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Winter Health Reminders

During winter months, its good to keep a special eye on the pigs that live in our states with the cold and colder weather. This time of year the temps can go crazy... or they have here anyway. One day its 80 and the next it's cold in the 50's with a cold rain. Outside pigs can take the cold if given good housing, but even those with good housing can be affected by the drastic change and dampness when it comes so suddenly.

Each year there are always numerous calls about pet pigs with pneumonia. The main thing to watch for is generally larthargic pigs, ones that aren't eating with the same gusto that they have shown before. If in doubt... take that temperature! A temperature above 101 is cause for concern. (Don't let your vet tell you that normal temperature for a pig is 102... that's normal for a farm pig, but not a potbellied pig).

Pigs don't usually cough with pneumonia... they just quit eating... so the sooner you catch the problem the easier it is to fix. Phneumonia can be fixed if your on top of the problem in the beginning. Make sure if your in the wet areas that the pigs have dry bedding... wet bedding will increase the chances dramatically for your pig getting ill. Also drafts... not a little draft, but if you have buildings where the wind can blow through that is a draft. Hope this helps avoid the problems.

Phyllis Battoe
Pig Pals Sanctuary

Notes from

To try and answer numerous questions concerning outdoor housing, here is what your basics should be:

  1. Make sure their area is out of any drafts or the wind.
  2. 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. Pigs will go outside their housing area and collect straw if they do not have enough within their housing, so be sure you give them plenty!
    Remember: Wet surroundings (within their housing) and/or wet straw can make your pig sick very quickly and this will usually be pneumonia.
  3. 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 with their own body heat. Plus, over the years there have been way too many pigs that have died in fires started by heat lamps.
  4. If possible, give them a semi-outdoor area near or next to their sleeping area that is sheltered from snow or rain. We built an enclosure around their sleeping area and included a lean to. This gives them an area they wander around in without getting into the weather.

Exampe of Outdoor Housing

My husband built a Piggie Condo for our two outdoor pigs. It is located in a lean-to. Their 'condo' is about 4 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 (straw), and has 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 a heavy canvas like material to block the wind. They also have the rest of the lean-to to play in, eat in, etc. during bad weather.

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 others. 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.

Pigs are where it's at.

ALL pet pigs should be spayed or neutered before sold. They should be at least 6-8 weeks of age and weaned from mom.

PLEASE do your homework before getting a pig for a pet. Make sure that you are zoned for pigs as pets. Is there a vet in your area that will see mini pigs?

Please make sure that you're ready to commit to this pet for the next 12-15 plus years. The truth is that the potbellied pig is only a good pet for those who take commitment and responsible pet ownership very seriously.


"Potbelly pigs are not products you just throw away when you get bored or become overwhelmed. They are intelligent, caring creatures who depend on you for their survival.

PLEASE: Do your homework BEFORE getting one. Don't be stubborn or worse, ignorant. Know the facts before you get into unexpected problems."

Richard Slayton
Proud Pot Belly Pig Dad.
Animal Poison Control

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is your best resource for any poison-related emergency, 24/7, 365. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call 888.426.4435. A $65 per case fee may apply.