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.


You can browse our full events calendar here, or keep an eye on this page for events specifically aimed at small-scale producers. 

Recordings of online events are available via our Online events and webinar page.


Principles of pig production

If you’re new to pig keeping, or are a small-scale producer, our Principles of Pig Production webinars are perfect for you. Catch-up on our four-part series with Adrian Cox and Christina Huelsmann-Diamond from Farm Vets, focusing on the different stages of pork production. It’s designed to refresh or provide new entrants with an overview of the breeding, farrowing, weaning, growing and finishing stages of pig production.

View FAQs from the series

Farrowing management 

Breeding management

Weaning management

Finishing and growing management

Small-scale producer national meeting (March 2021)

Feeding for efficiency

Alternatives to compound feed

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

Download our new pig keepers guide

African swine fever

African swine fever (ASF) is a virus that affects pigs and wild boar and can result in high mortality rates. It is well-established within parts of Europe, Russia and China, with a reservoir of infection in the wild boar population.

Focus must be on ensuring ASF does not spread further. We urge all pig producers to ensure their biosecurity is tight, particularly vehicles, animals and people coming on to their units. We need all pig producers, farmers and the public to pull together to keep this disease out.

It is illegal to feed pigs with catering waste or kitchen scraps, even if it comes from a vegan or vegetarian kitchen

It is illegal to feed pigs with catering waste or kitchen scraps as these can transmit ASF as well as other serious diseases such as foot and mouth disease and classical swine fever.

We have a number of resources to help, which you can access below, as well as videos that explain what ASF is, how to prevent it and the clinical signs to look out for. They also address the impact ASF could have on the industry, in terms of both commercial and rare breed pigs, and our export market.

Find out more about African swine fever

Supplying and using animal by-products as farm animal feed

Alternative diets for pigs

Biosecurity on pig farms

The importance for rare breed pig keepers

Get in touch

Image of staff member Tony Bayles

Tony Bayles

Knowledge Exchange Relationship Manager (North)- Pork

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