How to Adopt a Pig

How to Adopt a Pig

Many people like the idea of keeping a pig but don’t have the land, facilities or the time to do so. They also like the idea of owning just one pig which is never a good idea as pigs being are very social animals and therefore should be reared in groups or they become lonely and depressed.

Adopting a pig is a great idea for indviduals who want to know where there food comes from. With the various horse meat scandals and foreign imports food provenance is a big issue. Homeowners are becoming much more interested in the origins of their food and how it got to their table; is the pork they’re eating intensively reared indoors or raised outdoors? Is it their food full of additives? Or is it even exactly what is says it is.

More and more farms are launching “adopt a pig” schemes, for a set fee you can track your pig’s life from start to finish. You choose a pig, receive the usual photo packs, receive email updates, see it on the internet, and even have the chance to visit the pigs in their natural surroundings.

At the end, you can choose what you want back from your pig, and after 6 months will sit down to the perfect pork feast, knowing exactly where it all came from. This process is simple, easy and is the ultimate food provenance. As most farmers will tell you its a journey from field to fork.

If the idea of eating your own rare breed, free-range pork appeals to you and you would like to own your own pig, but do not have the time or space to properly care for it then adopting a pig is the ideal choice for you.

In most cases the adoption process takes 6-7 months before you have a freezer full of succulent, mouth-watering pork, with the added bonus of knowing exactly how and where it all came from. You could even share a pig with some friends and split the cost and the meat.

Advantages of Adopting a Pig

  • No capital outlay. Arks, fencing, water troughs etc. are all provided by the farm who offers the Pig Adoption
  • You will not need to bother with all the paperwork (movement records, medicine records, holding numbers etc) as those will be dealt with easily by the Farm.
  • You do not need to force yourself out of bed on a cold, dark morning with driving rain and freezing cold in order to feed your hungry pig.
  • There will be no unexpected vet’s bills, we take care of these.

What Meat Do You Get From Your Adopted Pig?

CLick the image below to see the various cuts you get from a fully grown pig:

Cuts of Meat from a Pig

How Do I Adopt a Pig?

The best thing to do is Google some local farms (not many have websites but you maybe able to find their contact details) and then you can contact them to see if they offer a pig adoption scheme.

Some farmers have embraced technology and have set up websites offering their pig adoption services, simple google: pig adoption + your local area and see what comes up. Chances are there will be a farm offering it in your local area as adopting a pig grows in popularity.

If you run a pig adoption scheme on your farm and want to be listed on our site, please contact us with details about your adoption scheme and we’ll publish it here.

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Pig Feed Suppliers: Where To Buy Pig Feed

Pig Feed Suppliers

Pigs usually require feeding twice a day. This can very sometimes due to the breed of pig, the age of it or whether it’s in a fertile state.

If you’ve got a wide open space then a foraging pig will get some of its food from the environment such as grass, acorns, worms and if you live near an orchard even apples, which is why the Gloucestershire Old Spot got the nickname Orchard Pig 🙂

Despite pigs being able to fend for themsleves if you want a healthy animals that produces the best quality meat at the end of it’s life it is important to supplement this with high quality pig feed.

Using pig feed ensures that the pig receives all the nutrients it requires. The problem is of course, finding a reliable pig feed supplier. Just like when buying food for yourself, you want to know where your pig feed has come from and what’s in it.

Types of Pig Feed

There are many types of pig feeds available and they are all made with different ingredients to ensure a balance diet for different needs.

For weaners there are basically 3 types of pig feed available, they start on something known in the industry as pig creep feeds and that’s ideal for weaners between 5 and 15 weeks. They then progress onto grower rations which are lower in protein and then onto finisher rations which of course takes them through the final stages of growth.

It’s always advisable to read the pig feed manufacturer’s descriptions to see the weight range of pig each feed has been created for.

ig feed is sold in many different forms such as pencils, pellets, cakes, nuts and rolls etc. These are just vairations as to how the mix has been shaped, and has no impact on the the nutrient content. The choice is really yours with that one, but the larger shapes like rolls tend to be better in outdoor weather conditions. Especially in damp conditions.

Pig Feed Prices

The cost of pig feeds varies widely between pig feed companies and swine feed manufacturers, buying locally will usually help save on delivery costs so head over to Google and run some searches for pig feed suppliers in your area – keep it simple – searches like “pig feed suppliers in lancashire, pig feed suppliers northern ireland, pig feed suppliers north west” will usually yield the best results.

