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.

Farrowing management and BPA update

If you’re new to pig keeping, or are a small-scale producer, this webinar is perfect for you.

Vet Adrian Cox covered all you need to know about farrowing, from the signs to look out for through to issues you might encounter. Marcus Bates (BPA) explained the breeds at risk (BAR) register, and why it’s so important with diseases such as ASF circulating nearby.

We also answered lots of listeners’ questions, for example about milk production, litter sizes and the signs of ASF.

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.

29 April 2020

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