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Author Topic: Smallholding  (Read 3973 times)


  • Joined Apr 2009
« on: April 17, 2009, 07:06:29 pm »
Hi my name is Denize and have moved to West Wales 2 years ago. I have just under an acre of land, so really its a very large garden......a lot bigger then the one i had in London.
Within a month of moving up here i acquired 2 ferrets to go with the 2 i already have and 10 light Sussex chickens. I had never looked after chickens before so was rather thrown in at the deep end!! 6 months down the line and a few baby chicks later ( and 2 cocks of which are very handsome ) i was given a lovely silky cock and hen.
I now have 2 pigs, and this is where my problem lies. Where i am quite able in the care of pigs as i have looked up many a web site for information, i did not realise that i am suppose to do anything else, e.g Holding number. Can someone please explain to a Towny like me what i have to do. I would like to breed from the 2 pigs i have just for weeners not porkers and there is no way i will be killing the 2 i have as they are part of the family. Does the amount of ground i have anything to do with the holding number. I have tried to look on websites and Defra is really hard to understand, so if there is anyone out there that can explain the stages to me in plain terms i would be very greatfull.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2009, 07:37:22 am »
Hi I live in France so the holding number is different, however I think you have a holding number to have pigs.  An acre of ground is may be a little limited for breeding pigs, depending on how many piglets you intend to keep beyond weaning.  The average is 6 large pigs to an acre, depending on the type of ground.  Pigs can quickly turn ground into an absolute quagmire.  Having said that if yours is well drained it may be quite viable.  You would need to section off areas so that the pigs always had fresh ground available when the old became poached.

If you read through the pig pages or do a search for holding number I think there are several threads on this.  I am sure someone will come along in a minute to give you advice on getting your holding and herd numbers.  Might be a good idea for now to troll through the DEFRA site. 



  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2009, 08:54:34 am »
Government sites are difficult. Rural Payments Agency for a County Parish Holding Number (CPH) and then Animal Health for a pig herd number.

I'd agree with HM about the amount of ground for breeding pigs. I know how much mess a few weaners make.


  • Joined Apr 2009
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2009, 11:11:53 am »
Thank you for your reply, the problem i have is that i already have the pigs but not a holding number, what will happen? when i ring to get a CPH and tell them i have the pigs already or do i say nothing?
As far as the size of land i do not intend to breed for porkers only weaners and not all the time, they really are more pets then anything.
Also i noted the lady from France said something about the soil, i have them fenced of in half the area and as many have said they have turned the ground lovely, but i have read that i would not need to move them, but because of this i would have to worm on a regular basis. Is this so and would this harm them in anyway if i do not move them. I dont want to cause them any distress as they seem so happy at the moment.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2009, 04:54:06 pm »
hiya from fws am from central wales but am currently on holls in south wales


  • Joined Apr 2009
  • Southwest Scotland
  • Why are chicks so cute?
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2009, 09:43:27 pm »
Hi Denize, I'm a bit of a newbie on this site, so apologies if I'm coming in late and you already have all the info. As has already been said, you need to get in contact with DEFRA and get your CPH number plus sort out registration. You'll probably already have registered with a vet, so they will be able to give you all the contact numbers you need, although they are on the DEFRA website. You need to register practically ALL animals nowadays, even if it's just a single pig, pet lamb, goat, calf you rear and you'll also need to keep a record of all movement if you need to move an animal for any reason, regardless of how short a journey it is. It may seem like a bit of a pain but if, heaven forbid, there had to be another outbreak of something like FMD then there has to be some traceability for all animals that could catch, carry or transmit disease.

Here's the link to the relevant section on this site and I'm not sure if I can include a link in this forum elsewhere, apologies if I'm not meant to, but gives you most of the info you require.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 10:52:22 pm by Frugaldom »
Trying to control my chicken habit after falling off the wagon.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2009, 06:56:25 am »
Hi assuming you have two sows, you will need to separate them preferably about a week before they are due to pig.  The sow will need fresh ground.  Ideally each time you worm them it they should be moved on to fresh ground.  The old ground allowed to recover.  I have seen land where 2 or 3 sows have been kept for a couple of years without moving off.  It is either the Somme or the Sahara.  If your land is boggy, or clay based you will spend most of the year in wellies and the pigs in mud.  Although this would negate having to have a wallow in each pen.  There is no middle ground.  This is without piglets on the same land.  Have you got a ready market for any weaners?  Bearing in mind that each sow can easily produce 10 piglets per litter, you could well have 20 piglets from breeding them once a year.  If you don't sell them all at weaning where will you put them?  Sows live to produce piglets, its their raison d'etre. 

1 acre if fine for a couple of weaners to bacon weight.  For breeding you really should consider finding some extra land. 

Sorry if this comes across as very negative, having seen some of the results of over crowded pigs I feel very strongly about this subject.


  • Joined Apr 2009
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2009, 11:02:41 am »
Thank you for your replies they have been very helpful the last thing i want to do is cause discomfort to my piggies. I have now applied for the holding number but unlike England, in Wales they have to send you an application form for your Holding number so it all takes time. As far as the land my soil in some places is boggy and others it is good soil also i have trees for the piggies to lay under and scatch against (which they do alot ) they also have a very delux ark which my betterhalf built to my design, they have constant company with my dogs and also the chickens which they dont take any notice of. Plus they are right outside my back door so they always come running to greet me in the morning.
If and when i do let them bread i can extend an area so that i can seperate them when they are in pig. I also have a friend across the way that will take my weaners  and fatten if i cant sell but we do have quite a lot of buyers in this area anyway.
I know i have still got a lot to learn and only time will tell whether i am doing right or wrong but im not going to give up as they have now become another member of our ever growing family! and i know now that i have a place to come if i need any help and support. Thank you Smallholder Forum  :bouquet:


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • UK
    • IrishHandcraft
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2009, 10:13:43 pm »
If it's of any help, when I was visited by the Dept. vet before getting my herd number, I asked him what would happen if I got my pigs before the herd number...he just smiled and said it wouldn't be the first time it had happened.....but's that guys seem to have a lot more 'jobs worths' in the UK.


  • Joined Apr 2009
Re: Smallholding
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2009, 10:18:25 am »
Thanks sausageandcash, lets just hope they have the same sense of humour!!! iv'e not heard anything yet but i only sent the form back day before yesterday so heres hoping!


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