Pot Bellied Pigs/piglet heating pads
I am fostering a piglet and now looks like I am adopting this 7 month old male, neutered pot belly piglet. I have two dogs who I would not trust with him so I must make him suitable accommodations outside.
Where I live it gets very cold in winter- as cold as -25 on some days--and I need to know how to safely heat an insulated shed for the pigs inside my garage.
I am thinking of buying heated mats for piglets but they say no bedding. What do you think?? would they (I will adopt another homeless pig for a friend before next winter) be safer and warmer if just put tons of bedding, insulate it with bales of hay and make sure the shed is clean, dry, wind and draft free?? I am afraid of heat lamps.
I share your fear of heat lamps because I have seen the devastation they cause when they catch fire. Infrared heaters are supposed to be safer, but I'm skeptical.
The double shed idea - a smaller sleeping shed inside a garage - is a good idea. As long as the floor of the garage stays dry, this will be a big help in keeping the smaller area warm.
Many pigs do Ok in very cold climates with just lots of straw for bedding, as long as it's windproof and dry. An easy and fairly inexpensive way to insulate the smaller interior sheds is to surround them with bales of straw, or wrap them in tarps or plastic, or put them inside a vinyl collapsable car port or even a camping tent.
Insulating the garage will help a lot. For example, hopefully it has a people sized door as well as a car sized door. Keep the car sized door closed, and cover the opening with plastic on the inside or outside.
One obstacle is frozen drinking water. Some people drop aquarium or bird bath heaters in the drinking bowl, some people buy electric bowls that plug in. Still other people dump out the ice and refill with warm water 2x a day. All these water options are fine, but I suggest placing the dish a few feet away from the small shelters, so spilled water will not soak the bedding. Also, I suggest putting the water dish on a non-slip rubber mat or piece of rubber garage flooring, so if water spills and freezes piggy will not slip. As a matter of fact, if at all possible, I recommend cover the whole garage floor area with rubber garage flooring. It's much better for pigs to walk on than bare concrete.