New Pig Keeper’s Advice

I recently received an email from Catherine who has never had a pig before and is now a new pig keeper.

i was wondering if you could help me with some information. i own a farm where we just have cattle however a black pig has appeared and when we found out who owned it they said they didnt want it so i was going to keep it however i dont know the 1st thing about looking after pigs. Could you tell me do i need to get pig meal etc or does it get grass etc.
i would be very grateful if you could help. thanks

Hi Catherine,

You will need a holding number for the pig which you will have if you have cattle. You will need to inform defra that you have the pig and register it by contacting your local Animal Health Office who will issue with a herd number.That’s the official stuff.

Feeding your pig. Pigs love to forage for food and will eat grass and mud and clear waste ground for you if you have some! I would also feed the pig twice a day on a ration of pig pellets which you will be able to get from your local animal feed store. Depending on the age and what your intentions are for the pig will depend on the type of feed. Weaners will be on a milky pellet(4-8 weeks old) or growers pellet (8 weeks onwards)whereas an adult sow or boar would be on a sow breeders pellet. I have two sows and I feed mine sow breeders pellets at times but a cheaper alternative is to feed your pig milled barley with a breeder concentrate mixed in. If you change the feed from pellets to barley mix then try to change the feed gradually – although I’m sure you already know this.

The defra document A Guide For New Pig Keepers is quite useful and the ebook by Rebecca Hillman Raising Weaners for the table, has lots of really useful information. Click on this link to find info about the pig ebook.

Let me know how you get on. Hope this is helpful.
Kind regards

I am pleased to say that Catherine did reply, “Hi, thank you so much for your help i have been getting things sorted for the pig and hopefully it will have a long and happy life at my farm, it is already the boss of the calves. 
If you are a new pig keeper and would like some advice then please leave a comment.

  1. Hi Sara. I hope Catherine keeps in touch with you and lets you know more about the pig that she has taken in. Good for her for keeping it. A lady after my own heart.

    Comment by Diane – June 6, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

  2. Hi Diane,
    Catherine has replied to me, she said, “hi,
    thank you so much for your help i have been getting things sorted for the pig and hopefully it will have a long and happy life at my farm, it is already the boss of the calves.cheers.”
    It would be interesting to hear how her pig gets on.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting as always. Kind regards.
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – June 7, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

  3. Sara, it’s so interesting to read these questions and answers. I don’t think I’ll ever have a pig to keep after, but it’s still fun to read your replies. Thanks for sharing these.

    Comment by nikkipolani – June 10, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

  4. Hi Nikkipolani,
    Thanks for dropping by and commenting as always. It is interesting to hear the questions that I get asked, although sometimes it is a worry giving advice as I want to give good advice but I don’t always have the answers or the experience, but I do try to find the answer. I am glad that you enjoy reading these posts.
    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – June 11, 2008 @ 10:10 pm

  5. Hi could you tell how many pigs you could keep on 4 acres of land.
    many thanks Hayley

    Comment by hayley – July 4, 2008 @ 10:49 am

  6. Dear Sara, we have a small paddock (1 acre) where we usually make hay,however the summer was so awful that we were unable to do so.The paddock is completely overrun with grass and weeds. We have been considering planting an orchard in the paddock,as it is excess to requirements of my 7 sheep. Could I use a couple of pigs to clear it,and if so when could I put them in? There are no trees in the field,but it does have water connection. Many thanks.Shonagh Shonagh

    Comment by Mrs Shonagh Bury – October 13, 2008 @ 11:40 am

  7. Hi Sara
    I have some experience of keeping pigs and the various feed options etc. However today I have been offered some residue from cider making. I have no idea whether this would be good for my pigs or not – they love apples and I give them apples whenever I have some spare (which is quite often at this time of the year). But the residue is quite a large quantity and I am worried it might be harmful in some way. Do you know about this? Many thanks. Anne

    Comment by Anne Popham – October 20, 2008 @ 6:49 am

  8. Hi Anne,
    Thanks for visiting farmingfriends and leaving a comment.
    I, like you, have no experience of feeding cider pulp to pigs. I do, like you, feed my pigs apples but am careful not to give them too many as it can affect them and I also make sure that I don’t give them any that are strating to go rotten as these can affect their tummies and make them sick.
    I have googled feeding cider pulp to pigs and found out that the residue which is dry and is called pummies or pomace can be fed to pigs and cattle.
    In the Keeping Pigs book by Tony York, it recommends “If you are feeding your pigs fresh fruit and vegetables they will be of greater benefit fed in between normal meals.” I assume however that the pulp will not be seen as fresh fruit but you may want to feed in between meals but just make allowances for the amount of pulp fed to your pigs.
    The Torre Cider farm give their pigs and piglets apple pulp so you may want to contact them and ask for advice. Here is their details “Cider Making
    Torre Cider Farm, Washford TA23 0LA – (01984) 640004
    Open daily 9am – 5.30pm
    Come along to this working cider farm and experience the cider making process. You will be able to see cider apples being delivered, crushed and having the juice extracted. Get involved and taste the juice or cider. Children can take a handful of the waste apple pulp to feed our Gloucester Old Spots pig and her gorgeous piglets. Visit our tearoom for a special Food Festival lunch.”
    I hope this information helps and let me know how you get on.
    Just to let you know that I recently set up a forum which is free to join and has a pig section that you may find interesting.
    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – October 21, 2008 @ 6:50 am