A Micro Pigs Outdoor Environment

You may decide to train your pig as both an inside and outside pet. Providing outside access to a nice grazing area can be advanta­geous to both you and your pig. However, grave danger can be present in several forms outdoors.

First decide if your pig is to have access to the whole yard or if it will have a fenced-off area. To prevent your pig from rooting up your whole yard, consider penning off a small por­tion of the yard as a rooting area. Whenever your pig exhibits rooting behavior, direct it to the rooting area.

Pig-proofing Your Yard

Check every bit of the area to which your pig has access for toxic plants. It is a matter of life and death that your yard have chemical-free grass for grazing. If you have fertilized or used pesticides, check the labels of these prod­ucts for residual effects. Check the area for snail, roach, and mouse baits as well. If you have a barbecue, remove any charcoal or lighter fluid from the area. If there is a chance that any vehicle or lawn mower has been in the area, check for leaking gas, oil, and, most important, antifreeze. If you have any doubts about the toxicity of a substance or its residual effects on swine, consult “Poisoning” in this book, page 51, or call your county agent or veterniarian for advice.

Protecting from Sun and Weather

Because pigs are highly susceptible to sun­burn and heatstroke, adequate shade should be provided in a ventilated area. A roof put up in a corner of a wooden fence might provide shade, but without ventilation it could become very hot underneath on a sunny day. Natural shades such as trees and bushes are best, if possible. If your pig is uncomfortable, it will begin rooting to find a cool spot. If it gets too hot, it could perish.

Is there shelter available for the pig if there is rain, heavy winds, or cold weather? If pos­sible, provide your pig with a little house where it can snuggle in a mound of hay during such weather.

Access to Water

Indoors or outside, clear, fresh water should be provided for your pig. Some pig owners purchase a small child’s wading pool for this purpose. If you buy one of these pools, it is wise to make a wooden ramp or brick steps into and out of the pool. The pool should never be so full of water that the pig can drown. Add a few bricks as a resting place for the pig’s head should it lie down. This water should be changed often, since pigs tend to urinate and sometimes defecate in the water. On hot, sunny days water can develop blue-green algae that may be toxic to your pig when consumed. Another thing to remember is that anything on your pig’s skin (lotions, oils, etc.) will come off in the water and may prove dangerous if the pig drinks the water.

Do not let your pig have a “wallow,” no matter how much you think it may enjoy one. Wallows are an invitation for your pig to de­fecate and urinate, and it can become a breed­ing place for infectious diseases and trans­mission of parasites. Some worm eggs live a very long time in water and wallows. Be sure the water you empty does not create a wallow for your pet.

Setting Up the Outside Pen

A pig that has daily access to the outdoors will be healthier, happier, and less bored. In summary, there are several things to consider when setting up an outside home:

  1. Be sure that all plants in the area are nontoxic. Even roses that have been treated with systemic insecticides can be harmful. Check to see that the area is free of vegetation that has been chemi­cally treated in any way.
  2. Check for electrical wires, sockets, and appliances.
  3. Be sure the fence is secure enough to prevent the pig from going through it or rooting under it.
  4. Provide a small house or pet travel crate as a place for your pig to sleep. Furnish it with dry hay or blankets.
  5. Provide shelter from sun, heat, wind, rain, and cold.
  6. Be sure no animals can enter the pen and harm or frighten your pig.