Lil Sis is obsessed with pigs. I’m not entirely sure where it came from, as – prior to this summer – she’d never seen an actual real-life pig, but the love was so great she was known as ‘The Pig Girl’ at her infant school.
She drew pigs, and talked about pigs, and played a pig in last year’s school Christmas play. For an entire term in Year 1 she even walkd to school each morning wearing a rubber pig snout (which had the Lollipop Lady in stitches).
So, when I was looking for something a bit different for her eight birthday, I randomly searched ‘kids’ pig parties’ and found something utterly tailor-made for Lil Sis – Kew Little Pigs, in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.
Kew Little Pigs opened in the home counties in 2010 after owner Olivia’s daughter watched the movie, Babe, and became enamoured with the perky porcines. Together they’d visit local farms and animal sanctuaries, where they eventually discovered the adorable world of micro pigs.
Discovering that most micro breeders lived deep in the English countryside they decided to set up their own farm within easy reach of London. Olivia completed all her pig handling courses and, with the help of a Prince’s Trust grant, opened the three-acre farm that quickly became the UK’s largest dedicated micro-pig farm.
(There’s often confusion around what, exactly, micro pigs are – the term refers to pigs that have been bred to grow to the smaller end of the piggy size spectrum BUT… they do not, as many believe, stay as tiny ‘teacup’ size they are as piglets – they do eventually grow quite large, and are not suitable as house pets).
Olivia and her team quickly decided they couldn’t keep all this porky cuteness to themselves; as well as breeding the pigs, they began to hire out their little porky stars for school and educational visits, private parties and tv appearances (you may have spotted Mia and Rosie on Good Mornign Britain a few months ago), and introduced onsite piggy packages to the public.
On their advice, we opted for the 90-minute Children’s Mini-Pig Keeping experience, where the girls would find out a bit about the pigs, before being able to feed, groom and play with them.
Finally, the day arrived; after an unseasonably hot, dry summer, of course the heavens opened on the day of the party! Determined not to let a little rain dampen our spirits, we pulled up in the carpark, ready to ‘get piggy with it’.
It was a little unclear at first where the pigs were actually located, but looking around we spotted what looked like a line of pigsty enclosures in the left field, so we headed up the driveway towards them. After a squirt of hand sanitiser, a health & safety briefing and an introduction to each of the porky pals in the pens, the girls were split into two groups – one was lead off to refill the hay bales, while the second was handed brushes to groom the pigs.
Despite the damp and drizzle, the girls all got stuck in and had a great time.
‘Did you enjoy your day?’ I asked Lil Sis on the way home. ‘I loved it,’ she replied, ‘But it went so quickly and I was trying to talk to all my friends too, and I just wish I’d had more time with the piggies.’
So, as a special extra treat in half term, I booked tickets for Lil Sis and me to return to Kew Little Pigs for their Piggy Pet & Play session (top tip: I found a brilliant half-price deal via Groupon). This time she had the entire farm to herself, so we started with the oldest and biggest pigs at the far end, and leisurely worked our way back to the youngest and smallest pigs.
Lil Sis was in piggy heaven.
As we said our goodbyes, we learned something very exciting – two of the sows are being bred at the end of this year, which means two litters of micro-piglets will be due in the spring (pigs gestate for three months, three weeks and three days – how crazy is that?!).
So that’s our next visit to Kew Little Pigs already booked in!
• Kew Little Pigs accommodates on and off-sit school visits, and offers a range of farm experience packages. They also sell a range of merchandise, including their adorable 2019 calendar.