A warning to all those who see pictures of little teacup pigs snuffling around and think ‘those are cute, I’ll get one’.
A lot of animals sold as ‘micro pigs’ end up, well, not so micro.
Nigel Graham, 57, bought a cute little piglet as a birthday present for his wife Sam, 48, who is allergic to cats and dogs.
They were told it was a miniature pig that would grow no larger than 70lbs when they brought it home in 2014.
Guess what? The pig grew quite a bit larger than that.
Grace the pig now weighs in at 28 stone. She munches through £20 of food each week and has taken over the bottom floor of the family’s three-bedroom cottage after refusing to sleep in an outside sty.
The family has had to make quite a few adjustments to make having an unexpectedly massive pig in their house work for them.
Nigel cut Grace her own pig-flap in a side door to allow Grace to come and go as she pleases, installed a step from the patio door to make it easier for the pig to leave the house, and bought Grace her own orthopedic mattress to lounge on.
Nigel and Sam have also given up bacon, out of respect.
Dad-of-two Nigel, from Malvern, said: ‘I got Grace as a birthday present for my Sam four years ago because she is allergic to cats and dogs.
‘The place actually invite you down there to see mother and father and I met Grace who was two weeks old at the time and had to do a course on how to look after her.
‘It’s a very legitimate business. I went down there, I picked her up and held her and decided to get her.
‘Her parents were about knee high, which is the actual size of a fully grown micro pig.’
As you’d expect for an animal that big, Grace needs a lot of food. Grace eats three full meals a day as well as pig pellets, fruit and leftovers from the family, with her food costing around £20 a week. She’s quite a picky eater, too.
‘She is quite spoilt and for dinner she will have rice pudding with jelly or tinned peaches or pineapple,’ Nigel explains.
‘She’s particular though, if it has a bruise or a grub in it or something like that, she won’t have it and will turn her nose up at it.
‘She is not interested in carrots anymore, it’s just too boring for her. She is very very selective in what she does eat.
‘Most pigs are just thankful for whatever they are given but she’s been so spoilt with us.
‘It’s a bit like a kid, you want to eat stuff that you like, but things you don’t like you don’t want to eat.’
Grace also doesn’t particularly like going outdoors, preferring all the comforts of staying home with her family and watching TV.
Yes, we do relate.
Nigel says: ‘She will go outside but not if it’s raining or it’s windy. She’s got quite used to her creature comforts and likes to stay cosy.
‘If it’s a nice day she will follow me out of the house and obviously when she needs to go to the toilet to do a wee or poo.
‘She will hold it in for 19 hours if it’s raining.
‘I built her a pen called Grace Land which has an insulated floor, insulated ceiling to make her nice and warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
‘She’s only been in there for two nights, so turfing her out there never came about.’
Thankfully, while Grace’s size has been a bit of a shock, that hasn’t stopped Nigel and Sam from adoring her. They think of her as a member of the family.
‘She’s our pet and we love her and I class her as a third daughter, to be honest,’ says Nigel. ‘She’s part of the family.
‘It’s great. She’s not like a pig. It’s no different than a dog or a cat, in fact she is cleaner than one of my daughters and shows me more love.’
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