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Building a Natural Farm Pig Sty?

Below I outline the basic principles of building a deep bed pig sty. This concept can be used for building a small sty to keep just a couple of pigs in your back yard to raising hundreds of pigs.

1) Build pen housing

Dimensions will vary dependent on how many pens you want under one roof and the number of pigs you want to keep. Below are the dimensions of my single pen pig sties.

My dimensions for single pig sty building suitable for raising 10-12 pigs, or keeping 2-3 breeding sows:

  • Width: 6 - 8 meters
  • Length: 8 meters
  • Height (highest point): 3.5 meters

2) Build the sty pen

Dig 0.9 - 1 meter down (and build trough). You need to go this deep to ensure that the deep floor bedding is deep enough to absorb and break down the fecal matter whilst keeping the pen floor healthy and hygienic. 10 pigs over 6 months can expel a lot of excrement and feces.

Build an 'enclosing wall' 2 block bricks deep from the surface level down. This will stop your pigs rooting underneath the fence you will be building to enclose your pen.

Dimensions of pen:

  • Width: 4 meter
  • Length: 6 meter
  • Depth: 1 meter

Remember part of the reason why the natural pig farming system is so successful in raising healthy, non problematic pigs is the provision of space. Give the pigs as much space as you can. Treat the above measurements as minimums.

Fencing height: 1.10 meter

Build a trough (block bricks set up in a U shape and smooth concrete surface) all along one side of the pen (see picture above).

Note: If you are going to include a built-in mud wallow then the area where the mud wallow is to be built does not need to be dug out to the same degree as the rest of the pen. Dig a little over 0.5 meter down, build the supporting wall in the same way a the rest of the sty, put in some good soil, and add water.

Add deep litter flooring material

Fill with rice hull, peanut hulls or any other dry (chopped) agri by-product materials. See next web page: Deep bed flooring

4) Design your pen

If you are planning to use the pen to raise pigs for slaughter a large open pen should be designed. This will allow you to keep your pigs together in a stable family group throughout the raising process in an environment that gives them the space and facilities to enjoy a way of life in accordance to their natural instincts.

If you are planning to raise pigs to breed, then the area should be sub-divided into two sections. We choose to keep two sows together throughout their pregnancy and only partition them just prior to farrowing. After weaning the partition is opened and they have full access to the subdivided pen and live together again.

What we never do is keep any pig in isolation. Pigs are social animals, form strong bonds with other pigs, and enjoy doing things together, be it eating, sleeping, rooting or even suckling their piglets at the same time. Even when they are partitioned for giving birth and raising there piglets, they have visible contact with their sow mate.

5) Build your water delivery system

To ensure clean water is available we use a pig nipple tap feeder system. This ensures the pigs get to drink fresh clean water. Feeding water via a trough is not so ideal as the water is likely to get soiled and dirty.

We use a very basic system of feeding water through to the pig nipple. We have a plastic bin with a rubber hose or plastic pipe connecting to plastic piping. The water is topped up mornings and evenings.