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Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Kent couple breeding micro pigs

BBC South East's Yvette Austin went to meet Claire and her micro pigs

Claire Gillingham and Clive Beal from Sandhurst breed 'micro pigs'.

'Micro pigs' are attracting a lot of attention, with actor Ron Weasley as well as Victoria and David Beckham reported to be owners.

Claire and Clive say they make great pets and they are also good for people with allergies because they have hair not fur.

To own a 'micro pig' you must have a county parish holding number because they are classed as livestock.

Claire and Clive's 'micro pigs' are Tinkerbell, Tatiana and George. Tinkerbell and Tatiana are Vietnamese Potbellied pigs and George is a Gloucester Old Spot cross.

They were looking for a pet pig when they found a breeder who was selling on breeding stock. It has now become a hobby for Claire and Clive. Tinkerbell had her first litter of piglets in December 2009, all of whom had homes to go to before they were born.

...and here is one of her brand new piglets
...and this is one of her brand new piglets

Claire explains why they make good pets; "They love company, they'll get up on the sofa with you. They get on very well with other pets. They are good for people with allergies because they don't have fur they have hair. You can litter train them in two days because they are very clean animals, easier to train than a dog."

Clive stresses that you have to first be a pig lover before you think about getting a 'micro pig'. The price tag should test the strength of potential owners' love of pigs. In the region of £700, they are similar in price to pedigree breed of dog.

Food and Exercise

They live on fresh fruit and vegetables as well as special pig food which can be bought from animal feed merchants.

When fully grown, they are about the size of a spaniel and they need some sort of outside space. To own a 'micro pig' you need a county parish holding number, which is free to acquire but takes about 21 days to be processed.

To take them on walks the owner requires a licence from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs because they are classed as livestock.


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