The Many Types of Pig Housing
Choices in housing will depend primarily on climate and the number of pigs to shelter. Seasonal considerations will determine the need for protection from prevailing winds, need for shade, and risk of flooding or heavy snow that could affect the shelter's safety and comfort.
A reflective brooder lamp can be suspended or a ceramic light fixture installed for use in heating should temperatures be single digits or below zero. Use standard 150 or 200 watt light bulbs, not heat bulbs. Keep light at least 2 feet above the pig. Keep in mind the pig will be covered in 16 inches of dry hay if you have bedded him well so the light bulb needs to be high enough to never come in contact with the hay.
WARNING. Any kind of light fixture is a fire hazard. To be safe (or at least as safe as possible) use the commercial pig heaters made especially for pigs. These are available on line from Kane Mfg., Nasco and from Jeffers Pet. MORE: links to pig essentials. Shown right is a commercial Pig heater. We install them on the wall so it doesn't get overheated under hay. Some ambient effect in the house or stall is notable but mostly its a place to "warm" against. Use controller (sold by the same people) for extra safety.
Any type of housing will need plenty of warm bedding in winter. We use Bermuda hay or orchard grass hay. Straw is also good at insulating them but with a risk of eye infection if the little barbed seed hulls are still in it. Hay may need to be topped up every few days.. they will pulverize it making beds. Pigs should have enough to completely bury themselves in to be warm.
If you live in a severe climate where sub zero is common, it is best to plan an indoor heated sleeping area. Pigs do best in a 60 degree environment.
If you live in a farm setting and have a barn, build a house inside the barn and throw hay over it as well as in it. Or give them access, in the dry, to a roll or big pile of hay and they will burrow into it. With multiple pigs who can combine their body heat, no heat is usually required in a good barn with plenty of hay, away from drafts. Young pigs need a lot more heat than mature adults and a thin pig or one who is very old or has health conditions needs more heat as well.
"But my pig doesn't like hay.. he pushes it all out!!" Pigs push their hay to block drafts coming in the door, not because they don't want hay. Push dry hay back in,. keep adding fresh hay.
Below are some of the most common and comfortable styles available through custom shed builders, farm supply stores and agricultural suppliers, and a few not so common.
|Pressure Treated 4x5x4ft tall housing. Solid flooring and custom sized doorways
(16"x24" high) provide plenty of room for 1 to 4 pigs who are buddies. Hang a
Welcome mat for a windbreak in mild climates, in colder areas use a heavy double
rug door inside and outside the frame.
We have these custom built by builders who are in the portable shed and storage building business. They build and deliver to the site. Priced at about $300 plus delivery
|Full size portable barn is great for a small herd. This one has about 16
sleeping in it and is not half full. It is 12x16, PT siding and PT plywood
floors. Built on a good frame for moving. Most portable building suppliers have
movers who will move your building later if you decide it needs another
For summer the doors are tied open. For winter you can see that the one door is fixed in place and the other has been cut off half way and a rug hung over it. They have easy access while keeping out the rain and cold.
Two windows were cut in the back to provide more ventilation in the hot summer.
Priced about $2300
|Same builder, different design. These porches get a LOT of use in summer.. pigs
love porches. These are smaller buildings, 3x6 including the 2 foot porch and
are excellent for one or two pigs.
|EZ Hutch. Available from many farm suppliers are these A frame style sow
hutches. They are nearly indestructible (this one has been in service for 8
years), easy to move around where you need temporary shelter. Hutch is approx
5 feet by 7 and will house 5 or 6 pig pals. Downside is the lack of a floor. I
built a platform just slightly smaller than the hutch and set the hutch over it.
Worked fairly well. Heavy rug doors keep these hutches warm as toast in some
pretty cold temps.. we have seen single digits on occasion and pigs stayed warm
in their deep hay in the hutch. Summer vent on the back is not much. Park the
hutch in the shade. Rectangular "calf hutches" are similar in size and function.
Pricing around $300.
|Rectangular and Round Nylon Houses are roomy and fairly easy to move with some help. No floor (unless a platform is built as shown) so
again, in wet weather they can be a health concern. These were used on top of
the ridge where no rain collected and stayed dry despite our occasional
"monsoon". Filled deeply with hay they stay warm with a group of pigs sleeping
together. Round house is 7 foot diameter easily houses 5-8 pigs. Rectangular model is about 4 x 8. . They have vents for summer
but we suggest they always be placed in shade.
Pricing a bit higher than EZ Hutch
Custom designed barn for Elder Pigs
This barn is 16x24 with 1 large sleeping area and 3 "private suites" for pigs who like more privacy. It has a loading door built in for trips to the vet. It has heaters for cold weather, set on thermostats and cool air intake venting for summer with thermal foundation vents. The floor has 6 inches of crushed rock (1 1/2 inch size), covered with geo-textile fabric and then a foot of sand. Two 4x4 doors close the back for winter and stay open in summer. 2 windows on each side for cross ventilation in summer. Built where it gets shade all day in the summer, it will not require fans. A few clear panels on the roof allow sun in on chilly winter days when the leaves are all gone. Front barn doors had not yet been built when this was taken. The roof is high enough for two lofts which are filled with hay for winter and by spring are used up and the lofts allow heat to rise and escape out loft doors. Gutters on the back side catch fresh rainwater.
Metal porta-huts are used far north of Tennessee for housing commercial hogs. They stay amazingly warm but need to be placed where it stays dry. We erect platforms under them. They are very roomy , about 11 feet long and 7 wide.
|Need a quick house for multiple pigs in a hurry? These "ladybug" houses are nothing more than a water tank (with my whimsical paint job) , purchased from the local farm supply store. Cost about $1 per gallon of capacity. This one is about 350 gals. Cut out a door and its ready to use. Not for use in sun.. it will be far too hot; place in a shady area and it stays dry (has a floor of course) and a window can be cut on the opposing side. There is also a large drain plug near the base that can be removed to help with ventilation. Certainly not a good long term house as it can easily get rained in and stays damp. But it makes a tight and warm house when and where needed. Just roll it where you want it.|
More Environment Topics
Grazing/foraging, pastures, woods and yards
Water; pools, mudholes,ponds
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