|Polly & Waldo, always hopeful for something to eat|
The time had come for the pigs to have their own place. They'd been sleeping in the buck barn, but with the newly planted buck pasture coming up, I didn't want them rooting it up when I let the bucks back in. Plus I'd seen Gruffy and Waldo squabble over entry to the little log barn, and that had to be dealt with too. When Waldo was just a little guy, he would stand at the gate and squeal for his meal. Gruffy made great sport over picking on him. The more Waldo would squeal, the more Gruffy would push him around. It's always the smallest, youngest, and newest animals that get picked on the most and I suppose Gruffy, being the shortest goat, always got the brunt end of it. Waldo was the first four legged critter that was smaller than himself. But Waldo got bigger (and heavier) and apparently didn't forget. Gruffy was now getting payback.
The more important reason was to put the pigs where we need them. They are excellent natural tillers of the soil. My pasture maintenance scheme calls for putting the pigs in the forage area that needed the most work. For that they need shelter.
We'd toyed with the idea of a wood structure. Many are portable: either on skids or easy to knock down are reassemble elsewhere. Our setup isn't conducive to hauling a small structure around, neither do we have the tractor to do it. Instead, we decided to make a more temporary structure, a straw bale pig house.
We started with a cattle panel, bending it into a curve and tying it to the welded wire fence. Top and back (the side which will get the most winter wind) were covered down with tarps.
Dan also staked the sided to further make sure it doesn't go anywhere.
We lined it with bales of straw, tying these to the cattle panel too. There was enough tarp overhang in front to tie down for a pig height entrance.
|No Gruffy! It's pig digs, not pyg(my) digs!|
I wish the tarp had been long enough to cover the sides completely, but this is a make do situation. I may add more later if funds allow.
One thing I can tell you is that it is certainly warm inside! I'll add loose straw for them to burrow into as needed. We can even make "repairs" if needed because bales of straw are certainly cheap enough.
I'm curious as to how long this will last. That information will help us improve upon it next year. The beauty of such a house is that it can be disassembled when the pigs are moved. The cattle panel and tarps can be moved to the new location, and the straw can be used for mulch and compost right where it is. A win-win all the way around.