In the Drink
If you threw me into water in freezing weather, I’d scramble to get out as quickly as possible. Even being thirsty wouldn’t influence my instinct to escape. But not so with pigs. Their first thought isn’t “I’m cold”. It is “I might be hungry or thirsty later, so I’d better drink while I’m here”.
Our pigs really have no reason to be hungry or thirsty. They have a self feeder, plenty of hay, and we always keep whey in their trough. But that doesn’t matter. Whenever I top off their whey they mob it, shoving each other to be the first in line, and pretty often somebody gets tossed in.
The funny thing is that they don’t get out immediately. They stay in the cold liquid without panicking and drink their fill. Once they’ve had enough to drink (and it could take a minute or two), then they start screaming their heads off, splashing around, and leap out of the tank over the backs of their colleagues on shore. Twelve hours later when I come back to refill the trough, that same pig will be fighting to get a drink and will be just as likely to repeat the performance.
Pigs wallow in mud puddles on 45 degree days, so their tolerance of cold immersion is different than ours. But still, it can’t be comfortable to be in the drink when the weather is in the 20s or lower. Their drive to eat and their drive to out-eat their peers motivates them to do things we wouldn’t contemplate.