The Swimming Pigs of The Bahamas

 

In December 2017, I finally fulfilled a lifelong ambition to visit the famous Swimming Pigs in the beautiful Bahamas!  I thoroughly researched all the main tour providers and set off on a fact-finding mission to see what all the fuss was about.

The Bahamas is spread over 100,000 square miles of ocean, starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. It comprises 700 breath-taking islands, over 2,000 rocks and cays, and boasts the clearest water on the planet—with a visibility of over 200 feet.

(A cay is a low bank or reef of coral, rock, or sand.)

To get to the famous pigs you need to fly to the capital of the Bahamas, the gorgeous island of Nassau.  From there you take a boat or plane to the island of Exuma where the colonies of pigs are.  Exuma is one of the largest island in the Bahamas, attracting thousands of people every year.

In Nassau we visited Rose Island with a company called Sandy Toes. The island homes 3 gorgeous pigs aged about 6 months old. Rose island is shaped like a rose and from there you can hire snorkelling equipment to explore the marine life on one side of the beach.  On the other side you can also swim with and feed the beautiful tropical fish and see the coral. There was a sign about young nursing sharks!  However harmless, we didn’t wait around to find out!  The excursion is a full day (including a gorgeous lunch), the pigs weren’t exactly swimming pigs as they were on land, but they were fed in the water and as a British farmer, I was a little shocked to see that the pigs were being fed chicken and left-over foods. In addition, they were being fed pig pellets 3 times a day. I also checked out their enclosure of where they have shelter and sleep – and found it was extremely clean. The only negative was that we didn’t get to spend much time with the pigs.

I did give them some suggestions before leaving as it would have been better to stay with the pigs a little longer, not to feed the pigs any animal by products and to cut their feed a little as they were being fed far too much. I also mentioned the risk involved in the public feeding the pigs as pigs are naturally greedy animals and it can cause hysteria amongst the pigs.  It may be best to feed them in the morning and bring the pigs out just for play.  I also mentioned it may be better for them to have a larger enclosure.  Overall it was a fantastic day out, with lots to see and many memories to make. Rose Island is a beautiful place to visit and the people of Sandy Toes were very knowledgeable and friendly.  This is a fantastic excursion if you do not want to travel for very long to see the pigs on the other islands – it only takes 25 minutes by boat.

Exuma Water Sports is based in the north of the Island of Exuma.  Their excursions take you to White Bay Key and you can also charter a boat to Major Cay (where the original swimming pigs are based).  This is a two-hour boat journey and we would not recommend it for people with young children.  We took part on the half day excursion and found the staff to be extremely informative and knowledgeable about the pigs and the islands of the Bahamas.  The first stop was of course the amazing Swimming Pigs at White Bay Cay, which took around 30 minutes to reach.  The pigs are a large breed, predominantly Duroc and Hampshire and are a little overweight.  The staff of Exuma Water Sports knew the pigs extremely well, knew them all by name and the pigs showed a real affection for them.

While on the tour I found out a little about the care of the pigs.  They are fed twice daily, again it was scrap food which they receive from Sandals Resort.  They seemed a little disinterested in the food as they are probably overfed.  The pigs are given fresh water, which has to be brought to the island by Exuma water sports.  I did notice that a few pigs were slightly sunburnt, which is natural living in such a hot destination.  From what I saw, there was only one small piglet and the rest were quite large.  They were very friendly and didn’t pose a threat or show any aggressive behaviour.  They loved to be stroked and were swimming in the sea and even came up to the boat.  After speaking in depth with Exuma Water Sports, I found that they take a lot of responsibility for the pigs and love them dearly.  During the bad storms that hit the island in the summer of 2017, the team went to check on the pigs and cared for them.  I stayed with the pigs for around half an hour, which I would have loved to have been longer, but the tour did include other amazing stops, including meeting & feeding the iguanas with food prepared by EWS.  The island is very pretty and has a beautiful lagoon to view nearby. We also went snorkelling in the lagoons to see the tropical fish.  The team were fantastic, especially Ray the owner and his son Justin, we cannot recommend them enough.

