Keeping Busy All Winter Long

Winters in Ontario, Canada can be long, cold and snowy but our residents still need to stay active in both mind and body in order to be as healthy as possible. Some of our residents don’t mind the winter conditions and some are more fair-weather animals, but whatever their climate preference, we always ensure that they each have access to added indoor enrichment activities and extra nutrition to make up for the lack of grazing on our snow-covered pasture.

This little piggy…

During the winter, our smaller pot belly pigs don’t enjoy being outside. They prefer to hang around in the barn, catching up on their sleep. To make sure that they stay stimulated, we provide them with straw to root through as an activity that gets them up and moving and keeps their minds engaged. Rooting is an important and natural behaviour for pigs regardless of their size. Using their strong snouts, pigs will push or nudge at something over and over to move it around or uncover hidden treasures. This behaviour is important for keeping their minds active while also used by pigs for comfort and to search out treats. Because they can’t graze during the winter months, all of our pigs are also given extra veggies treats and hay to munch on. 
Our big pigs actually enjoy being outside in the winter and don’t seem to mind exploring and wandering around on the snow-covered ground. When they are back in the barn, they also get hay piles for rooting and keeping their minds busy.

Winter…what winter?

Our goats and sheep don’t seem to really notice or mind the change in weather. This is most likely due to their thick wool or hair coats that provide great insulation against the cold. Regardless of the season, our goats and sheep keep to the same routine all year round going outside to explore and play. Like our pigs, when they are inside the barn, they are also given hay and lots of extra veggie snacks to enjoy.