‘Piggy boom’ as families adopt pigs instead of dogs to save £150 a month
A breeder has noticed a recent surge in people adopting pigs as pets and coined it the ‘piggy boom’. The rise in micro pigs at home comes as rescue shelters exceed full capacity and new puppy owners fear the costs of caring for a dog will be too expensive long term.
It is estimated that keeping a pig costs less than £50 per month, a massive saving compared to the £250 average to care for a canine. Olivia Mikhail, owner of ethical micro pig breeder Kew Little Pigs, said: “Everyone talks about the puppy boom, but now there is a piggy boom!”
Families across the UK are proving that pigs can live at home just like dogs, wag their tails, go for walks and be taught tricks such as agility, ‘sit’ and ‘stay’.
Lisa and Mark Thomas, and their two children, Olivia, 13, and Oscar, seven, welcomed micro pig Biscuit into their family in Worcestershire.
Lisa said: “She has brought so much love and joy into our lives. She sleeps in our house at night on her dog bed, and she has blankets in it for rooting a nuzzling.
“At night-time she knows when it’s time to settle down. We have a pool in the garden, and she goes in for a swim. She has her own pool float that she likes to sit on too.
All new adopters from Kew Little Pigs must take a special pig keeping course before welcoming their new addition home.
Due to DEFRA restrictions on movement, a special walking route must be planned and approved if owners wish to walk their pets.
But for many new owners, the joy of having pet pigs far outweighs any paperwork, and A&E nurse Jane Sudds, 32, is testament to this.
She adopted micro pig Wilbur during lockdown in the winter of 2020 and he has lived in her home with Pomeranian dog Moo and cat Kitty.
Wilbur has become a regular sight on the beach in Blackpool, as his walking route takes in part of the Lancashire seaside town’s famous promenade.
Jane said: “Wilbur just wants to be wherever I am, but he also has his ball pit, mud pit and sandpit in his outside pen.
“When I go to work he enjoys it out there, and Kitty goes outside too so I think she pays him a few visits in the day.
“Adopting Wilbur has been wonderful, he’s like a dog, but more too!”
Sam White, who welcomed porkers Piggles and Ham Solo to his Berkshire home with partner Emily Pridham, added: “Like a dog the pigs have a 15-year life span, so we are taking our responsibilities very seriously.
“They are very food orientated so many of their skills revolve around trying to get food, this week we set up some apples on a string for them and it was fun watching them work out how to get them off, and enriching for them.”
Whilst many families are positively welcoming piglets home, the RSPCA is wary of the rising popularity of these alternative animals as pets.
A statement on the charity website reads: “Micro- and mini-pigs appear to becoming increasingly popular and are often advertised as cute pets that are easy to look after. However, the RSPCA is very concerned about their suitability as pets.
“If you’re thinking about keeping a pig as a pet, we urge you to find out as much as possible about their needs and whether it’s a realistic pet for you.”