Food & Accomodation starter questions

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Carolinexxx, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

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    Hi, I am thinking of getting a weener, but am still trying to find out what I need to do.

    I have read that you need to feed pigs 3 times a day. However currently if I go away for a weekend I get a friend to come in once a day to check my chickens & collect the eggs. Is it OK to just give pigs one big meal a day occasionally or is that just cruel?

    Currently I am just planning to get one pig for 6 months & am not sure if I will be repeating it (depends how it goes this time). So obviously I don't want to spend lots of money. What it the minimum fencing you can use. What will they jump over & what will they just walk through? Will they cross a river (or drown!) or is it an effective fence? In some places the river is only 6" deep but 8 yards wide however in others it is nearly 1 yard deep but only 2 or 3 wide.

    For the shelter I have lots of corrugated iron. I was thinking about using 8 ft posts, driving them in the ground & making a 3 sided shelter with roof. Apart from putting it on high ground & back to the prevailing wind, is there anything specific I need to do? Is there a problem with putting straw straight on the ground or is it a nightmare to clean out? What do people normally put on the floor?

    I have some places where there are heaps of branches (1 yard deep), will they rummage around & find it interesting or are they likely to hurt their legs? I don't figure they are that delicate but I would hate to come home to a pig with a broken leg!!

    Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.


    Thanks

    Caroline

    PS I won't be offended by you telling me the obvious because I probably don't know!
     
  2. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Caroline,

    I've never had pigs where they could get the chance, but I have read they swim just fine. I would not let them near a river.

    First time I raised pigs, I built a pen next to the barn so only had to build three sides. Drove in two steel fence posts as needed to lay in 2 X 4 material to pen them. They never did dig under though as they get older and start rooting they can. I also built a shed roof much as you describe to keep them out of the sun and rain. Also a wood raised floor bedded in straw to keep them warm at night. They will do very well with such a shelter. I raised pigs in that same shelter for six years.

    Pigs are pretty tough, though, and can tolerate a lot of abuse. But my attitude was always these guys are here for my table, but I'll make their life as pleasant as possible, even if short.

    If you let them get too hungry the rooting will start sooner and with more vigor. Livestock are a committment and since they depend on you to meet all their needs you must fill those needs. If you must leave try to find additional help to get them taken care of. The better you care for them, they better they will do for you. They are quite personable, a lot of fun, and very rewarding to have around over and above dinner time.

    Best of luck with a new project. Read some of the available books like Belangers' Raising the Homestead Hog.

    For your enjoyment, I was at university one day when the three little piggies broke jail. I got home in the early evening to discover my landlady who was 72 at the time running all over the paddock chasing the pigs with a broom trying to get them back into their pen which the horse had broken down in one corner.

    Gracie was calling some mighty naughty names to my pigs, but they all were much quicker than she was. But I had raised my pigs well and solved this simply by going in the barn, getting a couple scoops of goat grain into a bucket and then going out, called the pigs, and played "shake the can" They came running and ran right back into their pen for a quick snack. Gracie was so mad she was spitting...even at me after seeing that.

    bearkiller
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wire hog panels fastened to posts at the corners and staked down in the middle would make all the pen one pig would need. Pigs can swim. If the water is shallow he will be right out in it. All the shelter he will need until next winter is shade. They can't take much hot sun. Pigs need all the feed they can eat 24/7. You could fix up some type feeder that he could only stick his nose in to the feed. That would help keep him from rooting it out on the ground and wasting it.. Same with a large trough of some kind with bars across the top to keep him from laying down in the trough and spilling all the water. He will make a mud hole next to his water supply without any aid on your part. If you can put his little pen in the shade of a large tree it would be much better for the pig. It will be nessesary to stake his trough and feeder so he can't upset them.
     
  4. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    Pigs can swim just fine, and if they don't want to they will play crocodille or hippopotamus and trundle along underwater with just their snout and eyes above the surface. A shallow stream or river would be like hog heaven, but I wouldn't count on getting hog back. You could fence a little bit of the stream for them to get at - hog would love that. However, unfenced streambank is just so much unfenced to them - they will walk straight through it and go find some earthworms or baby lambs or neighbour's corn or potatoes (or your own vegetable garden) to eat.

    Oh, yes. Two pigs are better than one. Three - so you have a reserve - is better still. They are sociable creatures - they want company. Another of their kind is good. Without that, they will insist on you keeping them company - which is a nuisance, and ends up with them making a pet of you too - which is counterproductive if you plan to eat them. Also, they eat more - and therefore put on weight better - if they have a bit of competition.
     
  5. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    first pigs i had i built the pen out of used shipping pallets dug into the ground about a foot, there were 15 pigs in my first herd. used 20 pallets and a couple sheets of plywood for a roof, they got out only about 5 times in a yr. the pen was next to a irrigation canal, plenty of water, oh did you know pigs love catus? they got out because the irrigation dist backhoe would hit the pen when cleaning the canal. heres a hint try using a tune when you feed always the same one if they get out when they hear it they come running...
     
  6. You can't hardly go wrong with pig panels and a automatic feeder. By two or three pigs and when they are butchering age you can sell two of them to pay for the one your going to put in the freezer for yourself.

    Build your pen out under a shade tree some where and place a 4 X 4 sheet of plywood on top of the fence in the corner. This will help keep the rain off of them. Also take a 8' section of sheet iron, fold it into a L shape and place it in the corner before placeing the 4 X 4 plywood on top. This will give both a wind break and shelter from rain.
     
  7. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

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    Thanks for the advice.

    I have just come in from building their shelter. I put a couple of pallets down with an 8*4 sheet on it for the floor, the rest is corrugated iron & ply which we had around. I situated the run around some trees. In summer most of the area is in semi to full shade.

