Our pigs are very winter hardy and they actually enjoy the winter. We have selected heritage breeds, mainly Tamworth (red) and Berkshire (black and white), that grow relatively thick/long fur and that do well outside.
Our individual pigs come from farms where they were born and raised outside. So, they are used to Manitoba’s variable weather conditions. And, we have selected individuals with thicker fur coats as our breeding animals too.
Our pigs live in an ~20 acre wooded area. The dense trees provide them with protection from the wind and we give our pigs lots of straw in the winter. We provide them with large, round straw bales as needed. Our aim being to ensure they can pile up the straw, tunnel into it and be completely covered by it when they choose to sleep in it. It is pretty amazing on a chilly morning to go out to the straw piles and not see any pigs until the pigs realize you are there and they jump out of the straw with the excitement of seeing you! They are always happy to see us as we pail feed them food every day and we often have treats, like kitchen scraps and hard-boiled eggs, for them as well.
On the cold days, when the pigs come bursting out of the straw piles, where they are typically cuddled up together sleeping, large bursts of steam also resonate from their straw beds!
On the sunny days, it is common to see the pigs laying on top of the straw sleeping and soaking up the sun. Much like a house cat in a sunbeam!
Whether it is cold or sunny, the piglets love playing in the loose straw and will pick up mouthfuls of straw and twirl around in delight!
The lives our pigs’ lead being outside year round is so good for their minds and bodies. They get so much mental and physical stimulation by interacting with one another, being able to explore the forest and forage for food, experiencing the different seasons and playing in the big bales of straw we provide them.
Just like us, pigs benefit from being out in nature!