And you’ll be supporting local businesses which can only be a good thing.

How to Increase Pig Feed Efficiency

Pig feed is expensive so here are some tips on making your pig feeding processes more efficient:

  • Don’t scimp on the quality of feed post weaning
  • Don’t overfeed pigs protein that are heavier than 80KG
  • Maximise feed intakes, especially in the smaller breed pigs – ensure water supply, stocking density and feed space
  • Buy feed in bulk – cheaper prices and cheaper delivery costs.

Things to Look out for in a Pig Feed Supplier

  • Check they are part of the Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS)
  • Try and support family owned businesses
  • Google the company and check to see if there are any reviews or feedback from customers

List of Pig Feed Suppliers

Here’s a list of pig feed suppliers to get you started:

  • Duffields – manufacturers of animal feeds from strategically placed mills which are UFAS approved.
  • Mole Valley – started in 1960 by a small group of farmers around South Molton who were concerned by the discriminatory practices and the large margins being taken by many of their input suppliers.
  • Massey Feeds – family business with over 100 years experience with a reputation for investing in the latest technology to produce animal feeds.

If you would like to add your site to this pig feed suppliers list please contact us.

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Keeping Pigs – What You Need To Know

Keeping Pigs - Advice for Beginners

It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning on keeping just one pet pig or starting a commercial heard of pigs you have to be registered as a pig keeper with the Defra’s Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratoties Agency (AHVLA).

This law exists because in the event of a disease outbreak, it’s imperative that the precise location of all livestock like pigs is known in order to control and eradicate the disease and virus before it spreads.

You place both your own and other livestock in the immediate area at risk if you do not register your holding as a pig keeper or report “notifiable diseases”.

Even a micro pig is bound by the same laws, so you need to understand the laws around feeding, tagging and moving them from place to place. In this article we’ll look at why you should think about keeping a pig in the first place and what you need to do should you decide to make the leap to looking after livestock.

Why Keep A Pig?

Pigs have probably been around for as long as we have. They have certainly formed part of the staple human diet for thousands of year and there are very good reasons for this.

A key reason behind choosing to keep a pig is that basically; they provide good food. “You can eat everything but the oink” is often quoted by Butchers and Farmers and it is true! Pork is a hugely popular meat and traditionally and widely enjoyed pig meat products include the joint for the Sunday lunch, the Christmas ham from the back leg or the neck and of course the ever popular bacon sandwich.

Aside from been an excellent food source, pigs are a great starting point for a beginner to learn the ropes of keeping livestock.

After some careful planning and preparation, and when treated properly, pigs are relatively trouble-free to rear.

There was a time, not so long ago, when many houses kept a pig which they fattened up for Christmas. Pigs are not as big as cows, which are difficult to move and control or as small as sheep, that are too easy to move themselves and too difficult to control.

Pigs can be kept in small numbers in quite small areas. Compared to other livestock they are relatively inexpensive and easy to feed.

A well looked after pig tends to be a healthy pig, and healthy pigs tend to be robust, disease free and if you do decide to eat it, extremely tasty.

In a nutshell pigs are a great animal to keep because they fertilise soil, clear the ground, eat vegetable waste and of course produce lovely quality meat.

Registering Your Herd and Small Holding

It’s not as simple as buying a pig and then off you go, you also need to deal with the legislative side and that’s always the best place to start.

Of course regulation vary from country to country so it’s always wise to contact your local department of agriculture.

If you’re like us and live in England, you need to contact the Rural Payments Agency, which is a subset of Defra.

Once you have liased with the RPA you will get a County Parish Holding (CPH) number, this is also called an gricultural holding number.

Once you have your CPH number, make sure you contact Animal Health, another subet DeFRA that was formed from the State Veterinary Service and a number of other related organisation. Animal health will provide you with a Pig Herd Number and explain about the relevant movement licences and the various bits of other legislation you need to know about. They will also send you their Pig Welfare Guide.

Once you have that sorted, you’re good to go and start keeping pigs, so let’s look at what you need to know:

What Do Pigs Need

What Do You Need to Keep Pigs

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Although they don’t need a four poster bed and en suite bathroom, Pigs do need certain things to feel comfortable. Before deciding to keep a pig, you have to think about whether or not you can provide the following:

  • A large area of land – obviously the bigger the better but you ideally need half an acre to keep two pigs happy
  • Some form of shelter for keeping pigs overnight
  • A strong or electric fence to stop the pigs wandering off
  • Plenty of straw for their bedding
  • If you are thinking of breeding pigs you also need to provide some protection for sows while they are giving birth to their piglets.

