Has Cumbrian micro pig breeder been telling porkies?
Published at 14:02, Friday, 18 October 2013
To describe these piggies as little is an understatement. They are tiny – so small that some have doubted they even exist.
But anyone with doubts are having them dispelled publicly as the animals go on display at a Cumbrian wildlife attraction.
Micro pigs are a phenomenon, the brainchild of a county-based breeder whose techniques many have tried – but failed – to copy.
As piglets they are hardly a handful in size. Fully grown, they are no higher than an average person’s knee.
Some have questioned whether micro pigs are real – and even the boss of the park where they are now part of a world-first exhibit was a doubter to begin with.
Lake District Wildlife Park manager Richard Robinson is now, however, a convert and hopes to convince other critics that these pigs are real.
The UK’s only breeding herd of micro pigs – created by Rob Rose – is now among the 100-plus species of animals at the attraction, formerly known as Trotters, at Bassenthwaite.
Richard said: “The adult breeding micro pig sows just reach the top of my wellies and the piglets are barely a handful in size.
“You get a real sense of scale when you see our rare breed Tamworth sow, who comes up to my hip.
“Micro pigs have been very controversial in the past, but when you talk to Rob and understand the breeding, you can see they are naturally very small. They are certainly authentic and we’re happy to help dispel any myths that they don’t exist.”
Rob bred the British Micro Pig at his so-called Valley of the Pigs home at Newby Bridge in the South Lakes. He has been selectively breeding pigs to create the species since 1996.
Now in their 18th generation, the pigs grow to wellington boot-height, giving greater potential for the animals to become pets and attracting customers from all over the world.
Rob achieved notoriety after appearing in ITV series The Lakes, fuelling debate over whether it’s possible for such small pigs to exist, some claiming to have been mis-sold what they believed to be micro pigs by other breeders only to see the animals grow to full size.
He hopes the Lake District Wildlife Park exhibits will prove a point and put many of the micro moans to bed. They include a boar called Micro Max, eight sows and two litters of tiny piglets.
They have quickly settled in at Bassenthwaite and become a favourite with visitors.
Rob said: “Our micro pigs have known nothing but kindness and we’ve grown very attached to them, so we’ve been very careful about who we want to work with. The team at the Lake District Wildlife Park has a great reputation and they’re all very enthusiastic.
“We’re excited that, for the first time, the public can see for themselves that our pigs truly are micro pigs and those who love pigs – but can’t keep one at home – still have the chance to meet them.”
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk
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