    I think training them to a noise is a must. I did that with my chickens & it works well.

    I tried to get Belangers' Raising the Homestead Hog but Amazon UK doesn't do it. I might get it shipped though. I have one book but it isn't that helpful, the best info I got was from NFU (National Farmers Union) which at least explained the regulations.

    I still have a little concern about the fencing & I don't know what hog panels are! I might go the electric netting route as I have some. I also have some pig netting which will keep the chickens out if I nail that to the other side of the posts - I am worried the pig netting alone won't hold as it is only 4 ft tall and dependant on 8 ft posts. I can imagine a 100 kg pig pushing it over!! Also the ground is very uneven so may be easy for a pig to dig under.

    I am now planning on getting 2 pigs as my sister wants one for her freezer. I read a few things about them preferring company, I didn’t know they ate better, it makes sense though and I really want them to put weight on as I am on holiday at the end of October so they need to be in the freezer by then.

    PS Any suggestions/web links on how to build an automatic feeder?
     
  8. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We had Lixit automatic waterers for our hogs. They worked great and the pigs are smart enough to use them. There are commercial type automatic feeders on the market also. You might be able to find some used.
     
  9. ohio_kid

    ohio_kid Well-Known Member

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    We were lucky enough to have a little extra cash when we built our pen. We used 14 ft. four rail gaits. We set posts in the ground and chained the gaits to the posts and fraimes a roof over half of the pen. We used a four foot gait for the....gait. It was a little more expensive but it also has multiple uses, we will be getting a cow soon and we just pull everything up and put it back together in another spot. We wired fence material around the bottom to keep the litter in but they still escaped twice. My son used a big landing net to safely nab the little fugitives. The feeder we used was just a regular two hog feeder. It held about 150 to 200 pounds of feed. She had access to it all the time. Our pen is across the road that we live on so we had to haul water to her but we took a plastic 55 gallon drum and cut it in half longways dug a little depression in the ground, to make it stable, and wired it to the fence and had little problems. By the way, we used a log chain to secure the feeder, she would knock it around otherwise. As far as straw, she loved it for bedding. Under the roof we would lay out 2 or 3 bails, it stayed dry and she stayed warm. During the really cold months we just put up tin roofing around the sides of the pen to block the wind and kept the straw piled up.
     
  10. CarolinaBound

    CarolinaBound Well-Known Member

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    This has been very interesting!!! How big does a pen for two pigs have to be? Are we talking 1/4 acre, or only yards?

    CarolinaBound
     
  11. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't have to be that big. Keep in mind that they will root up any area you put them in. If you plan on providing all their feed a smaller area will work fine, plus it is less expensive to build. They will use one side for their potty so make sure your area is big enough to allow them to keep themselves away from their wastes. I've seen some miserable pigs wallowing in their own excrement because the farmer thought pigs are filthy animals when in fact he didn't give them a choice. The area I built for my domestic sows is 56 x 24. I have 4 razorback sows which average 100 each in a 20 x 30 area (20 x 20 under roof with all open sides) and they're in hog heaven. As someone said though the summer shade is the most important feature of a pig pen. Best wishes with your pig project! :)
     
  12. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Caroline,

    There is another consideration in pig palaces. I raised my first sets of two pigs in a pen that was 10 X 20 where I fed them directly. So small is OK if you pay attention to their needs.

    The other consideration is that pigs are somewhat peculiar (aren't we all??) in that if you provide a SQUARE pen for them they seem to get confused about where to locate their "potty" corner. In which case they tend to be messier. On the other hand a clearly rectangular pen helps them choose a corner as far from their groceries as possible. I also initially moved their manure into one corner and sprinkled sawdust there to hlep train them. Worked very well in localizing the pig exhaust and making it easier to keep them clean.

    My, but pigs are FUN!

    bearkiller
     
  13. Mold and pigs do not get along, try translucent panels on the roof to allow more light in, and if you can on the side that gets the most sun, but they have a tendency to tear the ones on the side apart, even if you reinforce the sides with cattle panels.
    George
     
  14. mtfarmchick

    mtfarmchick Well-Known Member

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    I'm getting my first little oinkers in about 2 weeks. 7 of them. I was wondering if putting a small pool made of hard plastic in their pen would be a good idea. I thought they might like it for cooling off. I would be able to change the water every day or two.
     
  15. They would probably prefer to throw mud in. Some of them won't be able to climb or jump very well and might not be able to get in unless you partially bury it, others could drown if they cant climb out. A nice big clay lined puddle is probably less work and more to their liking.
    George

     
  16. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

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    George,

    You mention mould & pigs do not get along. Currently I am feeding them twice a day but they have not always finished their food completely and are very good at standing in it!! Do I have to wait until the food is all gone before I top up?

    Is mould actually harmful to pigs. Obviously I want to avoid it even if it isn't & I am going to build a new feeder to prevent them standing in it to help, but wanted to know if it was actually harmful to them as apparently it is for chickens. However chickens are picky (in comparison I mean), whereas my pigs seam to eat ANYTHING - rocks, wood, boots, jeans, the feeder, the rope attaching the feeder…. If they can get their teeth round it they'll try it!

    Also ideally I would like to make a feeder that I could fill once or twice a week & then just check the rest of the time. It works brilliantly with my chickens. I still check them two or three times a day but only have to carry feed & water over twice. Is this possible with piglets? They seam to mush the food with their nose (& hooves at the moment) therefore not eating the food on a first arrived first eaten type system like the chickens do. Is this a problem (possibly back to the mould question)?

    Thanks

    Caroline