I then took a third tour to the island of Major Cay with a company called Sunrise Tours, our tour operator was the lovely Levi.  I found this to be the best tour as it was a full day at a very reasonable rate.  The tour included an hour speed boat ride over to Major Cay.  The first thing we went to see were the pigs.  We found this island to be the most prepared and organised.  They had signs to inform people on how to treat the pigs as they were under the care of a vet and had signs with the pigs’ pictures and their names, making it a welcoming experience and it felt like you really got to know the pigs.  The island had big water containers for the pigs there, which was fantastic as the they always had fresh water. The pigs were extremely well cared for.   They had a very good shelter to keep them out of the sun which also gave them somewhere to sleep at night.  However, one pig did look unwell and was sunburnt.  It was a farrowing mother which was underweight which is quite usual for mother pigs to lose weight so quickly after birth.  The visit to the pigs was around half an hour long, and I noticed that bread, fruit and vegetables were given to the pigs by visitors instead of meat.  The pigs were very friendly and were not phased about people coming to see them.  I then went on to Thunder Grotto, a cave, which you can snorkel and dive through.  We then went on to the calming caves for photos.  During the tour I also had the opportunity to swim and feed the sharks.  We met the amazing Iguanas which inhabit 7 different islands in the Bahamas.  I then got to swim with the large turtles!  Next was an amazing snorkelling attraction in the ocean.  A mermaid playing a piano!  After lunch the final stop on the agenda was the Sandbank, a shallow water area where you can find star fish and Sand Dollars.

There are many islands you can visit while in the Bahamas.  On Stocking Island there is a fantastic restaurant called Chat N Chill, with amazing food and you can even play volleyball on the beach!  You can also feed the Sting Rays there for free.  Exuma Point restaurant is another go to place.  Owned by a gentleman called Elvis, the original founder of pig island on White Bay Cay and he manages stock control of White Bay Cay.   This restaurant also does tours to see the pigs.  The staff are amazing, as is their wonderful food!

While in Exuma, I visited Grand Isle Resort and Spa and cannot recommend them enough.  They had incredible facilities, including an infinity pool.  Based on Emerald Bay Beach, it is a serene and idyllic spa location.

I also took the time to visit Little Exuma, home to the Tropic of Cancer Beach and where they filmed parts of Pirates of The Caribbean.  Little Exuma is very quiet, with a few little shops.  Coco Plum beach is beautiful, this is where they have the amazing swings in the ocean!

Exuma is quite a remote place, there are no commercial outlets and not too many shops. Driving is a must have when visiting as there is no public transport.  This should be booked well in advance using a reputable company. The driving style is very chilled out there!  There is a lack of fresh food on the island.  Fruit and vegetables seemed to be quite expensive and hard to find.

In short, we had a once in a lifetime trip, with incredible experiences interacting with the diverse wildlife of the islands.  We discovered that you need plenty of spending money, & that for restricted diets it’s better to stay at one of the bigger resorts like Grand Isle, Sandals and February. The people we met were enthusiastic & took care of the pigs, although a dedicated member of staff to live with them would be ideal, with more shelter for the pigs and further restrictions to regulated what the pigs are fed on by the public.

This is an amazing tourist attraction which in my opinion needs much more investment by the local authorities to ensure the health of these wonderful creatures as now it is unregulated.  A pig quarantine is a must for any sick pig.   Pigs can both give and receive diseases to humans and are zoonotic and therefore disease prevention controls should be in place including health and safety regulations.  Hand gel would be a good start.  Basic knowledge of the pigs health and safety should be available by leaflet to inform the public of do’s and don’ts before the visit takes place.  This could be easily supplied by the tour operators.  These minor implementations could ensure the welfare of the pigs and the visitors.

Finally, we’d like to thank:

 

What a day!

What a fab day we had meeting all of the Old Amersham residents and establishments!

