Keeping a pet pig or 'micropig'

Find out what you must do before you get a pet pig, how to register as a keeper and get a pig walking licence and what you can feed pet pigs.

Applies to England

If you keep a pig or ‘micropig’ as a pet, you’re considered a pig keeper. You must follow the same traceability and welfare rules as pig farmers.

As a keeper, you’re legally responsible for the welfare of your pig. You must look after it by:

  • providing it with a suitable place to live
  • giving it a suitable diet
  • making sure it can behave naturally and normally
  • protecting it from pain, suffering, injury and disease

You must follow good hygiene and biosecurity standards to help prevent the introduction and spread of disease.

Before you get a pig

You must register the land or building where you’ll keep the pig with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). You’ll get a county parish holding (CPH) number.

You must contact RPA to update your details if anything changes after you register. This includes if you stop keeping the pig.

Register as pig keeper

By law you must register as a pig keeper with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to get a herd mark.

The herd mark must be on the ear tag, tattoo or slap mark you use to identify the pig before it moves from where it’s kept.

Tell APHA if your circumstances change

You must tell APHA if you:

  • change your address or telephone number
  • change where you plan to keep the pig
  • get more pigs or a new species of pig
  • stop keeping pigs

This is so APHA can track the location and movement of animals to prevent and control disease.

Find out how to update your details.

Get a licence to walk a pet pig

You need to apply for a licence from APHA to walk your pig outside your home or premises. You can get an application form from APHA.

Animal and Plant Health Agency
Telephone (Defra rural services helpline): 03000 200 301
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

You’ll need to provide a map of your proposed route as part of your application. APHA may not approve your walking route if it poses a health risk, for example if it passes close to a:

  • livestock market
  • pig farm
  • fast food restaurant

You must have your licence with you whenever you’re walking your pig, and you’ll need to renew it every year.

Report and record movements

You must report any movement of your pig using the electronic animal movement licensing service (eAML2). You’ll need to register to use it.

You do not need to report and record the movement if you’re only taking it for a walk under the terms of your licence.

You must also keep a record of all movements, known as a holding register.

Take an annual inventory

At the same time once a year (you can choose when), you must also record in your holding register the:

  • number of pigs on your premises or land on that day
  • total number of pigs normally on the premises or land

You can keep digital or paper records. You must keep them for 3 years after you stop keeping pigs and show them to a Rural Payments Agency (RPA) field officer if requested.

Add identification details to your pig

You must tag, tattoo or mark your pig with identification details if you plan to move it away from your home or premises. This includes taking it:

  • for a walk (under licence)
  • to a vet

Feeding your pigs

You cannot feed pigs catering waste from any domestic or commercial kitchen including kitchens that only cater for vegetarians. Catering waste includes used cooking oil.

You generally cannot feed pigs material of animal origin or products containing material of animal origin.

You can feed pigs:

You can get pig food from a premises that handles material that cannot be fed to pigs, but only if both of the following apply:

  • the premises has a procedure to keep material that can be fed to pigs separate from material that cannot be fed to pigs
  • the procedure has been agreed with a local council

Contact APHA if you’re still unsure whether you can feed something to your pig.

Animal and Plant Health Agency
Telephone (Defra rural services helpline): 03000 200 301
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

If your pig dies

When a pig dies at your home or premises, you do not need to report this through the eAML2 service.

You must follow the rules to safely and legally dispose of the animal.

Published 31 December 2014
Last updated 12 July 2023 + show all updates
  1. Added a link to 'Register land you use to keep livestock' for information on getting a county parish holding number. Added link to 'Livestock keepers: update your details'. Added a link to 'Register livestock to get a flock or herd mark'. Added a link to eAML2 to report movements. Added a section on what to do if your pig dies. Added information on the requirement to take an annual inventory.

  2. Updated guidance for what you need to do before you get a pig, when you need to record movements and when to add identification details to your pig.

  3. First published.