Overwintering Pigs in Vermont

This year was our first year overwintering large mammals.  Namely, two very snugly pigs: Tiny and Blackberry.

In Vermont this time of year water is a perpetual challenge.  While the pigs can eat snow, they understandably are not happy about it.  A pig needs 3-4 gallons of water per day to maintain optimum growth and process food effectively.  Including spillage and freezing, that means hauling two five gallon buckets across the ice out to the ladies every single morning.

With several inches of lard wrapping their bodies just beneath the skin, the temperature is not a problem.  Even on the coldest days they’re happy to be let out of the barn each morning for a romp through the snow.

Aside from water, one of the biggest challenges is keeping them contained.   With a layer of insulating snow between the ladies hooves and the ground, it’s hard for electric fence to do its job.  Our little velociraptors test the fence constantly, looking for weak spots.  Luckily, when they do break out there’s not much to attract them with every inch of ground and forage under several feet of snow.  When caught wandering the woods searching in vain for tree fall apples or greens, it doesn’t take much to herd them back home.

Tiny Closeup

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