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Author Topic: starting with pigs  (Read 4946 times)


  • Joined Apr 2009
starting with pigs
« on: April 08, 2009, 02:22:14 pm »
hello everybody

I am hoping to keep a pair of pigs on an allotment but i am after as much information as i can get before i even start the process of getting them.

firstly i would like to ask how much out door space do a pair of pigs need, the intention is to take them as weaners about 2 months old in march(ish) and then send them to the abatior at 9 months (september ish), i have read various conflicting advice about how much space they require, what i have in mind is and area 10m by 30m, i have come across 150 sqm being the minimum area needed, so this should be double that, but i would like to check with you good people first.

assuming that this would be of a suitable size the next thing would be to ask the council to see if they agree and then find out if i can get a cph number, i have read the defra advice on this, so i think i can navigate my way through that part ok but any advice on this section would also be welcome.

at this point i would have thought i would be allowed to keep pigs, and would start constructing the pen, i was thinking a post and rung fence with pig netting along the bottom section, possibly with some welded mesh overlapping at the base and dug down and out in an L shape to try and discourage escape attempts, i have also heard of people putting a strand of barb wire along the bottom of the fence for this as well. is this ok to keep the pigs in? how high does the fence need to be 4ft 5ft? i know alot of people use electrice fencing but if possibe i would like to aviod this if i can.  now i understand that the pigs will become large and very strong by the time they are due to leave, so the fence would have to be strong enough to stand up against them. whats the best way of making a fence pig proof?

once the the fence is in place my next question is about the ark, (though to make life easier probably put this in place prior to build the fence) there are lots of refrences to The Bidgiemire Pig Company, and i like the sound of the 2in1 arc does any way have any experiance with these? what should i look out for? how big an arc would i need for two pigs?

now for the enclousre it self, am i right in thinking a shade area is required? whats the best way of providing this? what about a scratching post? and for wallowing, is this a simple matter of turning the hose on to a bare patch of earth or is there more to it than simply creating a mudhole?

also does anybody now what volume of noise a pig makes (ideally in decibells), as i would imagine that if they are comfortable they would be relatively quiet but load if in distress/being picked up etc? this might help with convincing the council to let me keep them (if the space specified at the start is large enough)

i think thats it for now, as i am intrested in creating a comfortable enviroment for them at the moment and to see if it is possible and sensible to do so before proceeding any further.

thank you for taking the time to read this, i am sure all these question have been asked a hundred times before so thank you for your patience and any advice you can give.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: starting with pigs
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 03:22:44 pm »
You seem to have done loads of research so far and I think you are definitely on the right path . I would say that you shouldn't right off using electric fencing, as pigs soon learn no to go near it and it stops them weakening fences. A barb wire strand at ground level deters them from grubbing under the fence, and one on top deters climbers, both piggy and human. 150 sqm seems adequate for keeping two weaners through to finish, the more overgrown the better. Your local council environmental health dept, and defra will be pleased to help you with advice on the red tape.  Your right to plan ahead for the pigs departure, they are strong and willful at 6 months, and can make a little noise but not excessive. piglets can be carried, but 150kg porkers need to be walked into a trailer. ther are lots of pig ark types about, you just choose the one that suits yor budget and long term plans. you could easily make one out off recycled components, ie old hd ply sheeting from building sites, bolted together in a tent shape, with a door at one end and a vent at the other. using old sleepers as batons across the base,as a guide, will give you a decent size for two or three pigs( @ 8 x 6 feet). the pigs can also use this as shelter from sun and rain , but do love it if they have got somewhere to hide and to wallow. Also before you start do you know where they will be ending up? abbatoir, butcher, customers etc. welfare wise , have you considered what they will eat and where you will get it from, and store it. water supply?and also is there a vet locally who has experience of pigs? How will you feel once you have put all this effort in and you have to take them to meet their demise? have you considered only keeping them for five months, by which time they should be quite big enough, @ seven months old.From experience I must warn you that you will love these pigs and the only way to get over them going is to get more. Good luck and I hope you enjoy the experience.


  • Joined Apr 2009
Re: starting with pigs
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 05:11:54 pm »
currently i am just looking into this as a possiblity it wouldnt be till next year that i would actually get them if i am allowed etc.

there is a scats only a couple of miles up the road that sells all maner of feed for various farm animals, its where i get my chicken feed from currently. The plan is to store it in the shed inside a couple of locked metal bins, the same as i do with the chickens feed, no problems with vermin so far.

the abattiour might be an issue as there are only two in the whole of hampshire as far as i can tell, the nearest is 20 miles away, would this be too far for the pigs to travel?

 i have yet to check if they will process such a small number but it will be my next stage of enquirey and reasearch should i be given permission to keep the pigs in the first place. Assuming that one of the two abbatouirs would accept them , then i will try and find a suitable vet, theres an agricultral college not too far away so i would have thought they have a suitable vet or at least know of one. once all this is done, i will at least in my mind have done most of the reasearch to get started, after that it will be time to research into breeds, local courses etc. but that is still a while away yet, i am still in the intial research/planning stage to see if it is possible.

hopefully by giving myself a year, i will have enough time to get everything right before they arrive.

still if anyone can think of things i have missed or if i am going about this completely wrong i would very much like to be put straight.


