Top tips for extreme heat
•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.