A micro-pig – thought to have been an unwanted Christmas present – is not so micro any more!
Winston was rehomed after he was found in Ystalyfera in a garden on Wern Road on 12 January 2015. It was suspected he had been abandoned.
As a temporary measure he was looked after by a vet, but he kept trying to break into a sheep pen – it was thought it was because he was lonely.
Following an appeal, a suitable long-term home was found for him at Gower Fresh Christmas Trees. At the time he was the size of a piglet – but now, a year later, he is around four times the size.
Katharine Morgan from Gower Fresh Christmas Trees said: “It took him a little bit to settle in as we had him with five piglets, but they soon bonded. We named him Winston after Winston Churchill as there was an anniversary at the time.
“He is now in a field with Gin our other pig and they are great friends. He is great company for Gin. They love to explore things together.
“Winston loves eating and in the heat they love to wallow in the mud. Everybody knows about Winston and Gin.”
RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper, who dealt with the report of a micro-pig being found, said: “When we did the appeal we receive so many offers from farms and small holdings who said they would give him a home.
“When he arrived a Gower Fresh Christmas Trees we weren’t sure how big he would grow, but we thought he wouldn’t stay micro. In just two weeks he doubled his size.
“I am delighted that he is happy in his home and I’m not surprised that he has grown so much. Whilst piglets may look cute, even miniature breeds (for example the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig) soon grow up to weigh 35 to 70 kilogrammes (over 150 kilogrammes if overfed). Other breeds will also grow as large as a commercially farmed pig i.e. 200 to 300 kilogrammes, sometimes more.”
The RSPCA continues to remind people that it can be difficult to meet the needs of a pig and would urge anyone considering keeping a pig as a pet to find out as much as possible about them and whether it’s a realistic pet for them.
Micro and mini-pigs have very specific welfare needs that must be met to keep them happy and healthy. For example, all pigs have a strong desire to root, which means they need continual access to suitable areas for rooting, otherwise they can become destructive.
Being small may make it difficult for micro and mini- pigs to keep warm, so they must always have access to a suitable shelter that includes a comfortable, dry lying area and appropriate bedding. Without a stimulating environment, micro and mini-pigs are highly likely to show negative behaviours, such as stereotypic behaviour (behaviours that are repeated without an obvious purpose).
Micro and mini-pigs need to be housed in social groups with other friendly, similar-sized pigs, not only because they are social herd animals but also because they can become aggressive to their owners if housed alone.
Under the Animal Welfare Act, 2006, pet owners are legally required to meet the needs of their animals. Due to their complex needs, the RSPCA is concerned about how well micro- and mini-pigs can be cared for by non-specialist keepers.
Before getting any pigs it is important you consider if you have the time, resources, commitment, knowledge and facilities to care for them. Whilst some pigs have a very good temperament others should be handled with care.
Whether you keep one pig as a pet or a commercial herd you need to follow certain rules regarding the identification of your animal. The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) (Wales) Order (PRIMO) legislation changed on 25 November 2011. There are also legal requirements associated with transporting pigs, and even rules about taking them for a walk.
For more information visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/farm/farmanimals/pigs