Owning a micro pig was a popular craze back in 2009-2010 when celebrities such as Paris Hilton and the Beckhams admitted to owning micro pigs themselves. But should we allow pigs to live as pets and what is it really like to own a micro pig?
In This Blog
The Care Involved Owning a Micro Pig
Whilst they are called micro pigs, do not be fooled by the ‘micro’ term used in their name. Afterall, they don’t stay micro for long. In fact, they can weigh as much as 140kg! To put this into perspective, they weight more on average than any of the largest dog breeds in the world!
This is half the weight of a classic pig which can weigh up to 300kg. But that is still a very heavy pig which is meant to be a micro pig! With a pig weighing that much, it is understandable that they require enough space.
RSPCA have been very clear that they are against keeping pigs at your home and they are to be only kept at an area with adequate space. The minimum space they require is 36 metres squared.
They should have access to shade during the summer to prevent heat stroke and burning. But on the other hand, they need to have a hut or a home they can get access to 24/7 which has plenty of straw so they can curl into and keep warm.
They’re not designed to regulate their own body heat as they lack sweat glands, or a thick coat so constant monitoring is required.
Pigs love mud! It is a well-known fact that in the summer months, pigs love to cover themselves in mud and lay in whatever puddle they can find.
Whilst this is quite easy for them to do so on a farm, where there is mud everywhere, it may not be as simple in a back garden. Plus, do you really want to have your whole garden represent a mud bath?
Another problem with keeping a pig in the garden is the lack of flowers you will be able to have. If they can see them, they will try and eat them. Any owner of a micro pig needs to be aware of the plant types which can have an adverse effect on your pet’s health.
Some of these plants listed below can make your pet pig sick:
- Sweet peas
Wherever you house your micro pig, it needs to be secure and free of any vegetation, rubbish or poisonous plants and weeds. Never leave them alone or you may come back to a very destroyed area!
They should always live with at least one other pig and always spay or neuter them as soon as they are old enough.
What Can I Feed Them?
To keep your pet micro pig at their healthiest, you must feed them a correct, well-balanced diet. You also need to know what you can and cannot legally feed to your pig. That right, there are items of food which is illegal to feed your pig!
You are legally not allowed to feed your micro pig any waste food. This can include anything from meat, blood, or any other item of food from any animal.
Another thing you are legally not allowed to feed your pig is leftovers. Whether your leftovers contained meat, or it is simply just vegetables, you are not allowed.
Their diet should consist of pig food made from an approved pet food merchant. The food should be suited to their age, breed, and weight. Feed like this from Allen & Page is suitable for your micro pig.
Always be sure that they have access to fresh water and both their water container and feed bowl is cleaned out daily. When winter hits, their water is very likely to freeze. Be sure to dig down and remove all the ice. Also, do not add chemicals to reduce ice build up as your micro could be exposed and be harmed.
Are Micro Pigs Healthy?
Unfortunately, pet micro pigs do not reach the same age as your standard farm pigs would. A happy and healthy pig on a farm can live up to 10 years or more, with some living to the mature age of 20 years.
But your micro pig in your garden may only live to 5 years old. This is because of the complex health issues what can come with mutating pigs into becoming smaller.
Pigs love their food, hence the saying, “eat like a pig”. A pig which is living in a large field, won’t have the worry of obesity, but a pet pig living in a smaller area will have the added risk of becoming obese which can increase the likelihood of developing arthritis. This is something which definitely wants to be avoided.
Is it legal in the UK to own a Micro Pig?
The short answer to this question is yes. It is legal for you to own a micro pig in the UK. But, for you to legally own one as a pet, you must register as a pig keeper by getting a county parish holding number from the Rural Payments Agency. As well as doing this, you must also inform the Animal and Plant Health Agency that you are bringing a pig onto your property a minimum of 30 days prior to the pig arriving.
Once you have contacted all the relevant associations, you will be given a herd mark from APHA which will require you to microchip or identify each time the micro pig leaves your property.
If you wish to take your pet micro pig for a walk, you will require a licence which you can request off APHA. But, if you live near a fast-food restaurant, livestock market, or a pig farm don’t be surprised if you get turned down.
Walking your pig near any of these venues can pose a health risk to your pig, other pigs, and members of the public. Be sure to have your licence on you each time you walk, and your pig must be tattooed or marked with their identification details.
Whilst many of us think that micro piglets are cute and look like a great pet to have, they are in fact more difficult than you may think. Not only do they grow and weigh a lot once they have fully matured, but they come with an array of health conditions and there is a lot of legalities to go through before your micro pig can step foot on your property.
One more thing you may want to consider before making the move on owning a pig, is the area you live in. Do you live in a built-up area with neighbours all around you? Pigs don’t smell pleasant, and they aren’t the quietest so consider your neighbours and consider what they may think to having a pig next door.
If you are still going ahead with owning your very own micro pig, always get it from a reputable breeder or farmer. Do your research on the breeder prior to purchase.