Are you considering keeping your pig outside all the time? Ready to give up the stress of having your mini pig tear up your cabinets and what not? Here is how you can transition your pig to outdoor living.
It was time. I didn’t want it to be but I was torn with an overnight trip with my husband in the Adirondack mountains and keeping my sweet little baby pig inside.
My husband was having a harder time adjusting to a piglet in the house. Part of it was, it’s a pig and the other part was we were finally seeing light from the constant demands of our own babies.
A piglet is very similar to a puppy. The curiosity, the needs, the chewing, the eating.
It had been a full year my sweet Bently was living inside the house. My dreams came true. I’ve always wanted my own mini pig and I got one as a baby and it was living inside with me.
At one year of age, Bently was needing more stimulation. The truth is, he is a pig and his natural instincts weren’t being satisfied by sitting outside for parts of the day.
Of course, we built him an outdoor mini pig pen, where he would spend the days outside and come in for dinnertime and sleep.
One thing that was killing me was the constant waking up at 4:30 a.m. or 5 a.m.
If you have a baby mini pig do not give into the squealing when they wake up in the morning or they will have you fooled.
SQUEAL IT OUT WASN’T WORKING
No matter how much I tried to break the habit it wasn’t working because I couldn’t let him “squeal it out”.
I have young kids and a husband who wakes up at 5 am. The half an hour he was missing out of sleep when he doesn’t get much as it is, was taking a toll on our marriage.
I was willing to have little rifts in our marriage until I could figure out how to get Bently to sleep longer.
The truth is, he was enjoying his time outside and loving it. This pig wanted to be outside.
CHILDREN IN DANGER
I had the fear of his head swiping one of the girls. Our youngest was only 3 at the time and although they had a great bond, he could get moody.
Now after having a male and female pig, our female is less temperamental than our males.
Bently was great and never bit anyone in the house, but he would head swipe a few times. This is normal. This is how pigs treat other pigs.
They nip and bit when they are trying to tell the other pig no. The difference is human skin is not as thick as pigskin.
The head swiping was another reason I felt to keep him outside permanently. It would bring too much mommy guilt if something was to happen.
He’s an animal.
The second big draw was the fact my husband and I hadn’t had a night away in over a year. My mom was flying in to take care of the girls and the animals. She was very nervous to take care of Bently.
I was also nervous about it. I’ve read many stories of pigs acting out when someone new is in their house.
At this stage, Bently would be very shy with new people and run right back into his room.
Pigs aren’t big fans of change.
Heck, I’m not either.
My husband mentioned having Bently outside full time.
My heart was ripping but I knew if he lived outside all my mom had to do was feed him. She wouldn’t have to let him out or anything.
At that point, Bently was roaming free outside for at least a couple hours a day.
My husband built him a makeshift roof and we got him an igloo because it just so happened I decided to do this in February.
I won’t hide the fact I had separation anxiety and anyone who isn’t a pig parent would probably giggle, but these pigs see into your soul.
I felt AWFUL leaving him outside all alone.
I cried the first night and had to go out at 1 am to check on him. He wouldn’t come out and see me so I thought he hated me. I didn’t sleep that night.
HE LOVED IT
The next morning he was outside roaming around and grunting to me like he always did.
He was fine.
That’s the truth guys.
They are okay. It is an adjustment but they are okay. They can handle it and you can too. The one who takes more time is us. I wasn’t quite fine, but Bently sure was.
Two months Bently handled living outside on his own. I would bring him inside for visitations because I was missing him. The biggest thing that shocked me was when I would let him out, he didn’t once run up the stairs and wait at the door.
It’s been two years now and Bentely has two other pigs outside, he loves going for walks, and has adjusted to life outside wonderfully.
he smells food! ##petvlog ##minipig ##petlover ##rescued ##potbelliedpig♬ Yummy – Justin Bieber
I don’t think he cared so much as to being outside, he just wanted to roam around looking for food.
I felt sad but there was a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders without him in the house all the time.
He was trying to get into every cupboard and flip anything he could over. The constant need to watch him was exhausting.
Did I mention he also was always getting up at 4:30 a.m?!
A MEANT TO BEFRIEND
On the way home from my overnight trip, although I felt a little pain of guilt what moms don’t right? We stopped at an animal shelter and I met Olive. That trip in February we also had a fluke two days where the temperatures were in the 60s!
Olive is an adorable mini pig who was the same age as Bently. She was surrendered to our local animal shelter because the owner couldn’t care for her anymore, just a year old.
It was all meant to be. She came to our farm in April and the two are buddies now. Of course, there are still food issues which will always be the case with animals.
All change takes time and the same goes for animals. It took a lot of time and patience for Bently and Olive to become friends.
You can’t throw two new pigs together right away. Especially one who is your baby!
If you are thinking about having your indoor pig live outside all the time remember these key tips.
You must have an adequate space for your pig to roam. They will want to root and have a mud pit in the summer to cool down. They will also make one corner their spot to poop and pee.
