Shelters are an essential part of pig production. Protection from weather – the sun in summer and cold in winter ensures the greatest welfare for you pigs. A sturdy, well constructed shelter will not only last for years but protect your pigs from the elements and save you time, money and aggravation in the long run.
- A well-constructed barn, shed, or hoop structure will work to house and care for pigs. You can find examples of different types of shelters that can be used further down on this page. Most will be suitable for a farrowing sow however they may require additional modifications to ensure protection from adverse weather.
- Large bales can be arranged in the form of a shelter, as the bales will provide insulation from cold and dampness
- Pigs can be very destructive. Shelters need to be built solid to avoid damage to the shelter and injury to the pigs. It is recommended to use lag bolts (not screws), 2” x 6” lumber (not 2” x 4”) and ensure corners are reinforced to construct the sturdiest structure possible
- Try to avoid using treated wood, as it contains chemicals that, if ingested by the pigs, can contaminate the meat.
- Ensure shelters are constructed prior to pigs arriving at your farm.
Tips for Building a Shelter
- Always try and provide a dry nesting area and shade. This will minimize the impact of bad weather (rain, snow, sun).
- Shelters should be big enough to ensure all pigs have access at the same time, ensuring they are comfortable and not lying on top of one another.
- Construct separate areas or shelters for sick and quarantined animals. This prevents nose-to-nose contact with the rest of your pigs and reduces potential disease spread.
- Develop an emergency plan for poor weather, disease challenges, pigs escaping, equipment failure, or a feed or water supply issue. Proactively planning for emergency situations will be a benefit in the long run.