pigs withstand cold

Like any animal, a pig’s ability to tolerate cold depends mainly on age, size, and breed. Generally, pigs are equipped to brave extreme cold temperatures. Yet, much like humans, they can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite if exposed to too low temperatures for an extended period.

As you read through, you’ll discover all you need to know about the level of cold pigs that can tolerate and how to care for them.

According to the Swine Health Information Center, the ideal temperature for most pigs is between 1.7 degrees and 26.7 degrees Celsius. This range provides a comfortable life for the animals, allowing them to thrive in their environment. In addition, pigs do best when seeking shelter from drafts, wind, and direct sunlight.

How cold can Pigs withstand?

Providing adequate protection during the winter is essential for pigs that are kept outside. While pigs may be equipped to handle cold temperatures, they can still suffer from stress or illness due to the cold when temperatures dip below -12.2 degrees Celsius.

A study published by the National Swine Nutrition Guide shows that pigs can tolerate temperatures as low as 1.7 degrees Celsius. However, they are more likely to contract diseases when living in temperatures below 1.7 degrees Celsius.

Caring for Pigs During Winter

When the weather gets cold, pig care needs to change. The cold weather can be challenging to keep your pigs healthy and warm, so ensuring they are suitably looked after is essential. Here are some tips to keep your pigs warm and healthy during a cold snap.

Provide Adequate Shelter

The most important aspect of keeping your pigs warm is to ensure that you provide adequate shelter. Pigs are social animals and must be protected from the wind, rain, and snow. Good protection should have at least three walls and be raised off the ground.

The walls should always be constructed of stone, brick, or cement, as wooden walls will not provide enough protection in cold weather. Using a lot of hay and straw to get insulation from the hard ground is also essential.

Monitor Diet

When it’s cold, pigs need extra nutrients to maintain their body temperature. Ensure they have access to plenty of food, particularly supplements like linseed meals and grains, to ensure their diet is balanced. Make sure that there is plenty of clean, fresh water available.

Look out for Cold Areas

On warmer days, pigs can access shaded areas of the field. Here they can cool off and have a rest from the heat. It is important to note that the shaded area should be a little far from the shelter, as this can make the pig too cold in cooler temperatures.

Stimulate Exercise

Pigs in cold weather should be encouraged to exercise to keep their heart and circulation healthy. If the pigs are stationary for long periods, this can cause health problems such as joint stiffness and respiratory diseases.

Try to provide toys, pools, and other enrichment activities such as racing down slopes or playing games like hide-and-seek to keep their minds active and their bodies fit.

Protect From Parasites

In cold weather, parasites living on the skin can become problematic as they seek out warm areas on the pig’s body, like its ears, tail, and anus. It would be best to ensure your pigs are regularly checked for parasites and given appropriate treatments to safeguard their health.

Take Precautions Against Frostbite

Frostbite is an issue during cold weather, so you must take precautions to protect the pigs. Make sure that all piglets are kept warm and well-insulated.

Also, on freezing days, the bedding in the shelter should be covered in straw or hay to keep the pigs warm. It is also essential to check the pigs’ ears and snouts for signs of frostbite.

Provide Ample Blankets & Bedding

It’s essential to ensure that pigs have plenty of bedding in cold weather. Not only does providing them with extra bedding materials keep them warm and comfortable, but it also helps keep their sleeping area clean and dry.

You can also consider purchasing heating pads for young piglets to help keep them warm in freezing temperatures.

Make Sure Pigs Have Sufficient Food and Water

Feeding and hydration are essential for any animal, and that includes pigs. Providing warm food and water can help your pigs stay warm and healthy in cold weather. Keeping their food and water protected from the cold using a heater or a heated shelter can also keep them warm and inviting.

Moreover, pigs need to eat plenty of fiber for healthy digestion and high-calorie food like grains and oilseeds that provide them with energy. Check the water supply regularly to ensure it hasn’t frozen over as temperatures drop.

Extra Heat Sources

If you are looking for additional sources of heat for your pig, there are a few options. Electric heating pads or heat lamps can be used as long as they are securely mounted out of the way of your pigs. Alternatively, you can use heated bricks and stones to provide a more natural source of warmth while they are resting.

Checking On Your Pigs

No matter what measures you take to keep your pigs warm in cold weather, checking them regularly is always a good idea. This way, you can ensure they have everything they need to stay warm and comfortable during cold days.


Finally, watching your pigs closely is essential when the temperatures get cold. Pigs can be especially vulnerable to frostbite and other cold-related health problems in winter months, so take the time to inspect them daily and ensure they aren’t showing any signs of illness.

All animals need proper shelter from the cold. Pigs may be as challenging as nails, but they are surprisingly susceptible to cold temperatures without appropriate protection. Ensure they have a solid, dry barn or shed, preferably with good ventilation and a well-insulated floor.

The extra protection provided by the sow’s body heat is essential for piglets. In an outdoor setting, make sure that the pigs have plenty of space and access to plenty of bedding, such as straw, hay, or wood shavings, depending on the needs of your pigs.


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