pig pen

Pork production: Housing for piglets

My sow is going to give birth to her first litter in about two months. I am going to build a pen with a concrete floor to house the piglets after weaning, where they can grow until I sell them. I would like your advice on how big the pen should be and any other tips you may have to make it comfortable for the pigs.

A good size for a pig pen is 3m X 4m, which will comfortably house 15 pigs of up to 70kg, or 12 larger growers up to 95kg, or four dry sows. You will probably not have more than 12 piglets to house so they’ll have plenty of space, but it is better to build larger rather than smaller, because later on you will probably have more pigs.

The walls should be about 1,2m high and if they are not made of concrete, they must be strong enough to keep the pigs inside.

Floor

The floor should have a 1% slope towards the drain. Place the drinking nipple or container in the corner, nearest the drain and the gate. The pigs will use that area as a latrine which will make it easier for you to remove the solid waste and clean the pen without wetting the entire floor.

Roof

Provide shade in a roof that is at least 1,5m from the ground at the lowest point. It need not cover the whole pen but it must provide shade for the pigs throughout the day. Pigs get sunburned quite easily and can even get heat stroke if they are not protected from the sun.

Keep pigs happy

Bedding in the form of wood shavings, straw or dry grass, will always make pigs more comfortable and give them something to play with. Pigs from the same litter don’t usually fight with one another, but they get bored. It’s a good idea to hang a couple of pieces of rope from the roof at a level where the pigs can pull and play with them; it keeps them happy and stops them from pulling the ears and tails of their pen-mates!

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