The RSPCA is appealing for pig lovers to rehome piglets after two rescue sows unexpectedly gave birth to 17 babies.

Gill and Sandra, two pigs, were found in an underweight, neglected state in Boughton-Under-Blean, Faversham, Kent in September. It is not known for sure what breed they are but it is thought likely that they could be a cross between Kune Kune and Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig.

They were taken into RSPCA care and made a good recovery and then surprised the private boarding centre caring for them by both giving birth – to 17 piglets between them.

RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe said: “It was hard to tell they were pregnant at first. “We thought they had just put on weight because they were so thin before.

“So it was a bit of a shock to everyone when 17 baby pigs appeared at the end of November. – two litters of five and 12 born a week apart.

“They are gorgeous little things but it can be quite hard to find suitable homes for pigs as they are so difficult to care for and have very specific needs.

“Now that they are weaned we are looking for people with the experience and time to look after them properly as we are a bit overwhelmed with the numbers we are unexpectedly having to care for.”

All the piglets are black with white markings and a few have pink noses. There are six boys and 11 girls. They are now weaned and the boys castrated. Pigs are highly intelligent, social animals who prefer to be in the company of other pigs. They need to be given the right care and not kept inside a  person’s house and also need to be treated by a vet who is knowledgeable about the breed. They need plenty of space outside and things to occupy them as well as a suitable shelter. You can find more information on the requirements for ensuring the welfare of a pig and the many legal requirements at: http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/farmanimals/pigs