Pot belly pigs are curious and intelligent animals. If your pet pig is going to be a house piggy then you will need to 'pig proof' your house just as you would for a toddler. They will chew on anything and can open just about anything so check those electric cords, 'child proof' those cabinets and your refridgerator, and make sure you check all your furnishings. Pot belly pigs like to rub and/or scratch against anything (like walls and furniture) so be sure anything that can be knocked over is secure. They are much stronger than you think!!
Your pig will need a space he can call all his own. If you have a whole room that he can call his own, great. For mine it is their bed and when they are in it we leave them alone as this is their space. Some pigs like being in a closet, some pigs actually have a camping tent set up in the house that is theirs. No matter where their bed is, that is their sanctuary! Sleeping Box Ideas
Your potbellied pigs bed should consist of blankets and pillows. Never use cedar bedding or sleeping bags. Your best bet will be to get some cheap blankets from a thrift store as they love to shred them to just the way they want them. This will make them as happy as a pig in heaven.
An indoor pig pet left all alone all day can get very bored, particularly younger ones less than 5-6 years old. As pigs age they do slow down (just like us). Remember they are curious and also love to root (this is also natural!).
In order to amuse himself he may end up rooting up the floor or carpet, chewing on the walls and opening kitchen cupboards. Many have even figured out how to open the refrigerator, although I have not heard of any that have figured out how to use the microwave!
Remember, pigs are not only curious, but VERY SMART! If it can be opened, they WILL OPEN IT! This is another good reason why you should have all cleaning supplies, pesticides, etc. out of reach, just like with a child. It is best if your house pig has plenty of outdoor time. Don't worry, since they are so smart it is pretty easy to teach them not to chew on furniture, walls, etc. and most stop this very quickly.
If they can get to anything, like your newspaper, purse, books or slippers, it is your fault, not the pig. As smart as they are, you are still smarter than them and must plan ahead to keep your piggy safe and out of trouble.
Outdoor pigs will need a sturdy, weather proof shed or barn. Plenty of straw to keep them warm at night. We do not like blankets for outside pigs as they can get wet and hold the moisture. Ideally outdoor pigs should be kept in small groups for extra body warmth. They love to snuggle together on cool nights.
Remember that pigs need plenty of fresh drinking water at all times.
Another thing most people do not know is: Pigs do not sweat! Actually the only place they 'sweat' is out of the top end of their nose! You will see little tiny droplets of water forming there.
To help them keep cool during those hot summer days you will need either a kiddy pool (those cheap plastic ones they sell every spring do fine, but only last about one season) or a nice mud hole. Rolling around in the mud hole cools them off by covering them in cool mud. Plus, caked on mud keeps insects from getting to their skin. (Bonnie and Clyde love to use the pool then roll around on the ground to cake some dirt on themselves ).
You will need to make sure that their area is fenced well. Hog panels or cattle panels seem to work best. The cattle panels are taller (about 4 feet) and harder for stray animals to jump over. Hog panels are about 3 feet tall. These panels are heavy sections of fence. Each section is 16 feet long and made of 1/4" or 3/8" round stiff metal. Most feed stores know what these are.
Cedar fencing and chain link will do also. Chain link should be re-enforced with chicken wire along the bottom and sunk about six inches below ground. Make sure there is no place for your pigs snout or tusk to get stuck or caught. You will want a fence that will keep your pig in and others (stray dogs, coyotes or other critters) out.
An outdoor pig will want to root around. This is a natural thing and your pig should be allowed to do this. You may want to fence off a section of your yard for your pig to be a pig. They will root all the way to China in order to get at something they smell below the surface. Their snouts are very powerful. You might also need to fence off any flower beds that you want to keep. If you have a beautiful lawn and you get a pig, well, you should know what you are getting into and take appropriate precautions. They will not root up the whole lawn, but sure can root up sections!
Notes from Pigs4Ever.com
To try and answer numerous questions concerning outdoor housing, here is what your basics should be:
- Make sure their area is out of any drafts or the wind.
- Make sure they have adequate, and dry, bedding. We use straw here and it works very well. Just switch it out at least every month during the winter or rainy season to insure the bedding is kept dry. Wet surroundings and/or wet straw will make your pig sick very quickly.
- Do not use heat lamps in outdoor areas. First of all if the housing area is done properly, they will be plenty warm under their straw. Plus, over the years there have been way too many pigs that have died in fires started by heat lamps.
- If possible, give them a semi-outdoor area near or next to their sleeping area that is sheltered from snow or rain.
My husband built a Piggie Condo for our two outdoor pigs. It is located in a lean-to. Their 'condo' is about 8 foot by 4 foot by 4 foot. It is insulated, has a split top that can be opened to look in on your pigs or add bedding, and a removable side to make it easier to take out old straw. The opening is just big enough for them to enter and is covered by material to block the wind. They also have the rest of the lean-to to play in, eat in, etc. during bad weather. You can see the changes we have made over the past couple of years.
For those of you interested in a heat mat they can be found at QC Supply or eNasco You must get the control too to regulate the temperature. The highest setting we used was 3 and it does get into the single digits here during the winter.
The information presented within our information and resources section has been collected from what we consider experts and various reputable persons including vets, sanctuary owners, and private pig owners among othsrs. Information shown is the latest available. Although we have had pet pigs for 20 years and consider ourselves quite knowledgeable, we are by no means veterinarians. Any health related information presented below should be checked out with your personal veterinarian.