Tamworth Pig Breeders's Club

Starting with pigs

Have you thought it through?

Taking on any kind of livestock is a big commitment, whether you are embarking on a long-term relationship with your animals or merely raising them for a few months for meat.

Please think extremely carefully before taking on pigs – both for your pigs’ sake and your own. Be absolutely sure that you have the necessary space, time, and knowledge to be able to rear healthy, happy pigs in a safe environment. If you don’t, don’t do it.

Legal requirements

There are strict rules and regulations surrounding the raising of livestock and the movement of animals between farms, smallholdings, markets, and abattoirs. You first need to register your land as an agricultural holding and inform the appropriate authorities of the livestock you intend keeping.

Procedures are pretty much the same in England, Scotland, and Wales, but vary slightly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

In England, Scotland, and Wales, you need a County Parish Holding (CPH) number, which identifies your land as a holding and allows you to legally keep livestock.

The number will look something like this: 58/421/0086. The first two digits are the county, the next three the parish in which you live, and the final four the actual number of your holding. You will use this number whenever you buy or sell livestock, move animals on or off your premises, when ordering identification tags, and in various official documents.

Getting registered isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t cost anything. In England and Wales, you will need to contact the Rural Payments Agency and in Scotland it’s the Rural Payments and Inspections Division.

Once you have obtained your CPH number, you will need to notify the same organisation that you would like to keep pigs. You will then be issued with a Pig Herd Mark which consists of two letters and 4 numbers (e.g. XX-1234).

This herd mark will be required if you move the pigs to another location or to slaughter. This must be imprinted on ear tags (or slap-marks) on pigs leaving your holding.  When you buy in pigs under 12 months’ old, they do not need to be tagged before leaving the vendor’s premises – they can move with a temporary identifying mark (e.g. with stock marker spray). Unlike sheep, they will not need to be tagged unless they leave your land.