Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heat and Pigs

With the heat that we are having across the country right now I thought I would give a few tips about keeping our piggies cool.

House pigs should go out early morning and later in the evening when temps are at their coolest. They are used to the A/C and being out in the heat for too long can cause a pig to over heat.

Various ways to shade: Porky hiding in the plants, Hansel under the shade sail, and Porky getting a drink from the pool that has an umbrella over it. There is also a lean to in the background that provides shade.

Outside pigs should always have plenty of shade. The shade can be from plants, a lean to, a tarp, umbrella or a type of shade sail. They also need access to either a pool or mud hole.

These too should be in the shade not sitting directly in the sun. I personally like the mud hole as it serves a dual purpose. The mud works as a sunblock and protects against bugs. For the new pig parent it can be a challenge to get your pig into the pool for the first time. I cut out an opening with a pair of scissors so that the pig can easily get in and out. The pool doesn't need to be filled to the top. Just a couple of inches of water is more than enough for the pig to cool itself off and will make cleaning a bit easier on you.

Porky likes to be half in and half out of his pool.

On those really hot and humid days we hose down the ground (NOT the pig) where the pigs live so at least the ground is cool. I have also keep a fan on low running to keep air circulating. It is not blowing directly on the pig.

 Most pigs are not fond of being hosed down, though there are 2 here that will let me do it from time to time. If squirting your pig with hose please watch where you are pointing the hose. The belly area is what we want to cool down NOT their back. Watch not to get it in their face or ears. Water in the ears will give them a head tilt.

Remember that the water coming out of your hose will be hot to begin with so give it time to cool down before spraying your pig or filling up pools or water bowls. If you have a pig like Hansel he will wake up from sleeping to get a drink from a freshly filled bowl or pool.

Keep an eye on your babies and stay cool. They won't feel like doing much, but then neither do I on those really hot days.

If you think that your pig might be over heating (breathing heavy) you need to cool him down. Spraying him with hose is not what you want to do. The best way to cool down a pig is with a cool/tepid towel or water on his belly and behind the ears if he will let you. I have had two pigs this year so far that have needed cooling down. They would not let me put a towel on them, but slowly run the hose on their belly and thus cooling them down and wetting down the ground at the same time.

Encourage them to drink WATER...only adding some Gatorade or Pedialyte as a 50/50 mixture if necessary. Offer goodies like watermelon, Popsicles, frozen grapes and ice cubes in water as summer time treats. Note these are not meant to cool off a pig that is over heating...but as a treat.