Adorable family of rare piglets get their first taste of country life… after becoming the first ones born in UK for 30 years
These super-cute piglets are making history after becoming the first of their kind to be born in the UK – for 30 years.
The Meishans are popular in China because of their long floppy ears and wrinkly faces but have never been properly introduced in this country.
Owner Linda McDonald-Brown, 51, brought the litter’s year-old mum Miep and nine- month-old dad Wrinkles over from northern Holland with husband Graham, 47, last year.
And two weeks ago Miep gave birth to the rare litter, which contains seven girls and one boy.
The couple plan to start the UK’s first pedigree line of the species and have already sold two of the litter to a smallholder in Essex.
Linda, from Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, now intends to bring other boars in from Eastern Europe to create a foundation Meishan family from which every pig in the UK will descend.
She said: “We are really pleased with the birth. They are the first to be born in this country for about 30 years so it’s very exciting to be involved.
“We went across to Holland to stay with a friend who also breeds pigs. We didn’t set out with the intention of buying anything but when I saw them I just fell in love with them and bought two sows then and there and later a boar.
“I have never seen anything like them in my life.
“They are really prolific breeders in China and are very popular because of their unusual appearance and fatty meat but for some reason they have never taken off here and I want to change that.”
The two sows and boar cost Linda £2,000 as a trio and each female can litter up to 15 babies.
The Meishan species is native to Southern China and fully grown can measure up to three feet high and four feet long.
Meishans were last seen in the UK over 30 years ago, when 20 pigs were imported from China by a British genetics company for research purposes, but the animals were never bred.
The species’ ability to produce large litters means they have also become popular in the US and Canada in recent years.
Mother-of-two Linda, originally from Bideford, in Devon, has been breeding pigs for 15 years.
She added: “Meishans are brilliant outdoor animals to have, they have a lovely temperament and they are brilliant with children.
“They are not pets by any means – they can’t be kept in the house like micro-pigs, but they are fantastic to keep and it would be great to see them take off in this country.”