Q – Is it possible to keep a pig in my back garden? I have the room but am worried about regulations and what the neighbours might say.

A – There is no reason why you souldn’t keep a pig in your garden provided you are sensible in your approach. Keeping a pig could be not only be a new hobby but also the solution to combat rising food prices? As the ‘grow your own’ movement continues to rise in popularity more people are considering the benefits of keeping a pig, to produce their own bacon, pork and ham. Just bear in mind that even if you buy pigs to keep as pets they are still classed as farming livestock and therefore you will need to register with DEFRA and  inform them you are planning to keep pigs. Do also check with your neighbours first that they have no violent objection to you keeping pigs in your garden. If things look a bit awkward a few ‘porky’ bribes might just do the trick!

Many DIY and country stores now are stocking pig housing and pig feed to fill a burgeoning need. This said you can keep a pig, or even two, in a large apex wooden shed in a fenced off area in your garden. A wooden shed is always best as it is warmer in winter and cooler in summer than a metal shed.

However don’t put it on a wooden base; it needs to stand on a concrete base that it is securely fixed to, so that the pig can’t push it over. You don’t want them escaping into your flower beds!

Traditionally pigs were always fattened on household scraps but this is now illegal and no food for pigs may be prepared indoors but they can have leftovers from the vegetable plot. They love rooting around in overgrown areas and fallen fruit is a great treat. Don’t however make the mistake of feeding pigs raw potatoes as they are very bad for them.

Pigs are pretty easy to keep and low maintenance. They will need feeding twice a day with pelleted feed and must have constant access to clean water. They are clean animals by nature and won’t muck in their ark so they don’t need mucking out as often as say a cow. However they do root around a lot and in the winter the area where they are kept can become quite muddy so you will need your wellies. Do make sure they have plenty of clean straw and room to move around outside.

All pig manure can be scooped up and stored somewhere away from the house to be used on the garden, once it is well rotted. Pigs will need a pen with sturdy one metre high fencing and barbed wire or electric fencing along the bottom to stop them digging their way out. The more space the better but two pigs could just about be kept in a 10m x 10m area.

A pig that is to be reared for meat is normally bought at two months old and sent off at six to eight months old. Therefore if you buy a pig or pigs in the spring they can be fattened up and then the ground can be left to recover over the winter months. If you have the room it is always kinder to buy a pair of pigs as they are sociable animals and thrive better with company. Also they won’t depend on you so much, which could make it much harder to send them off when the time comes.