Nope. Not even a little bit. Because, see, pigs don’t sweat. That’s why the traditional roll in the mud feels so good for a pig – the water evaporates off the pig like sweat off a person, cooling them down.

But in a hot midwestern summer, when pigs are in their confinement buildings or pens without mud to roll around in, how do they stay cool? It really comes down to two things – wind and water.

Ventilation and air quality in a barn is really important, both for the pigs and for me when I visit. Ha. Actually, believe it or not, I think the smell inside a barn is not as bad as outside. That’s because of ventilation. There’s two main styles of hog barn ventilation – natural vent (or cross-vent) and tunnel. Hog barns typically have long narrow rooms, so cross vent barns have big windows on each side with curtains that are let down so air can blow across (sometimes aided by fans inside the room), and tunnel barns have huge fans that blow out the back wall, drawing air down the length of the barn. Ceiling inlets are also used, mainly in the winter.

PicMonkey Collage

L: Cross-vent, R: Tunnel. Different layouts here too; small pens on the left and large pen sort barn on the right.

Access to good quality water is important to a pig’s growth and comfort, especially when it’s hot outside. Filters and screens are used to keep rural water or well sediment and minerals out of the pigs’ water. Wet/Dry feeders typically give pigs all the water they need or want, but some farmers choose to use supplemental water cups. Our research shows that they’re not needed, but again, I’m all for producers having choice to raise their pigs with the methods and equipment they’re comfortable with.

In the hot summer, misters are also used to keep pigs cool. Pigs, even big market weight hogs, have the personality of my 3-year old niece. She’s smart, social, a little ornery, and loves to play. Especially with water. Misters are essentially sprinklers that hang from the ceiling. Depending on the weather, they run on and off throughout the day. As the water evaporates off the pig’s back, it cools them like sweat off a person.

And pigs LOVE the misters. They run and shake and catch the water on their ears, noses and tongues, and all cram in one corner where the most water is, and lick it off their friends. You’d think it was a water park.


Look at how much fun this guy is having. Best day ever, Mom!!


Smug little hog sitting here, enjoying the mister and breeze.

Fun fact: pigs can get sunburned just like humans. Don’t forget the SPF! Pale is the new tan, piggies. (This is actually a benefit to raising pigs in buildings instead of outside.)