How to Keep Pigs Warm in the Winter
How to Keep Pigs Warm in the Winter – Pigs are practically naked, and their skin is natural to see. Pigs due have a thick layer of fat, which they use as insulation. Like all other animals, pigs do need shelter in winter to keep themselves dry. 9 Simple ways to keep your Pigs Warm
Usually, when people get their first-ever pig or any other animal, they often get worried about how to handle the winter season for them.
Understandably, even we humans would die quickly from hypothermia if left outdoor. Nevertheless, animals don’t live within buildings; they have whatever they require to keep themselves warm.
Symptoms of Pigs Suffering Temperature Problems – Heat Stress in Livestock
Different species have different ways of protection. Like chicken use their feathers, sheep use wool, cows have leather, and goats have cashmere.
We humans usually use skins and fibers from animals to keep ourselves safe in winter. Keeping in view all the points mentioned above, questions arise that what do pigs do during the winter? Or how can the owners keep the pigs warm in colder seasons?
During the hot and spring seasons, pigs can keep them outside indefinitely. The weather in those seasons is good, and the conditions are pleasant. There are no environmental factors that contribute to the incubation or spread of the diseases.
With the change in the climate, especially in autumn, there are a few susceptibilities that several pig breeds get pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. Therefore, for pigs, special considerations are required in the winter season to keep them healthy.
PLACING THE PIGS INSIDE: –
Initially, it is essential to decide either to keep the pigs outside or move them indoor to make available the protection from the elements. It is far better to keep the pigs inside in cold weather as it easy to control them and secure to protect them.
If the pigs are kept inside, then it is better to have easy access to an outdoor area for their wastage, and exercise. In winter, pigs usually eat more to keep themselves warm.
However, it is essential to provide a space for running. This running area will help the owner to make sure that the pig doesn’t get too obese.
It is a common saying “A fat pig is not a happy pig.”
Before moving the pigs indoors, there should be an excessive supply of freshwater. There should be a regular change of hay and bedding to ensure that the pigs are warm, clean, and healthy.
The recommendations are to keep bedding near to the entrance so that the sleeping area doesn’t get any mud. Additional bedding works well as insulation during the winter, but care should be taken not to over-insulate the pigs.
A couple of adults pig can produce enough heat to keep the area warm without any further help.
KEEPING PIGS OUTDOOR: –
The other option is to keep the pigs outside during the winter season. Placing a sack-cloth, or comparable, door over the entry is crucial in the wintertime. This cloth can be dropped over the entranceway at night and will prohibit heat loss. This dropping is an essential factor in making sure that the pigs don’t get any sort of respiratory problem during the winter months.
Another good idea is to raise the area of pigs off the ground on the railway sleeper. These sleepers will prevent the bedding from become wet and keep it clean. If the arch is made up of wood with the entrance facing away from the prevailing wind, also helps to fight against the winter.
These cautions are all somewhat depending on the position of the area, and the kind of soil is present there. A dense, clay-based soil will create more problems with the presence of groundwater.
Even if the pigs are living outside, it is essential to cover the whole area that should have light during feeding. This light is not only for keeping the pigs warm but feeding them twice with light will help to keep them healthy. This lit will also maintain the sleeping rhythms of the pigs.
As it is a bit difficult to keep the pig in the winter season, compare to the milder months. However, this difficulty will help the owner to understand more about raising them in the fairer season.
HOW PIGS MANAGE THE COLD
Humans always built a shelter for themselves during the harsh season, whereas animals naturally keep them warm. This is the reason humans have skin and hair, though animals have wool, feather, etc.
Pigs don’t have much hair. However, they have a thick coating of fat under the skin. This thick coat of fat plays a vital role in keeping the pigs warm as do the wool or the feather.
But despite thick layers of fat are, pigs still need extra care to survive the cold weather. The pigs need dryness, and this is why they require bedding.
The bedding of pigs consists of a dense layer of straw. This bedding of straw will help to cushion the pigs from the ground.
HOW TO KEEP PIGS WARM DURING WINTER SEASON:
Following is the procedure to keep the pigs warm during the winter season.
- PROVIDE SHELTER
There are several different suggestions available regarding the shelter for pigs. Some would suggest keeping the pigs in insulated housing, while others would recommend the typical setup for the pigs is adequate.
The solution of these suggestions ends by knowing the breed of the pig and how worse the climate goes in the particular area they are going to live in. Another crucial point to remember is to keep the ventilation proper for the pigs. If the airflow is good, the pigs will love to live in the housing, and even the climate becomes warmer and hotter.
- SELECTION OF THEIR BEDDING WELL
One of the best ways to keep the sheltering shield from the cold weather is by continuing to use a thick straw. The use of different materials can also help to make available maximum warmth. Pigs do love some tools like pillows and blankets during the cold climate if kept inside the shelter.
The only thing to recall is to make sure not to over-wrap the shelter, as it may harm the pigs by increasing the risk of diseases.
This point is vital, especially if there is a cluster of pigs snuggling together because they can produce heat from the body and keeping each other well insulated.
