of books available on pig keeping. Sadly these are all pretty much geared towards smallholders and farmers and so include sections on breeding, raising for meat, and slaughter. The books we recommend below are different in that they are about living with pigs and will give you a better understanding of pigs' needs and the fun and challenges of meeting them!
The Unexpected Genius of Pigs by Matt Whyman - our top recommendation which looks at the psychology and behaviour of pigs with plenty of fun anecdotes. His first book, which is about his experiences of having pig members of the family, is also worth reading. There is also a very funny and educational interview with Matt Whyman about his pig books here on the Mini Pig Podcast.
The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery - U.S. book about Christopher Hogwood, a sick piglet who became a much loved part of his community.
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