How To Save Money On Piggery Shelters

If you are considering keeping a small herd of pigs you do not need to spend a small fortune constructing piggery shelters. Creating ideal housing can require a huge initial spend if permanent facilities are constructed. While this may be cost-effective for large animal husbandry facilities, for smaller outfits the cost of construction of concrete or brick structures can be prohibitively expensive.

In order to keep pigs indoors, housing facilities should have concrete or slatted floors. If you do not have existing buildings that can be easily re-purposed, new custom piggery shelters will need to be constructed. The most cost- effective solution is usually to construct temporary or semi-permanent outdoor piggery shelters using low-cost raw materials.

There are two main options to choose:

  1. Create small piggery shelters for use in an outdoor paddock to raise free-range pigs

  1. Create larger housing facilities with pens for individuals and groups

Free range pigs can be reared if large enough paddocks can be created. Areas need to be provided to allow the animals to root for food and wallow and live as natural a life as possible. Small shelters can then be used to keep the animals warm, dry and comfortable. One of the main advantages of creating small portable housing facilities for two or three pigs is they can be easily moved to different areas of the paddock as manure accumulates. Unfortunately, many smallholdings and farms lack the space or have enough suitable terrain to make this type of venture profitable.

Larger semi-permanent piggery shelters can be constructed quickly, easily and for relatively little cost. These housing facilities typically consist of a lightweight frame covered with semi-transparent polyethylene fabric – the same material used to create bunker covers, mining shelters and truck tarps. This highly versatile material provides 100% protection from the rain and wind and shade to allow pigs to escape the heat of the sun. One disadvantage of the material is it degrades when exposed to sunlight to it is essential that the material is treated to resist UV degradation. Without this treatment the fabric becomes brittle quickly. After treatment it will resist degradation for many years.

Polytarp can be easily tensioned over a lightweight frame and can be used to create vast housing facilities for hundreds of animals, and is often used in mining shelters to keep humans protected from the elements and for bunker covers to protect crops. The material is easy to manipulate and shelters can be constructed on site with minimal labour costs or lifting equipment.

Each end is open to encourage air flow to help create a healthy environment. Pens can easily be added to segregate animals or larger areas created to house small herds. Pigs housed in this type of facility do not require concrete or slatted floors and preparation of the ground is quick and easy. Deep litter flooring is all that is needed which can consist of a few inches of straw, rice hulls or sawdust.

In summer the open and airy design is perfect for keeping pigs cool. In winter, additional insulation may be required to improve heat retention. Thermal covers – also made from polyethylene – can be easily fitted to the shelters and taken off and stored in warmer months.

So if you are looking to create a small piggery or want to house vast herds, polyethylene shelters can save a small fortune yet will still provide ideal conditions for your animals.

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