Thursday, January 5, 2017

Winter and Your Pig

Depending on where you live temperatures are already well below freezing and the pigs have come down with a severe case of the winter “grouchies”. House pigs are appalled that they are forced to go outside to potty.

The girls will attempt the fake squat and run back to the house, but a seasoned pee watcher can easily recognize her theatrics and block her path to the house and force her to return to her favorite spot until there is observable production. The boys on the other hand will look you right in the eye while peeing as you pet them in the house.

It is not necessary to put coats on our pigs or keep them completely indoors during the cold months no matter what part of the country you live in. They will do quite well as long as they are put outside for a short period of time.

House pigs really hate going out in the cold. They complain and moan and groan all the way to the door, but it is important that they go out so that the systems stay working well. Most pigs learn to potty in a hurry and get back inside to their blankets.

It may be necessary for you to shovel snow from the walk to the potty area and the areas itself as most pigs do not do snow.  Make sure that footing is as good as you can get it to prevent falls and injury. If necessary you can place throw rugs over slick surfaces.

This is the time also to watch for constipation problems since house pigs are prone to holding it rather than staying out long enough to get the job done. You can increase fiber in the cold months or on older pigs we have given stool softeners if needed to keep things moving. 

Older house pigs and grown pigs would rather not go out in cold weather but it is important that they move around some and going out to the bathroom will not hurt them.

It is well to remember also that your pig’s temperament may not be the same during the cold months. They tend to be more cranky and irritable during the winter months.


  1. I have a 4 year old intact male Vietnamese Pot Belly that I rescued from a neglect situation 2 years ago. Last winter he spent the entire time in a stall in my horse barn with a heat lamp and had no issues, his mood didn't change, he was sweet as could be. Once Spring arrived my husband and I built him a large fenced area and I built him a deluxe pig house. His house is insulated with 4" soft insulation on all four sides, the top and the floor. It is raised off of the ground slightly and has a porch with an overhang on the front. It has a plexiglass window that opens and closes and a Dutch door. I have the window tightly closed and the top of the door closed so there is just enough room for him to get in and out. I have the house packed full of straw and he has 3 blankets in there. I have stacked hay bales on either side of the porch to block even more wind. I check his bedding every day to make sure it is clean and dry and I shovel the snow all around his house and put down straw for him to walk on. He comes out to go to the bathroom and to drink and he eats his meals on his porch. I am sure the house is draft free and he has plenty of room to move around. This year he is getting very grouchy and tries to use his tusks on me when I am messing with anything in his house or rubbing his head (I always take my gloves off to make sure nothing on his body feels too cold). He is eating well and drinking and doesn't seem to have any bathroom issues. My concern is for the next few days we are under a wind chill warning, the wind chill could reach as low as -30°F. Are his accomodations sufficient for this weather? Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!

    1. Ugh...I can't even imagine how cold that is. I always feel like we can do more, but what you have done sounds good. The only thing that I would add if you can is a heavy blanket (we used some kind of material at one time with slits cut in it) over the door opening if you can. It will help to keep more heat in and wind out. They go under or through it. Make sure that he continues to eat (we normally doubled the amount of feed during cold spells), drink water and go potty. He will most likely stay buried in the straw and only come out when he has to. His attitude is because he is still intact and the weather sucks!