On 6th May 2017 locals flocked to our new farm based at Old Amersham farm to meet the new piggy residents and were plied with cakes, food and drinks to celebrate the pigs moving to the most serene and beautiful surroundings.

We had a fab day meeting families, business owners and lots of interesting people – we even helped plan the most beautiful marriage proposal!

We’d like to thank all the local businesses including Tescos & The Amersham Museum for taking the time to come down and see us – it was great to meet you all!

We are very excited to now be officially part of the community and look forward to working with many of you in the future.

We would also like to extend our thanks to the amazing Copas Family and the ladies at Mares Community farm, you have all been lovely and extremely welcoming – thank you very much.

ICE 2017 – Gluck Games

We would like to thank the amazing team at Gluck games for hiring us to attend the ICE 2017 gaming event at the Excel in London. The 3 day event was a huge and wonderful experience for us and the pigs – our squealers were a huge hit! From show girls to warriors, our piggies saw it all walking around this huge exhibition!

We need to say a huge congratulations to Gluck as they won the ICEVOX game to watch competition 2017 – well done guys, you deserve it!

Peppa and Polka created a huge squeal around the arena, everyone rushing to see the little piggies walking around in their leads and harnesses – safe to say our piggies can really pull in a crowd!

Once again we want to say a huge thank you to Gluck for hiring us and introducing us to the world of virtual gaming! You were a dream to work with.

Everyone please take the time to take a look at their website www.gluckgames.com – if you need a game designed and engineered these are your people!

Pig agility & training

We’re very excited to be launching our new service called ‘Pignic & Agility’ this week and think the pigs will love the new surroundings and attention!

 

Pigs are extremely clever animals and love to have their brains trained – much like dogs. Our agility set is only small, as we are using some younger pigs, but provides a stimulating activity that makes them use their brain and once completed they will be treated with some yummy food or treats. Our set includes a tunnel, cones and some small jumps – pigs can actually jump quite high but our jumps are very small as we don’t want to startle them.

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A great idea for training a pig at home is to hide food in their pen, by burying it or just hiding it around in spots – making them use their noses and brain.

Another idea if you are creative is to make a holder for a bottle and fill it with their favourite treat – in order for them to get the treat they would have to flip the bottle upside down.

Feed your piggies well!

We would firstly like to say a huge thank you to all of the staff at Allen & Page – Especially to Tim – for all of their support and advice given over the years. We have worked closely with Allen and page for over 4 years and cannot highly recommend their feed enough. Our micro pigs have always been on their potbellied pig feed range – specifically designed for potbellies, micro’s and kune kunes. While our pigs have been fed this we have noticed our pigs are healthy, lean and well fed. This feed has been specially produced to ensure that pet pigs have the correct amount of protein and fibre.

  • High Quality Pot Bellied Pig Feed
  • Also Suitable for Kune Kunes, Micro Pigs & Pet Pigs
  • Specially Formulated to Avoid Obesity
  • High Fibre, Low Calorie
  • With Added Herbs
  • Broad Spectrum Vitamins & Minerals
  • 12% Protein Content

 

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Allen & page care about the welfare of animals and try to instil this in their feeds by only using non GM ingredients and drug free ingredients. They have even been recognised by royalty, having been appointed by the Prince of Wales in 2009! They use omega oils in their feed, giving animals a great coat and soft skin.

They not only do different kinds of pig feed, but their smallholder range also includes chicken feed, sheep & goat feed, cattle and feed specifically designed for ex battery hens. The company works alongside DEFRA to give the best quality produce as they can and scientifically look into their feeds to ensure that it is best for the animals.

We have tried and tested other feeds throughout the years and have found that our pigs have gained lots of weight too quickly or that their still hungry even after the recommended amount. With Allen & Page it is totally different, our pigs are satisfied after their meals and find it very tasty!

Enjoy work with Chiswick Business park!

We were hired for a fantastic event with Enjoy work! for the staff and residents of Chiswick business park on Friday the 8th of May.