  • Guest
Re: starting with pigs
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2009, 05:16:29 pm »
Hi, I've just been down the road that you are on and the advice above is typical of the pig section on this forum. Everyone is very helpful and what they all say is very true.
You mentioned the Bidgiemire arc and I finished up buying one of these. The only problem I had with mine was the instructions were in double Dutch. I re wrote them and hopefully they have used a combination of mine and theirs to improve what they send to customers.
I think his name is Graham at Bidgiemire who delivered mine and both he and his wife are very, as in very, helpful.
There are a number of arcs on the market offer what seems to be good range. Which are priced well. That said I didn't get mine from there as I say.
One tip I did pick up if you go down the self build route, use flat corrugated sheet but laid with the corrugations horizontaly this way it will bend to the shape of your ends so no expensive bending to pay for and also easier to handle.
Go and have a look at some pigs and talk to the people you are likely to get your weaners from. In my case the small scale breeder was again very helpful.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: starting with pigs
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009, 06:24:35 pm »
Hi the idea of keeping pigs on allotment if allowed sounds good.  Especially if other allotment holders will donate their spare veg, trimmings etc.  I would strongly recommend a strand of electric fencing inside whatever fencing you finally decide on because once a pig gets out, especially onto something like a veg filled allotment (or even a weed filled one) it will be piggy heaven and it could be expensive on the damages costs.  I often quote our Hilary as an example.  Admittedly she is somewhat larger than the normal porker however she has the attitude of a chieftain tank, and will walk through absolutely anything unelectrified.  Our barn door is just one example.  Most of our very strong fencing has Hilary shaped holes or bends in it.  She has on occasion jumped over 4 ft fencing (from a standstill) Hil is a very determined girl when she smells food, a boar or just fancies a jolly day out. 
Will your allotment be overlooked by houses, do you have easy access to water?  Dig a small hole for a wallow the pigs will dig it out to suit.  Keep it filled though.  For shade, if you dont have access to shade from trees build an extension to the arc preferably on the side, just a roof with a couple of very stout pole supports.  Pigs will scratch on these.  If you can introduce a large chunk of tree for the pigs to scratch on even better.  If you are some distance away from your pigs will it be possible for you to visit 2 or 3 times a day.  Will your pigs be safe from vandals and thieves.  Or idiots who cut the fence and let them out.  Another reason for electric fencing (make sure the battery is locked well away to avoid theft). 
Sorry this reads as if I am trying to put you off, which is certainly not my intention.  Pig keeping is wonderful.  Lastly source the best deal you can get on pig food, prices can vary tremendously.  You might even find other local people who would be interested in buying in bulk for a larger discount.

Sorry this reply has turned into an epic.  Enjoy your pigs.


  • Joined Apr 2009
Re: starting with pigs
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 10:18:50 am »
no thank you for that, i will consider electric fencing but again the council will have have the final say.

as for wather yes there is a tap every 10m running along the length of where the pen will be and one on the southern end so with 4 taps water shouldnt be a problem.

I am fortunate enough to live only a 10min walk for the site, and work 5 mins away, in fact i can almost see the plot from the office kitchen on our floor (6th floor). But yes vandals are a worry, on the whole the site hasnt had any problems, but it is still a concern, but there is almost all ways at least one person on site.

thats a good idea about pig feed, i was talking with my nebihouring plot holder about my idea last night and she seemed quite keen on the idea and woulodnt mind going halfs on it, which makes sense to me, and in addtion there is a small holder who lives next to her parents who breeds pigs and has offered a couple to her dad most years to dig over his garden for him. So she is going to ask him about pig keeping, hopefully he will be able to fill in any gaps i have not thought of yet.

just got to convince the council thats its a good idea.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: starting with pigs
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 02:08:07 pm »
Good luck, hope it goes well.  If all else fails you could consider asking the local council if they have any land available for rent


  • Joined Apr 2009
Re: starting with pigs
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2009, 10:11:31 am »
Well the council have gotten back to me, and their answer is a resounding NO. Which is a shame, looks like i am going to have to wait till i can afford to buy some land if i want to keep anything other than poultry.

but thank you all for your help it has been greatly appreciated.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: starting with pigs
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 12:15:23 pm »
Poor Student dont give up yet, ask your local council if they have land for rent.  Try some of the big companies like Tesco, who keep land for years before building, or small building firms often have plots.  My friends rented 20 acres near Bournemouth for years under this system. 


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