Top tips for ex­treme heat

Country Smallholding - - Liz Shankland Pigs -

•Main­tain­ing a good wa­ter sup­ply should be a pri­or­ity. Find­ing con­tain­ers which can’t be tipped over is al­most im­pos­si­ble and you will need to keep re­fill­ing much more fre­quently in hot weather.

• If you have au­to­matic drinkers, do you have the right num­ber for your pigs? Are they work­ing prop­erly? Clean out mud, straw and stones and make sure that they are level to avoid wa­ter be­ing wasted. If you have large drinkers, your pigs may try and get into them, mud­dy­ing the wa­ter and dis­lodg­ing them.

• If you are in­vest­ing in new pig arks, con­sider buy­ing in­su­lated ones. They not only help to keep the heat in dur­ing cold weather, but in sum­mer they also help to keep the heat out. Look for arks with vents that can be opened. White arks will re­flect the sun­light, so paint­ing the curved sheets can help.

•Dig wal­lows so that your pigs can cover them­selves with pro­tec­tive mud and cool down. Make sure the wal­lows are big enough to take sev­eral pigs at a time.

•Pro­vide ac­cess to shaded ar­eas where they can es­cape from the sun. If you have no trees, try rig­ging up a canopy be­tween arks or us­ing wooden posts. If you use posts, make sure they are strong enough to avoid de­struc­tion when the pigs use them for scratch­ing.

•Pro­tect young and white-skinned pigs with a high-fac­tor sun­cream — par­tic­u­larly on the backs of the ears and down the spine. Watch the su­per­mar­ket shelves for end- of-sum­mer re­duc­tions and stock up for next year.

•Think about the times you feed your pigs. Feed at cooler times of the day — early morn­ing or evening — and your pigs may feel more like eat­ing. Ad lib feed­ing may be a pos­si­bil­ity if you don’t have a prob­lem with wild birds and ver­min. Wet feed may be more palat­able and will help to get more wa­ter into your pigs.

• If you can’t pro­vide fresh wa­ter, shade and wal­lows for out­door pigs, con­sider moving them into a barn or a shel­tered pen closer to your house where you can keep a bet­ter eye on them dur­ing ex­treme weather.

•And fi­nally, bear in mind that if you can­not look after pigs in ex­tremes of weather, maybe it is time to let some­one else have them — or for them to go to slaugh­ter.

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