Two full-sized pigs re-homed after first owners thought they were miniatures

Two full-sized pigs re-homed after first owners thought they were miniatures

10/20/2022

Meet Smokey and Haggis, two pet pigs who started life in a Gateshead apartment.

Their original owners mistakenly thought the pair were ‘mini’ pigs, but they are in fact Kunekunes – a breed that’s not typically huge, but can still get very big indeed.

Smokey and Haggis were first kept in the apartment kitchen, but it didn’t take long for them to outgrow it.

Their family weren’t able to meet their needs, so the RSPCA took them in.

After much searching, the charity was finally able to find the right home that would make the piggies happy.

The duo now live with Clare Dewhurst, who’s a first-time pig owner but has plenty of experience looking after sheep and livestock in her County Durham home.

Smokey and Haggis are a friendly pair who are enjoying spending time with Clare and her family, and trotting around their new large outdoor paddock and pig ark – a far cry from a kitchen in Gateshead.

RSPCA Chief Inspector Lindsey Avery said: ‘Their owners did the right thing by willingly signing them into our care.

‘We had quite a bit of interest in taking the pair on as they are so friendly and clever – but they have very specific needs and Clare was the first to
meet the criteria of what we were looking for in an owner.’

The Kunekune breed was first kept by the Māori people of New Zealand.

They might be the smallest domesticated breed of pig in the world, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still get pretty big.

The Kunekunes are known to be friendly and love being around people, but
they still need plenty of outdoor space to be truly happy.

Potential owners also need to have the right holding licence to keep them.

Lindsey added: ‘Clare has a lovely paddock with a big tree for shelter. She’s
got an agricultural background and knows what they need.

‘There is a pig ark so they have outside shelter, as well as somewhere to sleep at night in a side stable.

‘It has been a great outcome for this rehoming as we know it is a big
commitment to keep pigs like these. They can live a long time and people
sometimes don’t take into account that they are not going to stay small
forever.

‘They think they are “mini” pigs and don’t understand that they will grow
to be adult pigs who need a lot of space. So living indoors, as they were, was a
completely unsuitable environment for them.

‘Now Smokey and Haggis have got lots of land and an owner who has
researched the breed. She is really committed to providing them with a good home.’

The two pigs are thought to be between one and two years old, and it’s suspected they’re brothers, which is why they were rehomed together.

The poor guys were underweight when they came into the charity’s care earlier this year, but after some time in a suitable foster home, they were able to get to a healthy weight.

Clare said: ‘We’re a farming family, and we have had pet sheep and horses, but we’ve not had pigs before.

‘We planned to get some for our daughter as she grows up and she adores
both of them.

‘They have settled in so well.

‘I couldn’t believe they’d been kept in a flat, although you can tell they have spent time living indoors as they are very clean.

‘They won’t toilet in their shelter and go outside to do their business.’

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