Care home builds 'Pig Palace' for two pigs to live in

·3-min read
Residents and the pigs at Knights' Grove care home in North Baddesley. Photo: Bupa
Residents and the pigs at Knights' Grove care home in North Baddesley. Photo: Bupa

TWO piglets are bringing joy to a care home after moving into an outdoor pen where they are fed by residents.

Knights' Grove in North Baddesley adopted the two pigs after former farmer Tony Alford, 81, moved in.

Tony, who has dementia, has looked after pigs for most of his life - and sold New Forest ponies at auction.

The home won permission from Defra to adopt the Kunekune pigs, and built a pen and enclosed garden paddock named the Pig Palace.

READ MORE: Care home stages cow-themed 90th birthday party

They are already proving a hit - with Tony's daughter Rachel Witts seeing an "immediate change" in her dad after the pigs were brought in.

She said: "I can’t believe how innovative the home has been. The pigs take my dad right back to his childhood.

"My sisters and I saw an immediate change in him after the piglets arrived. It has given him some responsibility and given him something to look forward to. We can’t thank the team at Knights’ Grove enough.”

One of the animals was named Doris after Tony's childhood favourite pig.

But ginger and black piglet Doris had to be renamed Boris after a vet carried out a close inspection.

Both Boris and stablemate Poppy will live out their natural lives in the Pig Palace at the home.

Residents are helping grooming and feeding the animals, with some mucking them out too.

Food waste is being fed to the pigs and their manure is being composted.

Care home manager Claudia Carvell added: “Every morning Tony is ready and waiting with his coat on to go see the pigs.

"He helps us feed them and gives our carers advice on how to look after them.

"We have seen a massive difference in him since the piglets arrived – his face just lights up when he sees them and he keeps saying ‘I love ‘em!’ the staff also love having the pigs and we have a pig rota, so everyone knows when it’s their turn to care for them.”

Chef manager Otis Cope is the registered keeper of the pigs.

He said: “Although you have to be careful what pigs eat and follow guidelines, we can minimise food waste by giving the pigs potato peelings and they love cherry tomatoes.

"Pigs don’t create a massive amount of waste, but we are planning to compost the manure and make it available to our gardening club and anyone else who would like some.”

Otis added: “I have my own animals at home, so I was thrilled to be asked to play a part in caring for the piglets. I have registered the pigs with a local vet to do regular visits, I’ve also made sure they are wormed and vaccinated. I am even training them to follow a bucket for food, to make sure they’re well behaved.”

Boris and Poppy were rehomed from a farm in Winchester that would have otherwise slaughtered them both.