Miniature Pigs as Pets: Housing Requirements
We often get asked about how big a Miniature Pig enclosure/pen should be. There are no Animal Welfare regulations stating the precise dimensions for a pet pig pen outdoors – existing Pig Welfare Codes often refer to acreages per a couple of commercially raised pigs!
In our opinion, what is most important is what the piggy does during the day and if they have an opportunity to come out of their pen to socialize. Our pens vary in sizes and all our piggies come out every day to wander around, to go out and to come indoors for training etc. and they never get bored. A 5 m x 6 m pen should be sufficient for two Miniature piggies, however, it can be smaller if they are allowed out to explore other areas and to exercise. Of course, the bigger the enclosure the better as this will allow the pigs to wander around the pen and exercise especially during times when you are away at work or out for other reasons.
Regarding housing. We find that large plastic dog houses/kennels are perfect for smaller piggies (even at adult size). Larger Miniature Pigs would need a bigger house than a plastic dog kennel. There are some fantastic plastic arks sold by Solway Recycling company, they are quite expensive but extremely durable – we have some of these for breeding and for larger pigs and cannot fault them at all.
It is also relatively easy to build a wooden shelter which can be quite inexpensive. All you would need is a sliding waterproof roof, rectangular body with an opening and a wooden floor to keep the piggies warm in the winter. We would also recommend that the shelter is placed on concrete if possible, because in the winter the area around the ark would get quite muddy making the shelter sink and lean to one side – it is hard to then level it.
Permanent Identification of Miniature Pigs
Regarding the permanent identification of your piglets. The Legislation is strict when it comes to pig identification in the UK. Pigs (miniature and normal size) under the age of 12 months can have a temporary mark (i.e. using a marker pen or a spray to identify them when moving to customers’ homes). If the piggies are to stay at home with you without coming off your holding they do not need to be permanently marked.
However, if you take them to a vet or for a walk they will need to be permanently identified with either a tattoo/slap mark or an ear tag. All pigs over the age of 12 months will need this form of identification, again, if they are to leave your holding but they cannot have a temporarily mark.
We ear tag all our pigs because they come off our holding as part of our business – this is easier than tattooing. Ear tags can be purchased from Caisley or other online places. Once you get your Herd Mark or Herd Number you can enter it on Caisley website and the ear tags will arrive laser printed with that number as well as the letters UK in front.
Your vet will be able to help you apply the ear tag. When calling them, ask if they have a Universal Applicator – if they don’t you can purchase it from Caisley too. Alternatively, we can ear tag your piglets once you buy them from us whilst they are still on our farm. All you need to do is to supply us with your Herd Number which is given once you register your intention to keep pigs on your holding. For more information on the legal aspects of pig ownership, please, visit our Buying a Miniature Pig as a Pet page.