You can help keep pigs cool during summer by following a few simple precautions. Many people who want to raise pigs may not realize the importance of keeping them cool in the heat.
More than any other animal on your farm, your pigs should be the first priority when it comes to extremely hot days.
Why should you worry about your pigs staying cool so much more?
That’s why. We humans sweat. Cows sweat. Goats sweat. Pigs do not.
Pigs do have a few sweat glands, but it’s not enough for them to maintain a solid body temperature in the heat of summer.
When it’s hot, sweating keeps us cool. Because pigs do not sweat well, they can over heat. Pigs who suffer from heat stroke can die. It’s much easier to keep a pig cool than to not keep one cool. The loss of a hot pig during an extremely hot day could be heart wrenching. It’s best to try to be proactive when temperatures are extreme.
Here are some more refreshing precautions you can take to keep pigs cool in the heat.
Think of this factor even before you get pigs, if you have not gotten yours yet. Build your pen under shade trees if that is possible for some natural shade options for the pigs to enjoy.
If this is not an option, provide a shelter they can seek comfort in out of the sun. The shady spot doesn’t have to be fancy schmancy but it should provide protection from the sun.
Protection from the sun is so important for pigs. And the sun can be so harsh in the summertime. Another way you can protect pigs from the sun is to make some mud for them.
Water plus dry soil equals mud. Mud provides a couple of benefits for pigs during the summer.
The first benefit is keeping the pigs cool. Only cool mud can do this. It’s soft and soothing on the pig’s skin in the heat of the day. And it is so refreshing for the pigs to wallow in.
The second benefit of mud is that it acts as a “sun screen”. It actually helps the pigs from becoming sun burnt by protecting their skin. You have to provide quite a bit of mud for them to be able to have full protection from the sun.
Plus, the mud spot will dry out in the heat. So, you’ll have to reapply the water and fill the mud whole during the cool parts of the day. The coolest parts of the day, which are the morning and evening times of the day, are essential times for interacting with the pigs during the heat of summer.
Amidst the heat, spraying cool water is a fun way to play with your pigs. The pigs love it. They can be just like little kids running through a hose with a nozzle or sprinkler. It is free entertainment for you.
They love the cool water on their pink skins. They love to kick up their heels and snort as they run back and forth.
Before you take advantage of this fun activity, I do have a word of warning.
This activity should be done during the cooler part of the day. NOT during mid day when it’s the hottest. The pigs don’t need to be running around when it’s sunny and 100 degrees.
Also, it can be dangerous to spray hot water on a pig’s skin. It can scald or burn them, so please check the water temperature before spraying them down.
During the cooler morning or evening time is when the pigs can be out running through the water hose. You don’t want your pigs to get too hot after playing. Remember – they don’t sweat like you and me. They could get sick and even overheat. So, some care and caution must be taken into consideration.
I like to make cool mud holes for them during the cool morning hours. I have some rubber tubs in their pen that I fill with fresh cool water for them to drink. Then, in the evening, I make more. And I let them play in the water, too.
The fresh cool water feels refreshing to them. They also love to drink cold water before the summer heats it up.
Don’t ever let the pigs run out of water during the day. Just like you and me, pigs need to stay hydrated.
Even though pigs don’t sweat, they need to be properly hydrated. During the extreme heat of summer, the pigs can drink several gallons of water each during the day. So, be prepared for them to drink a lot of water. Provide cool water as much as possible.
I can’t stress enough about keeping water in front of them to keep pigs cool and comfortable.
When you think about how hot it is outside, think of your pigs. Keep pigs cool because they NEED to be cool. They don’t sweat and can overheat so easily.
But as long as you provide shade, water and nice cool mud, the pigs will stay cool enough to make it through the summer heat.
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