People will say you can’t interact with them the same etc, but I disagree with that with my set up. I spend plenty of time with them out there. I sit in their shed for hours on end pottering around in the shed and in the garden. I’m more of an outside person so even if they were indoors I’d still be outside.
Keeping them outside is harder as you have the worry of the temperature being right for them, are they warm enough in winter, managing fluctuations, are they dry, are they safe from predators etc. Still have to keep indoor cages in case you need to bring them indoors during bad weather.
But my two have so much more space out in the shed than I could give them indoors. Being in the shed rather than just in a hutch outside means rain etc isn’t a problem for cleaning out and and they can still have their playtime year round (you can’t keep bringing outdoor piggies inside for play and then put them back out during the winter due to the temperature fluctuations) plus I don’t get wet being out there with them.
We have inside pigs!
Pros: you get to see what they get up to all the time and it’s easier to keep a close eye on them. You can use fleece bedding which I love and so do they! You don’t have to go outside to feed and clean them!
Cons: they are messy I find pieces of hay everywhere, but we do live in a flat so it may be worse. They smell a bit but with regular cleaning it’s not that bad!
Not sure if this is a pro or a con but every time they hear a a packet russle they are at their cage wheaking we think it’s adorable But you do have to be strict to not give into them!
Also have seen lots of comments that rescues want them to be housed indoors so that’s another consideration. If we had a garden I would still rather have them inside!
Betsy said having hers outdoors doesn't mean she can't interact with them as much but I love seeing then every time I walk into the kitchen especially since I'm in there working at the table most of the day at the moment.
I don't have do go out into the rain/cold to see them if it's not nice outside.
If it is nice outside I can put them out in their run on the grass.
I don't have to worry about whether it's too hot/cold outside for them.
Hay does get everywhere! My kitchen is tiled so it's easy to sweep up but it still gets taken onto the carpet in the hall and living room on everyone's socks.
You might find a large part of the room is taken up with piggy stuff while if they were outside it could potentially be kept in a garage.
My boys don't smell but it's possible your piggies might which could be a problem if they're inside
Pro/con depending on now much space you have indoors
If you don't have a particularly big space for an indoor cage having them outdoors in a nice big hutch or shed would be better for them but if you have a lovely big indoor space that's great.
I'd call ours inside-outside piggies, or half-outside piggies. We had intended for them to live outside all year round and mega-insulated their hutch accordingly. However, within a couple of weeks of bringing the 6-7 week-old piggies home last September, we realised this wasn't going to work as they had had no time to acclimatise and it was getting so cold at night. We have no space for them inside but as we had converted the shed into my study -- so into a proper room which could be heated -- we moved the hutch in there and put fleece down and used C&C panels for a large run. It was still an effort to keep it sufficiently warm, particularly at night (heater on only in the daytime when we were around), so even there I wrapped the hutch with many blankets at night. We have moved the hutch back outside for the Summer but, having learnt that below 15 degrees is too cool for them, particularly as they are used to a heated environment, we are bringing them back into the shed every night (with a back-up hutch that we always leave open onto their run).
My conclusion after all this is that half-outside, i.e. permanently in the shed with a run over winter and outside during the day in the summer, is our best solution and the one I would continue with even if we had space indoors. When they are in their larger outside hutch during the day we find it much more difficult to interact with them but I do think it is more pleasant for them to be outside if it is warm (they have constant access to a predator-proofed run beneath their raised hutch). We then have proper time with them again when we bring them back into the shed at 5 pm. I was worried that this daily movement between an inside hutch and outside hutch would be too unsettling and create dominance problems, but they now know the routine and it is working. In the morning, they jump into their carrier and wait to be carried over, even if we are not yet ready to do so! They are more resistant to coming back which tellingly shows that they prefer the outside set-up.
So, a shed works really well. They are protected from the wind and rain and they are safe. We wouldn't have been able to bond with them had they been outside over the winter. It doesn't matter there that hay is absolutely everywhere, although it still ends up inside the house. If we ever move, I will set up a dedicated shed for them, where they could take over the entire floor. (This shed run is built around my desk ...)