Pigs as pets Fancy putting up with a porker?

Janet Devereux of Pigs Inn Heaven gives some point­ers to those think­ing of keep­ing pigs as pets

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE -

‘It took sev­eral weeks to gain Ol­lie’s trust, but he is now a healthy, very cheeky and af­fec­tion­ate pig’

Pigs Inn Heaven is a ho­tel and care home for myth­i­cal mi­cropigs, Kune Kune, pot bel­lied pigs and ter­rap­ins… a ho­tel for ca­sual res­i­dents and those pass­ing through, and care home for those in need of per­ma­nent care. We have been res­cu­ing an­i­mals for 11 years and re­hom­ing for five years and be­came a reg­is­tered char­ity in Novem­ber 2016. We set up Pigs Inn Heaven due to the pub­lic­ity of celebri­ties hav­ing a pet mi­cropig and car­ry­ing it around in a bag. At the time we said, “There is go­ing to be a growth in un­wanted pet pigs be­cause they will grow too large and be­come de­struc­tive in peo­ple’s homes.”

Pigs are ge­net­i­cally close to hu­mans and the fourth most in­tel­li­gent an­i­mal on earth. They can be trained, are very clean and will make their own beds and dig mud wal­lows with their snouts; the mud wal­low is to keep them cool in the sum­mer months, and their snouts are very strong. They can be trained and are very so­cia­ble an­i­mals, and like to live in groups of at least two.


They be­come un­wanted due to their size, and out­grow the sur­round­ings they live in. Please re­mem­ber ‘a mi­cropig is a piglet, then it grows’. In some cases pigs are dumped in a field or ill-treated to the point of near death, and ter­rap­ins/tur­tles are dumped in canals, park ponds and in streets.

A res­cu­ing and re­hom­ing scheme is in place de­pend­ing on what each an­i­mal’s needs are. Ter­rap­ins can no longer be re­homed. In 2016 The Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union have put in place reg­u­la­tions that it is now il­le­gal to sell or buy red eared slid­ers and yel­low belly ter­rap­ins. When ter­rap­ins come un­der our care it is for the re­main­der of their life and in cap­tiv­ity they can live ap­prox­i­mately be­tween 30-45 years.


We have res­cued pigs from flats, ter­raced houses, out­side space which is too small, and roam­ing the streets in towns where they have been dumped. Two of our worst res­cues were Apache and Ol­lie. We res­cued Apache from a house in Rochdale in Fe­bru­ary 2017 where the owner had split from his wife and he de­cided he didn’t want Apache any­more so in­stead of seek­ing help and advice he de­cided not to give him any food, wa­ter or straw to bed down on and ba­si­cally left him to die. The RSPCA were called in to ac­cess the

Dom’s heav­enly helpers

Reg­u­lar read­ers of Dom Joly’s col­umn may re­mem­ber that, when he had pig prob­lems with his pig Wil­bur, he used the ser­vices of the ex­cel­lent Pigs Inn Heaven and ex­changed his bad boy for a more sweet­na­tured kune-kune called Sir Fran­cis Ba­con.

Both pigs are now liv­ing hap­pily in their re­spec­tive homes.

Read Dom’s lat­est an­i­mal ad­ven­tures on Page 31.

sit­u­a­tion who then con­tacted Pigs Inn Heaven to see if we could help and take him im­me­di­ately. Apache was skin and bone and had sores all along his back and on his legs, the vet said the next 48 hours were crit­i­cal, thank­fully Apache sur­vived with lots of warmth, fresh food and wa­ter and around the clock care and now weighs ap­prox­i­mately 80kg, he is a very happy and healthy pig.

Ol­lie was res­cued from a pub in Mor­ley, Leeds; he was be­ing sold as bait for a dog fight. A lady over­heard the con­ver­sa­tion and of­fered the guy £30 to take Ol­lie. Once she got home she con­tacted us for advice and we picked Ol­lie up at the end of March 2018. Ol­lie was about eight weeks old and his skin was very in­flamed, itchy and scaly, we im­me­di­ately treated him for mites and con­tacted the vet who came out im­me­di­ately and treated Ol­lie. It took sev­eral weeks to gain Ol­lie’s trust, but he is now a healthy, very cheeky and af­fec­tion­ate pig.

To give a pig a home at Pigs Inn Heaven we charge a fee of £400 per pig – this cov­ers the ini­tial ve­teri­nary health check and the first month of care. Please, we can­not stress this enough: do your re­search, do not just go out and buy a pet pig just be­cause it looks cute.


Any­one think­ing of get­ting a pig please visit our sanc­tu­ary first as part of your re­search, you need to be able to look af­ter a pig for a long time, the life span of a pig is be­tween 10-20 years. It is very im­por­tant to do your re­search in ad­vance, if you are told from a breeder that a pig only grows as big as a Labrador please take into ac­count that a pig also grows wider, longer and stronger than a Labrador and in a lot of cases big­ger in height.

To re­home a pig you will need to have in place:

• CPH Num­ber & Herd Mark which you can ob­tain from the Ru­ral Pay­ments Agency (RPA) Tele­phone 03000 200 301 (with­out this in place a pig can­not be moved)

• At least 0.5 acre of land and hous­ing

out­side (a pig arc or shed)

• Be reg­is­tered with a farm vet

• Hard stand­ing for the pig to walk on to keep their trot­ters trimmed

• Mud area to wal­low in the sum­mer months

• Food, grass to graze, pig nuts, fresh

fruit and veg­eta­bles

• Fresh wa­ter daily

• Med­i­cal costs – worm­ing ev­ery six months, pest con­trol, in­jury, in­fec­tion, etc

• Groom­ing – reg­u­lar trot­ter trims if not by you, by your lo­cal farm vet; oil to keep their skin mois­turised as pigs do have nat­u­rally dry skin

• Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise to avoid obe­sity and

joint dys­func­tion

• Be able to spend time with them; pigs are very so­cia­ble an­i­mals • Stan­dard stock-proof wire fence or

elec­tric fenc­ing

• Make sure you wash your hands af­ter han­dling/pet­ting a pig

• A re­hom­ing check will be car­ried out prior to the pigs be­ing de­liv­ered; if your out­side space is not suit­able then your re­quest for re­hom­ing will be de­clined.

Apache was res­cued from a house in Rochdale in Fe­bru­ary 2017

Ol­lie was res­cued from a pub in Mor­ley, Leeds, as he was be­ing sold as bait for a dog fight

Pigs are very clean and will make their own beds and dig mud wal­lows with their snouts

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