April 17, 2010

Pigs don't Sweat

Which is one reason they wallow. The other reason is to kill off pests.

Last summer, when we had two pigs, there was a long period of very hot weather. We had multiple days in the upper 90's and a couple days that crested 100 F. Porky and Sammy had been wallowing and drinking water. But one of the days Porky decided to stay in the shade instead of heading out to the wallow, which was in the sunny. Problem was that even in the shade the temperature was over 90. That first day, we notice Porky not heading out but didn't get too worried.

The next day she got up once but then settle back in the shade. Then it got bad. She got to hot and tired and wasn't able to get up. Sammy was even getting nervous. She kept nudging Porky trying to get her up. We pulled out the bible - Story's Raising Pigs - and looked up what to do. My first thought was to hose her down. But the book warned against that. Apparently, if you spray the pig with cold water it can shock her and could cause a heart attack. The book recommended damp towels.

The next morning, Porky was still in the same spot and wouldn't even pick up her head. It was a work day and there was no way she would make it until that afternoon. So I decide, book be damned, I was going cool her off and hopefully get her up before I left for work. I took the hose, locked Sammy out of the pen (the pen had two section - under the pole barn and out in mud - separated by a gate), and climbed in. I put the hose up to Porky's mouth, which made her grumpy, but she did drink. I gently let the water run over her. She didn't like it, probably because it was so cold. She shifted and grunted. I alternated between letting her drink and cooling her off. After about 10 minutes, she finally got up. I unlocked the gate and she went out and got a drink on her own, then sat down the in the wallow. "You stay there Porky. I mean it." Off to work.

I emailed Jeremy to give an update. All day, both of us were nervous hoping Porky learned a lesson. When we got home, Porky and Sammy were shoulder-deep in the mud. Crisis averted.

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