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How to Transition Your Pig Outside

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.

NO ROMANCE

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 HEARTACHE

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.

how to transition your mini pig outside

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.

@thefrugalfarmgirl

he smells food! ##petvlog ##minipig ##petlover ##rescued ##potbelliedpig

♬ Yummy – Justin Bieber
How to Transition Your Pig Outside

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! 

how to transition your mini pig outside

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.

How to Transition Your Pig Outside

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.

how to transition your mini pig outside

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!

how to transition your mini pig outside

You are going to need thick skin like your piggy. They thrive in their natural environment. They will love you always.

How To Transition Your Pigs To Live Outside

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?!

How To Transition Your Pigs To Live Outside

I encourage you on this journey. Let me know if you have transitioned your pig to outdoor living and how it went.

If you are thinking about doing it, let us know how it is going and if you need any other tips or inspiration. I love encouraging and getting to know other pig parents.

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Tiffany Holtzinger

Saturday 25th of September 2021

Hi again! You may remember me (or not) from commenting on some of your other pig posts. I know I’ve talked a little about Mabel in them. I’ve enjoyed reading everything of yours that I have, and for some reason (and funny timing) this article popped up on Pinterest. I decided to read because I hadn’t seen this one before now I don’t think. Anyway, you completely nailed everything that we had been dealing with with Mabel. So, so funny. Mabel had been inside since about 2 months after we took her in *maybe you remember her story* and a few months ago started getting bored and was getting grumpier and biting me (who is her mama and BFF), plus the having to buy and attach magnetic cabinet locks because she was getting into everything, overturning everything in her sight, and hating our dog… it was just getting to be too much. The kids were scared to death of her because she’s bitten all of them, head swiped and charged, and my husband was always a wuss when it came to her and started to resent her. I decided it was “time.” It broke my heart into a million pieces knowing I was putting my girl outside. When I finally made the decision, but hadn’t actually moved her yet, I started looking for a friend for her. I actually came across two bffs that were about the same exact age as her, that were at a nearby animal rescue league (they had lived together before being given up so were already connected at the hip). I contacted them, went to meet the boys, and fell in love. I committed to bringing these two home and did just that. I moved Mabel outside shortly before we brought the boys home and let me just say, no one, and I mean NO ONE prepared me for the pig introduction. Holy crap! That was brutal for a little while and I immediately worried I’d made a bad decision moving her outside and adopting the two boys, however, after about a week, they were the three little piggies… happy as can be. Our one boy (the biggest) is definitely the dominate one and though Mabel got her butt whooped a little for those few days-a week and cowered and basically begged to be let back in, I stayed strong and protected her as best I could, got out the tote lid to “move the pigs” away from her at times to give her space, they all live as one happy family now. Mabel was most definitely growing grumpy from being bored in the house as she hated any and all toys, except ripping cardboard boxes, getting into cabinets, and forever rushing into the pantry when a child stood there debating what food to get out. Taking her outside; she was able to graze and sun bathe, play in her pool (or poop in it as she’s famous for doing; how ladylike, right?) and root up holes as round as she is. I checked on her so many times the first week and I bawled like a baby. I still have my moments, but sometimes she’ll come in and visit and I find myself sitting with her inside her gazebo as she’s buried under her straw and hay and giving her belly rubs and talking to her. She’s happy now (though she misses the AC on the hot days), and I’m upset I hadn’t moved her outside to do pig things until recently. I litter trained her so she would never even go outside when she was in the house. I worry that I’ll be a sucker come winter and wonder how quickly I’ll open the door for the three… my husband will probably kill me lol. But everything you said in this post was spot on for us too… the good and the bad… literally all of it. I’m also so glad I stopped being selfish and realized what she needed, provided it, and now she’s living her best life with two pals who are well mannered and so handsome. It’s the best when I walk out, and ask “where’s my girl?” and she comes a running… neck jigglin’ and all! :-)

Molly Roe

Thursday 26th of August 2021

Hello! I am in the process of transitioning my mini pig Rosie Rainbow, to outdoors. I bought an igloo for her, but I dont know what to put inside. Do I just use her blankets? What can I do to help her when winter comes? I need all the help as I have no experience with this but love my Rosie Girl so much. I want to make her safe and cozy outside. Thank you so much!

Tasia

Monday 30th of August 2021

Hi Molly! Aww I think Rosie is going to love it. Our pigs love straw and their fleece blankets in the igloo.

Valerie Veasey

Monday 5th of July 2021

My pot belly pig is 4 months old and I worry about leaving him out at night because of predators, I have something eating my chickens. He is about 20 lbs now. Any advice?

Tasia

Wednesday 7th of July 2021

I have found that our pigs have been fine outside at night. It is hard to say depending on your area. What predators do you have that would go after a pig? In our area, the biggest ones would be a coyote but it would be rare for them to climb over the fence and mess with a pig.

Julie Flores

Thursday 25th of February 2021

Your post has helped me as well. Our three year old pot bellied pig lives mostly outside but comes to the door and wants in at night and when it is raining. The wanting back out at 4am is exhausting as you mentioned. I have been researching/planning an outdoor space for him. I also will be adopting a friend for him from the rescue I got him from. Reading this has helped give me ideas for setting up his space and reassured me that I am doing what is best for him.

Debbie Wertz

Sunday 27th of December 2020

I have a six year old mini pig Who has started to become a handful Abs thinking about putting outside But really struggling with it.

Tasia

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

You could start by putting them outside for a few hours during the day and bringing in at night. Sometimes all it takes is to see how much they really enjoy being outside to make us feel a little bit better and give us the break we need.

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