Breeding stockperson (pigs)

Breeding stockperson (pigs)

A breeding stockperson usually supports the farm team in serving (breeding), farrowing (birthing), and weaning of pigs that are to be reared for meat or breeding.
Also known as pig stockperson, pig stock keeper, livestock keeper, pig farm worker (breeding), assistant livestock keeper, or pig technician (breeding pigs).

This profile highlights the skills and knowledge associated with the role. However, jobs will have varying responsibilities depending on level of the role and the size or type of the business.

UK farmers work to extremely high welfare standards. As a breeding stockperson, you will take care of pigs of various ages and must be able to spot any problems relating to animal health, welfare, or biosecurity.

You'll be responsible for feeding, cleaning out, bedding, handling, and maintaining the welfare of pigs.  

You'll also make sure pigs can move freely, have a constant supply of fresh water, and are safe. If the pigs are kept indoors, you'll ensure their housing is well ventilated to help them stay healthy. If kept outdoors, you will maintain their environment to protect them from the elements, make sure they are fenced appropriately, and have access to water. The career progression routes and level of automation are quite different between indoor and outdoor pigs, with more technology and automation being present in the care of pigs reared indoors. 

You may also be required to safely operate machinery, such as feed and weighing equipment,  drive farm machinery, and administer some veterinary treatments - once appropriately trained/under supervision. 

It's especially important that pigs are the right weight and condition for good animal welfare and to meet customer standards. 

As a breeding stockperson, you will report to the pig unit manager, farm manager, or owner. You should also be able to record necessary information on IT systems for monitoring and reporting.  

You may need to have your own transport to get to work, but many of these roles come with other benefits such as on-site accommodation.

As a breeding stockperson your responsibilities may include: 

  • Meeting the health and welfare needs of the pigs with correct feeding, watering, housing/shelter, handling effectively during serving, farrowing, weaning, and general husbandry  
  • Providing a clean, safe environment for the pigs. This is important to help prevent disease, illness, and injury 
  • Giving medications and vaccinations safely and effectively where needed 
  • Operating and maintaining machinery for tasks such as bedding down and feeding 
  • Recording all the necessary data competently onto IT systems 
  • Following relevant legislation, health and safety guidelines, and the farm’s biosecurity protocols 
  • Working with the farm manager and vet to ensure the health and animal welfare policy is followed 

To work as a breeding stockperson in the pig sector, you should:

  • Enjoy being hands-on with animals 
  • Enjoy working in a team but also able to work on your own initiative 
  • Be able to communicate and listen well to others 
  • Be able to spot and report problems 
  • Understand guidance and be able to act on it 
  • Be highly motivated and keen to develop skills and knowledge

As a breeding stockperson, you don’t always need a formal qualification. However, you must have a keen interest in pigs and agriculture and be eager to learn. 

You can also gain experience by volunteering on a farm or smallholding.  

If you live in a city or urban area, you could volunteer on a local city farm, community garden, or allotment. You can find some of these in your area on t he Social Farms and Gardens website

It is also helpful to have a basic knowledge of pig diseases and health issues and how to help prevent them​.​ You can find information from respected sources such like the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS).

As a breeding stockperson, you will work to high animal welfare standards and achieve production targets set by the farm. You will: 

  • Follow correct procedures to ensure good welfare, biosecurity, and environmental practice 
  • Follow farm protocols to meet animal hygiene standards to prevent risk of disease and injury 
  • Ensure the relevant health and safety standards are met 
  • Help with the successful husbandry of all the pigs in your care 
  • Monitor and handle individuals and groups of pigs calmly and confidently  
  • Feed pigs correctly to prepare them for serving and farrowing and to achieve growth targets and feed efficiencies in the younger pigs  
  • Maintain pig accommodation and/or fields to keep animals secure and meet their needs  
  • Weigh and record animal weight gain and feed efficiency using the right equipment and terminology 
  • Be competent with computerised systems used on the farm  
  • Administer medications where required 
  • Make sure effluent (waste) is managed effectively and in line with legal requirements 

Starting at £24,000. However, this will rise depending on your level of experience, the number of animals on farm and location. More experienced team members working on larger farms can expect to earn up to £35,000.

Housing (sometimes with tax allowances), transport, overtime payments and production bonuses may be included in the renumeration packages in this sector. This can make them far more rewarding than the headline financial salary offered. 

Full- and part-time opportunities are available and some weekend working and shift working may be required. 

As a breeding stockperson, you'll have lots of opportunities to progress your career once you’ve built skills and experience. 

If you are keen to progress your career in the industry, you could initially develop your skills and knowledge to become a senior stocksperson taking on responsibility for the more technical aspects of pig production such as administering medication (including vaccinations) and getting involved in the artificial insemination process.

With further training and experience you could even move on to a management-level role, such as unit manager, fieldsperson or farm manager

Courses which can help you on this career path include:

Level 1 Diploma Land-based Studies Agriculture  

Level 2 Technical Certificate in Agriculture  

Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Agriculture  


General Farm Worker Level 2 

Livestock Unit Technician Level 3

TIAH Essential Skills

Our online Essential Skills modules can help you develop your skills and knowledge in a range of areas and are a great addition to your CV.

Anyone considering working as a breeding stockperson in the pig sector would find our Animal Health and WelfareBiosecurity, and Foundations in Farm Safety courses helpful.

You can find out more about the diverse range of roles in the pig sector by listening to Ben Eagle's Meet the Farmers podcast, episode 150.

Return to our job profiles page for more exciting roles in farming and growing.