Small-scale pig keeping

The pig industry is made up of a variety of systems, with herds ranging from a handful of sows to thousands. On this page, you will find information and guidance aimed specifically at small-scale pig production.


Due to the evolving situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the latest Government advice, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel physical events until further notice.

We are however running a number of digital events via webinars, have a browse and register to join us. Recordings of online events are available in the Knowledge Library and via our Online events and webinar archive.

Webinar for small-scale producers: farrowing management and BPA update

When: 7pm on Tuesday 14 July

What: Join our webinar to learn about farrowing management with guest speaker, vet Adrian Cox. Adrian will talk through key points from the time of serving your gilts/sows, right through to piglet care, including feeding and accommodation best practices. Marcus Bates from the British Pig Association (BPA) will also be giving an update on African swine fever (ASF), and there will be time for Q&A.

Register for webinar

Small-scale pig keeping

Keeping pigs is a satisfying experience but, before making the decision to become a keeper, you need to know the basics of:

  • Pig husbandry
  • Pig health and welfare
  • Pig identification (ear tags, ear tattoos, etc.)
  • Pig movement licensing
  • Biosecurity
  • Legislation

You also need to:

  • Decide whether you want to keep pigs for meat production, breeding or as a pet
  • Do your research to ensure you buy from a reputable source
  • Register with a local farm vet and keep the number to hand
  • Contact a local knackerman or the National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo) to remove dead stock, if necessary
  • Ensure you have access to the following two documents: The Casualty Pig and The code of practice for the welfare of pigs

This guide will take you through the process of preparing a contingency plan, for example, if you are placed in a restriction zone. It also contains a 'key contacts' template for you to fill in and print.

You can order useful resources, such as biosecurity signs and posters, via this online order form