Let Sleeping Pigs Lie.

Cat sleeping in drawer

Time to hibernate. Cats always have a knack of finding a warm spot for a nap.

Learning to live with the four seasons is an integral part of homesteading and it takes a few years to know the dance and nuances of each season. Spring, summer, and fall are the busy months, while winter allows a chance for relaxation and reflection. The long nights induce a feeling of semi-hibernation for farmers and their animals, alike.

garden in winter

Winter is a time for gardeners to rest and make plans for spring.

I’m often asked if our pigs live outdoors during the cold months? Sure, they love to be outdoors, and they’d soon have the barn door open if I tried to close them in. Like us, they suffer from cabin fever and when the sun shines, they play. The rest of the time they sleep!

Berkshire sow in snow

Our pigs like to get outside in the sunshine and dig in the snow.

At this time of year we just have our breeding pigs to care for, and each day John heads out before breakfast to feed our boar and two sows. Once bred, Morris the boar, can stay with the sows, keeping warm together in the barn, until the sows farrow in the spring.

But for reasons unknown, they have chosen to camp out at night in the small field shelter that serves as a summer residence for Morris. The shelter was originally built to house our three young pigs when we first brought them to the farm. Morris was 6 months old, while the sows were 8 weeks old and we carried them in dog crates in the back of the car.

transporting weaner pigs

Our three little pigs fitted easily into two dog crates.

Berkshire piglets

Exploring their new surroundings

Field shelter for pigs

Our newly built ‘piggy palace’ gave our three little pigs plenty of living space.

The shelter was a mansion for our three little pigs. Today, with the pigs fully grown and each weighing between 500 and 700 lbs, it’s a bit of squeeze! Matters not, they manoeuvre themselves into position and sleep the long nights in cozy harmony. From their sleeping quarters, they can easily hear the kitchen door open in the morning and are at their respective feeding stations in the barn before we can pull our boots on.

Berkshire boar

Fully grown and possibly weighing in at 700lbs, Morris is a force to be reckoned with. Thankfully you can see he’s docile and likes nothing better than a good scratch on the back.

After the blue skies yesterday, this morning was dark and grey, tempting us to ignore the alarm clock. However, animals must be fed so out we must go, but no pigs! John rattled the feed buckets and waited, but still no sightings. Tucked up snug in their bed, we found our three pigs snoring the day away.

Berkshire pigs sleeping

Wall to wall pigs and always in the same order.

Not until midday did they stir from their nest!  I’m not sure if it was breakfast or lunch that they ate, but tomorrow I might just ignore that alarm clock and sink back into my semi-hibernation!

Track made in snow by pigs

Track through the snow for a speedy, albeit not very straight, run for breakfast.


This post has been shared with FaithfulHomestead




About Jane Fowler

We are working towards a sustainable lifestyle, homeschooling our children, growing all our own food and creating art. Join us in our journey, learning with us along the way.
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4 Responses to Let Sleeping Pigs Lie.

  1. cheryl stone says:

    Great story Jane, and loved the pictures. By all means, do sleep in tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes I think that piggies have more sense than humans! They are so sweet. We have never over-wintered pigs, I feel I have enough to do with the goats, but i do miss them!

    Liked by 1 person

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