WINTERIZING YOUR PIG
You winterize your car, your house; how about that special companion, your pet pig? They need special care and attention in the winter, too.
Pigs have the natural ability to deal with cold weather better than we do. In the wild they put on an extra layer of fat to manage the cold and scarcity of food. Notice how they will "plump-up" on grass, when they graze, as the fall approaches.
When we bring them into our homes, even if they spend some of the day outside, the winter brings on special challenges. Here are a few things to consider:
Cold holds less moisture than warm air. As your pig breaths it expels more moisture and will tend to dehydrate. Take special care to make sure they are getting enough water. In the winter this is more difficult because they do not like to drink very cold water. You may need to warm the water to normal room temperature.
Water intake can also lead to other problems. Your pig may hold their urine waiting to go outside and then avoid the opportunity. The result is concentrated urine and possible urinary tract infection. One symptom is noticeable difficulty in urinating (poor or interrupted stream). If you suspect a problem call your veterinarian as soon a possible.
Counting Calories For Inside Pigs
A pig's metabolism naturally slows down in the winter. It is nature's way of helping them cope with less available food supplies. Since you are their food source you may need to make adjustments, too. Too many calories in the winter can lead to an obese pet pig next year. Watch them closely. If they start to get fat reduce their food intake.
Counting Calories for Outside Pigs
If you keep your pet pig outside during the winter, make sure their home is dry, cozy, insulated, has plenty of bedding, a good flap on the door and a companion if possible. Counting calories for an outside pig is different. They will burn more calories to keep warm and may loose weight. Again watch them closely and increase their food if necessary. That "plump-up" they acquired over the summer will quickly disappear.
House Bound and Hostile
Our indoor/outdoor pigs may have a hard time adjusting to being indoors more than they would like. That blast of cold or wet air, when you try to let them out, may discourage even the bravest among them. Yes, a pet pig can get the winter blues. Giving them a coat to wear may help. If they just refuse, make sure you have a "litter pan" available in the house.
To order coats: Click Here
Managing Your Pet Pig Anytime
As you know a pig can be, well..."Pigheaded." On the farm, we need to outsmart over 100 of them and sometimes we use a "squeeze board." It's a type of board you hold next to the pig and they think it's a wall.
All you need to do is place it along side your pig and they tend to walk beside it as you move. It's that easy. You can make one or purchase the one we use at the farm store. It could prove to be the best solution for getting them out of the house on those cold days when they need to go out.
To order a squeeze boards: Click Here.
Help is Just a Phone Call Away
The Ross Mill Farm "Home of The Pet Pig" is just a phone call away. If you need more information on the care of your Pet Pig, just give us a call. Ask for Susan (215) 322-1539. We are here to help.