You Must have a shelter. We started Bently’s first year outside in an igloo and used tarp to go around it. It’s best to have a second layer to keep them protected from the wind and rain.
READ OR PIN: How to Keep Your Mini Pig Warm in Winter
This is how our pigs were sheltered last winter. Of course, if you’ve been following out vlog they now have a nice new barn for the winter!
You also need only one type of blanket for your minipigs!
You are going to need thick skin like your piggy. They thrive in their natural environment. They will love you always.
Let your pig in for visits if your heart is breaking and you are missing them. You may realize after a few visits the constant run for the cupboards, garbage, etc. isn’t worth it. You can visit them in their home.
Give your pig a companion. Check your local animal shelter or even one nearest you for any minipigs. Check craigslist too. There are so many people giving up pigs because they realize they are a ton of work to keep inside AND they grow to look like real life pigs! Shocker right?!
I encourage you on this journey. Let me know if you have transitioned your pig to outdoor living and how it went.
Wednesday 28th of December 2022
I'm so grateful for your post - thinking about transitioning our 5 year old piggy to outdoors has been a guilt-inducing, stressful process. Thank you for your gentle post and responses to comments. Very helpful! I hear you that it's best to have a friend, but I can't begin to image our boy accepting anyone. He's very aggressive toward other animals and often toward people. My husband is strongly against adding another "problem" to the mix and I'm fearful. How important do you think it is to have a second pig?
Monday 2nd of January 2023
I wouldn't if your piggy is five and he is doing just fine. We have four pigs now and introducing potbelly pigs is heartbreaking when they are your pets.I still have to upload the video and write a post about that- its been a couple years. They are rough, and they do work it out, but I think if he seems thriving, he is fine. For us a friend was very helpful for our cold winters a buddy to keep warm with. If you have any other questions, let me know! I love talking pigs.
Tuesday 19th of July 2022
My daughter shows pigs in FFA, 2 years ago I got so attached I couldn't let her go, I gave her to my Aunt who raises pot belly pigs, she is now doing fine and I often miss her, she is the ruler of the other pigs, last year my cousin wanted her show pig, so we transported her and tragedy happened, she had so much anxiety, she rammed the gate and jumped off the trailer right in front of me, I had to dodge to miss her, It was the worst to see my daughter laying in the street with her injured pig that was about to die, I'm still not over that, so my cousin wanted a newborn miniature pot belly pig from my Aunt, so we took him and kept him, My cousin changed her mind, so we have been hiding a pig in our house, (no pets allowed) it's getting tough, I am now going back to my husband after an 8 month separation and he will now allow us to keep our baby, so we have to give him back to my Aunt, I know it will be better for him, the care of my Pumba is getting difficult, he is now 4 months old and I am giving him back on Saturday, 4 more days with him and I can't stop crying. My daughter is now trying her best to become a Vet and attend Texas A&M, she has 4 years to get where she needs to be to dedicate herself to have all the property and care for as many animals as she wants. I look forward to being able to help her along the way to help families like us with the love of animals, all animals. My heart goes out to any of you that have been in any difficult situations like I have, I never thought I could have so much love for a pig, I can't wait till she gets what she wants and I get to enjoy with her.
Thursday 14th of July 2022
My mini is coming from a outdoor enclosed chicken coop type building. How do I transition this four month old to an outside pen that is chain link fencing yet not covered completely . Worried. Any ideas. ??
Saturday 16th of July 2022
I think your mini will do a lot better than you think. I wouldn't worry. If she/he is already used to being outside you should be good. As long as they have a shelter to hide from rain and wind you're all set.
Sunday 12th of June 2022
I am in your same bast boat. My mini pigs Samuel and Daniel have lived in the house all of their 8 months. They go outside evsry morning and come in at night for dinner and bed. This has worked great. But I amgoing to be gone for a week and the constant battle of themgetting into things and samuel over eating when he gets ibro something is going to be too much for someone else to handle and more worry for me. I put them out last night. I built them an awesome shelter and put their favorite stuff out but they fried and cried wanting back in. It was toooo hot i think. Today i changed everything up. took all their house stuff out and gave thema mudd puddle and more shade and fans. Im thinking they are just too hot. Their inside home is in the cool basement.... They always want to come in and they always want to go out. So idk what their deal is. But I feel awful. They have never played in mydd now they are playing in mudd. I guess that is good think. And i guess its just cause it just recently got so hot... Any other suggestions would be great. Do you use ligts, fans, outside?
Friday 17th of June 2022
Mud makes pigs so happy! I think everything you are doing sounds great. They are pretty easy to take care of once they are outside and I believe a lot happier too.
Tuesday 29th of March 2022
I have two juliana pigs. I started with one my Frank and had to get another so he had a friend when we were busy with kids and work. They are amazing and yes alot of work and you need to put the effort into training and giving them love. We are transitioning ours outside this year they are a year old so I appreciate ypur blog! My husband is not a fan of them but they are my babies and our kids favorite friends!!