Feeding and Watering Pigs

Like humans, Pigs need constant access to clean drinking water so one of your first purchased should be a sturdy trough to keep them happy. It’s very important to remember that it now illegal to feed pigs with waste food from your kitchen, including vegetable scraps.

If you have any questions about feeding pigs, you should ask your vet, feed supplier, or contact a pig society.

More information on pig feed is available in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) booklet on keeping pigs.

Choosing a pig

There are a wide variety of breeds of pig in the UK; many have certain characteristics that could affect your decision. By way of example British Saddlebacks are very tame and Tamworths produce good bacon.

Some things to consider when choosing a breed of pig are:

  • The type of pork it will produce
  • The size it will grow to
  • How tame or unruly it is likely to be
  • Personal choice / preference

Buying Pigs

Buying a Pig

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There are various magazines and adverts that contain pigs for sale. Dig around on this site or use Google to find a reputable site.

You should always ensure that the seller has experience with pigs and will give you the necessary documents.

When you go Pig viewing, always try and look for the following:

  • Pigs that have a glossy coat
  • Pigs that are alert
  • Pigs that interact well with other pigs

Moving pigs

You need a licence and to fill out a particular form whenever pigs are moved from one place to another, including bringing them to your onw small holding or land.

In most cases, you can move pigs under the ‘general licence for the movement of pigs’. The licence document tells you what to do before, during and after the journey. Your pigs should be fit and healthy to travel, and they should be in a suitable housing / container for the journey.

You must follow the following steps when moving pigs:

  • The person selling the pigs must give you an AML2 ‘report of a pig movement’ form with their own details completed
  • Send a copy to your local council within three days of receiving the pigs
  • Make sure the completed form travels with the pigs
  • You must then fill in your details on the AML2 form
  • If you do not receive the AML2 form you should not move the pigs

What To Do Once You Have Your Pigs

When the pigs have arrived on your land, the law says you cannot move any pigs, even those already there, for 20 days.

If you already have cows, sheep or goats on your land, you must not move them anywhere for six days after your new pigs arrive. This helps prevent diseases spreading.

The next thing to do is register your pigs with your Animal Health Office. You will be given an identification number called a herd mark (as pointed out above).

Pig Identification

All pigs over one year old must have identification such as a paint mark, tattoo or ear tag with your herd mark on.

Remember, Pigs of any age must have an identification mark or tag if you intend to take them to a market, slaughterhouse or another smallholding.

Pig Health and Disease

As the registered keeper of pigs you are responsible for the health of your pigs, and you should always contact your vet if you spot any sign of disease. There are a number of diseases that can affect pigs, some of which can be even be passed onto humans.

By law, you must contact your local health office immediately if you or your vet detect any of the following serious (or notifiable) diseases:

  • Foot and mouth disease
  • Classical swine fever
  • Aujeszky’s disease
  • African swine fever

Other diseases that affect pigs in the UK include:

  • Salmonella
  • Streptococcal infections
  • Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS)
  • Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS)
  • Infertility
  • Pneumonia
  • Diarrhoea

You can also register with Animal Health to receive alerts about outbreaks of disease and advice on how to deal with them and we’d always recommend that just to stay in the loop.

Pet Pig Walking Licences

Remember even if you are just planning on keeping any pigs as pets or as a hobby you are subject to the same rules and
regulations as pigs kept in a commercial herd, and they must be legally identified.

As a pet pig owner you must never move your pig(s) or walk them without obtaining a walking licence from your local AHVLA Regional Office.

Your route will need to be pre approved:

  • If the Veterinary Officer at the AHVLA Regional Office believes there is a risk with your
    route it will not be approved.
  • Routes may not be approved due to proximity to: a livestock market, high health status
    pig farms or fast food outlets, etc.
  • If it is approved, you are issued with a licence that needs to be renewed annually.
  • The licence must be carried with you during the walk.

If you have any questions about keeping pigs please leave a comment below or contact us via the contact form.

Micro Pigs – Frequently Asked Questions

Micro Pigs

Do you have a list of questions about micro pigs? How much do they cost? Where can you buy a micro pig? Here’s some frequently asked question to help you out:

What Actually is a Micro Pig?