- KEEPING PIGS DRY AND CLEAN
Just like humans, it is a disaster to keep the pig wet. It is also essential to know that the pigs are clean and dry to help them live a healthy life despite bitter weather out. Don’t just keep the pigs clean and dry, but their bedding too. The cold is the main issue for the pigs and the ground for illness. The owner needs to brush and condition the skin rather than washing them during the cold season.
- KEEP PIGS HYDRATED
The pigs must be hydrated. Otherwise, they are more at risk of getting diseases. Therefore, the owner must be more vigilant to keep the pigs hydrated during the cold season. If the pigs are outside, then the owner must be sure that the water is not freezing.
- MAINTAIN OF THE ROUTINE
It is essential to maintain pigs’ usual routine during the winter. Try to keep training with regular exercise. By continuing the habit, pigs are getting physical and mental fitness and reducing the risk of diseases.
This routine will retain their energy level higher and avoid them from getting lazy. Therefore, any disruption to the method of the pigs could result in more damage than good.
- USE OF HEATERS AND HEAT LAMPS
If the piglets or small pigs are in the arc, then it is better to invest in a conventional heater or at least somewhat heat lamps. A recommended apparatus most pig farmers use is heat lamps when pigs give birth to young ones. As the piglets have thin skin, therefore, they require additional care during the harsh cold season.
However, it is always compulsory to keep a regular check and balance for the heat lamps as there are a few incidences that the bedding gets fire from these heat lamps. If the owner cannot keep a close watch all the time, then it is better to keep the heater instead of heat lamps.
HOW MUCH FOOD QUANTITY REQUIRED BY PIGS TO STAY WARM IN WINTER
An average pig usually consumes 3 – 6 lbs of food regularly. Increasing food intake from 6 – 9 lbs could contribute to how much the pig’s bodies can naturally produce body heat.
Increased food consumption will help the pigs to generate more body heat. Indoor or outdoor pigs can do this procedure. However, the owner has to make sure that pigs do burn off some excess fat. Penn State Extension
Nevertheless, some pigs develop obesity quickly regardless of their natural weight gain. Obesity is not suitable for pigs compared to healthy body fat.
This obesity is the most common issue for the pigs, especially during the winter season where pigs become more inactive, and they become unable to get rid of extra fat.
WHAT EXERCISE CAN KEEP PIGS WARM IN WINTER
Pigs need some exercise even during the cold weather. If the snow is not severe and pigs want to go out, then letting them play is a good idea. Making them perform some kind of exercise in winter will help them to keep healthy.
Moving outside will make them feel the heat instead of curling up in a side due to the cold. Exercise will also help the pigs to avoid obesity.
ARE PIGS SENSITIVE TO COLD: –
Usually, pigs produce their heat. There are some incidences where the owners can see steam coming out of their bodies. However, pigs do suffer from different illnesses if the cold becomes too much for them to handle.
Pigs are prone to frostbite, pneumonia, hypothermia, and other respiratory diseases. The lower temperature can also affect the process of the pig’s food. No matter how well the feed worked for the whole year, feed efficiency may get affected during the cold season.
During the lower temperature conditions, the pigs will start to shiver as humans do during the uncomfortable winter season. There might be an initiation of signs like cold or cough if the pig is getting too much cold.
The eyes may become sunken, which can also be an alarming sign from the pigs, indicating the beginning of an ailment. The behavior of pigs also changes during the cold season. Some pigs may become off feed or eat less in the cold season as compared to the usual weather.
This lower consumption of feed makes them even more prone to the disease as they start producing lesser body heat.
CAN COLD FREEZE PIGS TO DEATH:
The environment provided to pigs is the key element to produce optimal conditions for pig production. Swine health is directly proportional to the temperature provided.
Pigs are highly adaptable animals, and .they can perform well within a range of temperatures known as a “Thermo-neutral zone (TNZ).” The inability of a pig to maintain its body temperature could result in its death. With a lower environmental temperature, the pig will eat more to keep themselves warm. This results in slow and inefficient growth.
When the pig falls outside of TNZ, it will start facing temperature stress. Pigs usually have a small range of temperature that permits them to arrange nutrients for growth or reproduction optimally.
When the temperature falls, and the cold persists for a more extended period, the pigs will find them in a negative energy balance that is not possible to correct with the feed only.
This negative energy balance will result in slow or underdeveloped growth of young ones and loss of weight in adult pigs. Inexperienced pigs may grow slowly but will be unable to make the most of muscle growth before maturing to phases of fat deposition.
In most advanced cases, the result is the death of the pigs. Cold stress is an unnecessary burden for the pigs as cold weather is challenging for their immune system, growth capacity, and capability to live. Slow growth means that pigs will consume more feed but produce less meat.
The tolerance of cold weather in pigs depends on several following factors:
- An excellent shelter protects from dampness and precipitation.
- Proper insulation during the winters
- Proper ventilation
- Prevention of drafts
- Maintain a comfortable zone for the pigs by providing an optimal temperature.
- A good body score of the pigs