The event was for the hard workers of the company based at the business park to come down and enjoy and chill out on their lunch break. There an array of activities that included gardening, other petting stations and most importantly, us!!

Our piggies loved having hundreds of people fuss over them and even stopped for a quick cuddle with people. They were on the cards to do agility, but with pigs, sometimes you have to go with the flow – they took it upon themselves to refuse any part in agility and opted for the food option instead – we can’t blame them!

It was a great afternoon spent talking to many pig lovers and telling people how fantastic piggies are!

Find a few pics below!

 

 

 

 

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Why buy a micro pig?

Micro pigs are highly intelligent creatures that can provide love, care and affection just like dogs, the only exception is they have hair instead of fur! These animals are perfect for those suffering from allergies but have always wanted a pet of their own – and they are much more interested than fish!

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Micro pigs can be walked, although this is not a necessity as pigs do not need a lot of exercise as they are sty animals.

Micro pigs are also extremely cheap to feed. A bag of pot bellied pig feed is £15 and for two pigs it should last around 1 month. Plus you can also feed your pigs yummy fruit and vegetables – just be sure it’s not out of kitchen.

Micro pigs are also very clever, so you can teach them amazing things, such as sit, stay, lay down and even get them to wait by the back door if they need to toilet! Some people also toilet train their pigs, so that when they are in the home, they use a litter tray, this usually takes around a week. IMG_8582 (640x427)

Micro pigs can bring a lot of joy and satisfaction into your lives, as they are truly wonderful pets to keep! They do not require 24/7 attention, as they live outdoors, you can feed them in then morning, muck out and head off to work. In the evenings it is nice to spend time with them and even bring them into the home, as they do love attention!

We always have little cuties for sale to have as a new addition to the home.

For any advice or more information please feel free to contact us on 07904617650

The team at Kew little pigs. x

Winter tips for pig owners

Snow and ice is finally on it’s way and it is important to be prepared for the winter months ahead.

It’s a good idea to keep your pigs health in top condition during winter as it prevents them from getting ill in the colder monthsPoster2 (480x640). We have recently changed our worming medicine, it is important to do this regularly as your pigs body can become immune.

Now may be a good time to prepare their pen for the cold nights ahead. Ensure that their beds are damp free and clean, you may even want to virkon them just to make sure, and then ensure they have lots of straw to snuggle up in. You can also give them a little more feed if you like to help them put on a little weight and keep warm in the cold.

We don’t recommend getting heat lamps, as you know pigs can’t sweat, but if you feel your pig may be feeling the cold outside, you can always give it some blankets, or bring it in the house with supervision.

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It may also be a good idea to get stocked up on hay, straw and feed, especially if you live in rural areas, as it may be difficult to get out in icy conditions.

Please also remember in winter months that your hose may freeze! It’s always a good idea to keep buckets of water by your pig pen to top them up with fresh water.

Kew little pigs update!

It’s been a while since we have last posted on here, and we have had a lot going on!

To start off with, we have a new farm! Our 3 acre farm is based in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire and we share the land with donkeys, sheep and much, much more. Our piggies are already having a fantastic time as they have lots of space to forage and be piggy, Gizmo has taken to bathing in his water and laying under the oak trees to keep cool in this scorching weather, while Patrick and Kew have taken to sleeping outside under the trees at night. We will be holding an open day to introduce ourselves into the community and to show off our new litter of piglets on the 16th of August from 10am until 2pm – please contact us via our contact page for more details. We would like to thank the amazing Jamie for looking after our pigs and being fantastic when helping us!

Our other brilliant news is that 33Scarlett, Boe and Delilah have all given birth to beautiful piglets! Boe gave birth to 3 little cuties, one black and white and two black. Delilah had two little black piglets and Scarlett had a beautiful litter of 8 black and pink piglets. All mothers and piglets are doing well and are extremely cute! We are looking for forever homes for our new additions, so all that are interested in having a micro pig as a pet, please contact us.

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