There are many great opportunities when contemplating an outdoor enclosure or house for your pet pig, seriously, the sky is the limit! We have seen every thing from the lavish luxury pet condo to the beautiful tastefully done farm house, then every thing in between. Don't let anyone discourage you from offering your pet pig a home outside, after all, pigs were never indoor pets originally. Despite what some will say, they certainly can withstand the elements as long as they are provided enough warmth in the winter and water/mud in the summer, and an added structure so they can remove themselves from harsh elements when and if the need arises. We also recommend having more than one pig if you are going to keep them outside. This allows your pig companionship and combats loneliness and bad behavior in the yard. Honestly, we know a lot of pet pigs that prefer being outdoors and would refuse it any other way!
What will I need to start planning? You will need to make sure that you have enough land sectioned off for the amount of pigs you are looking to house. Remember, not all pigs get along, especially from rescue situations, and you may need to be able to provide an additional separate, fenced in yard if this occurs. For the pot bellies and all other miniature varieties, we recommend at minimum a 12 X 24 fenced off area, per pig (2 pigs, double it). You will need T-posts or wood fencing. There are many fence options out there and some that you may like aesthetic wise better than others, it is entirely your decision! Just make sure that whatever material you use will not break and hurt your pig OR it can bite and root on it and easily destroy the material. Although attractive, we don't recommend vinyl fencing, when vinyl breaks it splinters in to very dangerous and sharp pieces that can impale animals. If you have a no climb wire fencing in front of it so the animal cannot get to it, then it is ok. That leads us in to our next material... No Climb Fence. Regardless of what post materials you choose to use, No Climb fencing needs to be placed on the interior of the wood/metal/t-post/plank fence, especially if the fencing lends it way to be squeezed through. You will also need to try and bury it a couple inches in the ground so the pig cannot root under it and escape. If you cannot bury it, we recommend running a hot wire about 5 inches off the ground on the perimeter of the fence. Trust me, it will only take the pig once to realize not to touch the perimeter fence and that hot wire may never be used again. Pigs learn and respect hot wire fast! If you feel this is cruel, you MUST find a way to bury the no climb fencing in to the ground so they can't escape. You will also need to plan your gate. Most gates and associated hinges can be purchased at a Tractor Supply or Southern States. They even have specifically designed Hog Paneled gates which make it even easier. They come in different sizes, so pick one that will work best with your situation and then begin to plan the fencing around the gate and where it's associated posts will need to go and direction in which it will swing. See our fencing options and ideas at the bottom of this page.
Once your main fence is established, move on to the pigs actual enclosure. This can literally be anything, use your wildest imagination! We have seen people reach out to custom dog house builders and even home contractors to build them elaborate pig houses! If that is not your fancy and you would prefer simple, there are nice dog houses one can purchase at the pet stores that will work just as well. Remember, you want to buy for the size your pig WILL BE not the size he is the day you take him home. We recommend a large or extra large dog house. We have always purchased Great Dane sizes. The Igloo dog houses even work well, as long as they are kept clean, free of debris, cleaned yearly and are appropriate for the pigs size. We usually hand build and design all of our pig enclosures and they have worked extremely well for us over the years! They are also very attractive and have held up to the harsh weather changes/demands.
You MUST have an area that is shaded for your pig to escape the direct sunlight and heat of the day, no exception on this! In the summer we also recommend digging a hole and adding water for your pig to wallow in or providing a new kiddie pool on a yearly basis. If the pig is too big to climb in to the pool, the pool can be recessed in to the ground. Some elaborate enclosures even have ceiling fans and minsters that run on timers!
In the winter, we recommend "bedding them down" well. This means pile in the straw or shavings halfway up the inside of the house/enclosure. They will bury themselves in the bedding and it will keep them warm. We don't usually recommend heat lamps as they are an accident waiting to happen, especially with straw or shavings, that can easily ignite. If you don't have either of those two bedding types, solid up to date and clean electrical, you can. Again, we don't recommend it though, too many risks and variables involved, like chewing on the wires if one falls.
As a bedding, we don't recommend blankets for outdoor pigs as they quickly harbor bacteria and can cause skin infections. If. You are diligent about cleaning them or providing new blankets consistently, then go ahead, otherwise steer clear. We like to use Beaver Bag thick shavings as bedding. Make sure that the shavings are THICK not the quick pick style because our shorter friends too easily inhale these. Straw hay is also another ideal bedding. Just remember that all bedding and especially hay, needs to be removed and cleaned consistently so bacteria and mold don't start growing. Because straw and hay are a grass, they can retain moisture and be ideal for growing mold quickly!
Right: Paris Hilton's Pig house that is situated next to her pool, was $325,000 and was given it's own show on MTV Cribs.
There are so many options when it comes to fencing. To start off, one of the fencing items we ALWAYS recommend for pig owners is a variation of no climb fencing. These can be purchased in different heights and lengths depending on the area you are trying to enclose. They can be bought at Tractor Supply, Southern States and many farm and garden stores; even Home Depot and Lowes carry versions of them. Although not all fencing option require no climb fencing, the majority do. Making sure that the fencing is buried a few inches below the surface will really help with rooting issues. Pigs will always root and some can dig quite deep and escape. Although not all will, expect it and plan ahead! You will be thankful you did if you end up with a major digger!
NO Climb & T-Post
The most basic, cheap and effective fencing for an enclosure is no climb fencing with T-posts. Again, this entire set up can be purchased at Tractor Supply or similar type stores. If you have a very large area or pasture you are trying to enclose, this may be the best suited option, unless you are trying to match existing farm fencing. See images below for what this type of fencing looks like and installed.
3 & 4 Plank Horse Fence
A slightly more expensive option but certainly more attractive, is the 3 or 4 planked horse fence. For a 3 planked fence, you must use no climb fencing on the inside or they will escape. Depending on your pig, with 4 planked horse fence, it's not always mandatory as the planks are closer together and offer less space for an escape. You can pick the lumber, post hole digger/auger and other accessories at a Home Depot or Lowes store. Remember, find a company that offers quality lumbar. Image of the black fence at the top of the Fencing section is a horse fence. Also see ideas below.
High ENd RaMM Fence
This is a very attractive/ high end fencing and although marketed as horse fencing that is rubber, they do also offer other materials, including metal. If you have a large budget and want to go high tech, check out Ramm first! Ramm is actually the brand name.
Another high end and very attractive option is iron pool fencing. This can come in either white or black. There are many variations and neat patterns with scroll work to chose from. You can usually find pool fencing at either a home improvement store, order off the Internet or a local pool supply company. Many local fencing companies may offer it as well.
3-4 Ft Privacy Fence
There are a TON of offerings when it comes to short privacy fences! Everything from wood, to iron, to lattice and eccentric patterns that verge on artistic. If you call a local fencing company or even scour the Internet, you are more than likely to find a business that will drop ship the materials to you. Some of these fences are stunning and even more practical in price. You will pay quite a bit in labor for having the fence installed if said companies won't offer for you to self install their product. So keep that in mind. But see images below for options and ideas.