We’ll start with the most common question, “what is a micro pig”. Basically a micro pig is a miniature pot bellied pig. The name “Micro Pig” was created by the media when they became fashionable and it just stuck with the breed. Before this term was coined they were commonly known as miniature pot bellied pigs.

There’s no real official definition but DEFRA states that ‘a micro pig is an animal specially bred to be smaller in adulthood than other pig species’

How Much are Micro Pigs?

The price of micro pigs varies from breeder to breeder and where abouts in the UK are. Strictly speaking you will pay anywhere between £200-£800 each depending on age, sex and colour. Most micro pig sellers will offer a deal if you were to buy a pair rather than just one.

If you are looking for breeding stock they can be anywhere between £5,000 to £10,000. Any male micro pigs you buy that aren’t breeding stock will come castrated.

What Do I need to do in order to Keep a Micro Pig?

The most important aspect of keeping a micro pig is a responsible owner who will remain committed to caring for their pet and its ongoing welfare. We always say, a micro pig is for life, not just for Christmas.

We’d recommend you read our guide on keeping pigs for everything you need to know.

But as a snapshop you will also need an adequate secure outdoor enclosure of at least 36 square meters and to provide waterproof housing i.e a small pig ark or large dog kennel.

There is also a legal requirement for buying and keeping micro pigs, this is called a CPH (Council Parish Holding) number. CPH registration is is free of charge and your application is made to the RPA (Rural Payments Agency).

Cute Micro Pigs Gallery

How Big do Micro Pigs Get?

Because Micro pigs are cross bred this means that they can vary quite significantly in their size and shape. Some can be as small as 13″ high or in some cases as tall as a medium sized dog like a labrador. Which will be about to knee height of a human.

Our top tip is whenever you are planning purchasing a micro pig you should go and view the parents. This will give you a good idea of size that you will eventually grow to. Micor pigs are not fully grown until they reach 3 years of age.

How long does a micro pig live for?

The average life span of a micro pig is between 12-15 years. Some of course can live longer than this if you take very good care of them.

How much does it cost to keep a micro pig?

The beauty of Micro pigs is that they are very easy and cheap to keep. An adult micro pigs main diet consists of a pig pellet which is sold in a large sacks from pet stores of pig feed suppliers for around £10 a bag.

If you aren’t over feeding your pig this should last one pig around a month, other costs include treats which can be supplemented with their pellets such as carrots, apples etc.

Does my Micro Pig need any vacinations?

We can’t stress enough at how important it is that your micro pig is regulary wormed every six months. This can be done through vaccination or taken as a natural food supplement that is added to their food.

Can I take my Micro Pig on a walk?

Whilst Micro pigs do not need daily walking, you can take them on walks if you so wish. If you decide to walk your pig you will need a walking license which can be obtained from DEFRA.

What Can I feed my Micro Pig?

Specialist pig feed is always recommended, you should not under any circumstances feed your pig any of the following:

  • No toxic plants (these should be removed from their living area)
  • No meats (i.e. cat food, dog food, et)
  • No chocolate
  • Household waste, leftovers
  • No alcohol
  • Any other fruit and veg which has been in contact with meats or eggs

What are the daily requirements of keeping a Micro Pig?

  1. Freedom to express normal behaviour – Provision of sufficient and appropriate space, interest and the company of other pigs.
  2. Freedom from hunger and thirst – Ready access to fresh water and a balanced ration which maintains full health and vigour.
  3. Freedom from discomfort – Provision of a suitable environment and a comfortable resting area.
  4. Freedom from fear and distress – Sympathetic stockmanship, constant environmental conditions and freedom from aggression by other pigs.
  5. Freedom from pain, injury and disease – Prevention where possible and prompt diagnosis and treatment when injuries or disease occur.

Are Micro Pig Clean Animals?

Absolutely, it’s such a misconception that pigs are dirty animals. Pigs are naturally very clean animals. They will never soil their sleeping area and will always
use the toilet outside. Pigs are cleaner than many humans!

Can I keep my Micro pig on it’s own?

In our opinion pigs should be kept in pair or more that is why many micro pig sellers will do discounts for pairs. They do bond well with other animals especially dogs and cats so that is always an option.

If you are going to keep a micro pig on its own you need to make sure it has contact with other animals, ideally a dog/cat with a good temperament. Any micro pig breeder, should and will in many cases refuse to sell you a micro pig if it is going to be completely left on it own and have no contact with other animals.

