Practical Provisions for Pet Pigs
There are many essential practical provisions for pet pigs. You should be sure you can meet them to provide pigs with a good life if you are considering adoption.
Land and space requirements for pet pigs
Ideally every pig would have half an acre of land to roam on. So, two pigs would share one acre of land and four pigs would share two acres etc. However, there are so many pigs in need of homes that this not always realistic. Therefore, it is not a standard that we adhere to rigidly.
We consider a number of factors when assessing the size of the land that each applicant has available. These will include the size and age of the pigs that will be living on the land, whether you will be around on a daily basis to provide extra interaction and enrichment, the shelter provided and hard-standing areas available.
If your land is not exactly the ideal size but you feel you are able to compensate in other ways, you can contact us to discuss your options further.
Please note the average garden in a residential area is rarely, if ever, suitable for pigs.
Hard-standing areas for pet pigs
Pigs must have access some hard-standing areas. Raised concrete is ideal as flags and mud-control mats can quickly disappear into the mud in high-traffic areas when there is a lot of rain. Pigs tend to tear up the ground with their natural rooting, as well as just with their trotters as they walk around on it.
Mud is not too much of problem during dry weather but, when the inevitable UK rain comes, fields can quickly become water-logged. Pigs are prone to arthritis, particularly as they age. Hard-standing areas provide them with the solid ground they need to give them an essential break from walking around in the cold mud. They are also susceptible to a bacterial infection called bush foot if their trotters remain wet for prolonged periods of time.
Notice how the trotters of the pig on the left remain firmly on the concrete despite the puddles, whilst the pig on the right sinks into the mud as he struggles to walk.
A substantial hard-standing area around their shelter is an ideal spot.
Land Rotation for pet pigs
If your land is clay or prone to heavy water-logging, and is large enough to do so, it can be a good idea to divide it into two or more paddocks. This will allow you to switch your pigs between paddocks so each area can be given time to rest and recover. The resting land can also re-grow some lovely grass for pigs to munch on when they return to it.
Natural enrichment for pet pigs
Pigs are exceptionally intelligent and inquisitive animals. To be truly happy they need daily mental and physical stimulation to be able engage in their natural behaviours. Without this they can become bored and destructive. More space means more areas to explore and root, more smells to investigate and forage with their extremely heightened sense of smell. Trees and shrubs provide variety, as well as shade in the warm weather. A lovely wallow in which they can cool off and relax during the summer months is essential!
Suitable fencing for pet pigs
Pigs are strong. Even small pigs can quite easily batter their way through standard fencing. Pigs making repeated escapes is yet another reason we are sometimes contacted with requests to rehome. Stock-proof fencing is ideal and plenty of resources and advice are available online. Any fencing must be secured to the ground as pigs may be able to bury under any loose spots. A stone wall can be effective as long as it is high enough – pigs are not exactly world-class jumpers but some have been known to climb!
Pigs are determined creatures and we should not underestimate their drive to go after a delicious or intriguing smell that has drifted to them on the breeze. They are smart, surprisingly fast and have the solid force of a battering ram. Electronic fencing is often only effective if pigs have been trained to respect it, usually as youngsters when they don’t have the strength to simply barge through it as speed. If you are taking on adult pigs who have never encountered electronic fencing, we do not recommend it.
Once you have pigs, daily inspections of the perimeter are a good idea to check for any damage.
Perfect shelter for pet pigs
The perfect shelter is wooden with reinforced interior paneling. You can buy purpose-built shelters, use a shed or summerhouse, or build your own. Whatever you choose make sure it is very robust since pigs aren’t gentle when they move around. The floor must be raised off the ground the prevent the cold and damp seeping through. The doorway should have a windbreaker, this could be a simple flap made from securely fastened plastic sheeting.
Pigs are very susceptible to arthritis and joint problems. It is very important that they have access to shelter which is cosy, dry and free from draughts.
Whichever type of shelter you choose for your pigs, it must be large enough for all of the pigs that will be using it to move around comfortably inside. A nice deep layer of straw is essential. It should be deep enough for the pigs to fully bury themselves under it.
Creating the perfect shelter before your pigs arrive can be a lot of work. However, making sure shelter is comfortable, sturdy and reliable will save you a lot of headaches in the long-run. The first time you see your pigs snuggled up together inside, it will all be worth it!
Traditional metal pig arcs are not recommended as they can be too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. If your shelter does have a metal roof on it make sure that it is reflective or that the entire shelter is placed in good, constant shade.
Temperature control for pet pigs
Pigs are prone to sunburn and heatstroke. In the summer they need to be able to take shelter from the sun throughout the day. Ideally this would be a wooded area but a decent alternative can be easily constructed from tarpaulin, poles and ropes – a sort of makeshift piggy gazebo!
Access to water in this shaded area is also vital. Pigs do not sweat so they use mud and water to cool down. Mud is also a great natural sunscreen for lighter-skinned pigs. You can easily make a wallow by digging out a decent sized area and keeping it topped up with water. You will rarely see a happier pig than one basking in lovely summer wallow. Alternatively, if your pigs are small enough you can use a robust paddling pool. Or, if you really want to create a haven for pigs give them both a wallow and a paddling pool.