Got any more questions about Micro Pigs? Feel free to contact us.

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How To Raise Pigs

How to Raise a Pig

Go back around 75 years or so and there was a time when every rural farmhouse had a pig or two in the back garden they were fattening up for the winter to enjoy with their Christmas dinner.

In no time at all pigs almost disappeared from rural Britain to the industrialization and commercialisation of the pig business. Pigs were big business and raised in huge houses by corporate farms who sold directly to supermarkets. These pigs were selected for their quick growing ability in a cramped and almost inhospitable environment.

They aren’t selected for their taste or the quality of their meat like rare breed pigs. And it’s a sad day when pigs are chosen for their profitability as that gives pigs a bad name; this has caused pork to become almost tasteless. It becomes dry, like cardboard and has so many additives that it’s completely unnaturral.

Make a Change – Raise Your Own Pigs

If you’re lucky enough to have eaten home raised pork then you know what proper pork tastes like; it’s juicy, tender and full of flavour. So if you have some land, why not raise a pig or two?

If you’ve decided to take the leap of faith and learn how to raise pigs then the first thing you need to do is choose you’re rare breed of pig such as Tamworth Pigs, Gloucester Old Spots etc. Each pig has different characteristics. Match the breed with your goals and your location. More on that here. And you can also do a search on the internet to find suppliers who will give you all the details you need. Once you have chosen a pig breed and learned about the legal requirements you are ready to go.

Prepare For Your Pigs Arrival

The worst thing you can do is bring the pig home first and then figure out what it needs. If you don’t plan for its arrival, you will get caught short, I guarantee it! The first thing you will need is a good fence, pigs are notorious for being great at escaping. They say if it’s water tight then it’s pig proof so remember that, their curious nature gets them into a whole world of trouble.

Your pig will also need sheltering, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just a three-sided shed will do with tin roofing. It’s best if you can move it should you need to for cleaning and if it gets muddy inside.

It’s also important that it has plenty ventilation so leave one end open. Try build it in a shady spot as pigs can get too hot in the summer so they love somewhere they can cool off.

Electric fences

The best quality pork comes from pigs that have freedom to roam. Keeping them in a pen is both in my opinion kind of cruel and also costs you more money in feed because you prevent the pig from foraging for its own feed.

For this to work an electric fence that spans the perimeter of a pasture works best. Pigs are quick learners so although they may try to escape they soon learn to respect the fance.


A pig that eats lots of fresh greens and gets plenty of exercise will have more muscle and less fat than a pig standing in a pig sty eating high carbohydrate grains all day.

Although your pig will get plenty of nutrients from foraging, vegetation is not enough for a growing pig so you will need to add a high protein diet.

It’s wise to invest in a balanced feed made especially for growing pigs. Read my thoughts and information on choosing a pig feed supplier and what to buy here.

Potential Health issues When Raising Pigs

Young pigs are often susceptible to getting intestinal worms that can stunt their growth and weaken their immune system.

It’s recommended to worm them at weaning and keep them out on clean pasture, that way they shouldn’t need it again before slaughtering.

Processing The Pig Meat

One of the most frequently asked questions by someone who is planning on raisig pigs is: “How do I eventually get the meat from my pet pig?” (Assuming he’s not just a pet pig, which can be equally rewarding)

Different breeds of pigs will grow at different rates, this can also be effected byhow much you feed but strictly speaking they should be at around 200 pounds by six months of age. If you let it get much over 200 pounds, it will start putting on more fat than meat.

To weigh your pig the best way is to use a special measuring tape that you use to measure your pig and it will guide you through the calculation of determining their weight. Measure it every month so you can keep a close track of things.

You can of course choose to slaughter your own big, there are plenty of guides and books on how to do it, but if you’re not that type of person then you may want to leave it to the professionals and find a local processor.

Why Raise Your Own Pigs?

If you have the land and time, raising your own pork can be very rewarding. You will find that it tastes so much better than supermarket pork and it is free of additives because you ultimately control what goes into your pig.

Quick Checklist for Raising Pigs

  • Have you got a draught free shelter?
  • Are your fences and buildings escape proof?
  • Do you have a water supply, if not, can you get water to your pigs?
  • Do you have storage for food and bedding?
  • If you plan on eating your pigs where will you get them slaughtered?

And remember as long as you do your homework on how to raise a pig and and are well prepared then pigs are very easy to keep and you will have hours of fun. Hope this helps!

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