Sunday, November 21, 2010

The origin of the term "pigpile"

We're experiencing a bit of colder weather; when it gets colder, the pigs do this.  They stack themselves like cordwood -- bigger ones on the bottom, medium sized ones in the middle, and little guys surfing at the top.  These group is all facing the door of the shelter, but sometimes they'll arrange themselves so that they're alternating forward and back. 

I'm always concerned about keeping the pigs bedded properly.  With the amount of rain we get, and the clay-based soil, the drainage isn't very good, and that means mud.  lots of mud.  Even in sacrifice paddocks.

My solution is to keep adding more and more dry wood chips to their shelters... well, that's not really what I do.  I put two tractor scoops of fresh chips down next to their shelter, and them move their shelter on top of the new chips.  It's easier than having to shovel the chips into their shelter, and the pigs enjoy the new chips.  they'll go into the pile and bury themselves in it.  When the chips get damp, they will usually start to compost, and the pigs body heat helps that, and that provides a nice, warm layer underneath the pigs.  When it gets too wet I'll repeat. 

5 comments:

John Schneider - Gold Forest Grains said...

They look like some happy pigs! You're making some great soil at the same time too. Good idea all around.

Anonymous said...

Actual woodchips are not very absorbent.Do you have access to some old round bales(mulch hay)that you can get real cheap and create a "pack" in their huts for their bedding. It would keep them(the pigs) up out of the mud and you would not have to keep moving the huts all the time. Sounds like you need some higher ground.

Bruce King said...

I use some hay for the pigs, but only on top of a foot or two of chips. It doesn't last very long -- it tends to get wet in a day or two, and then has to be replaced as well. With enough wood chips they stay warm because of composting action even when the outside temperature is below freezing and the pigs prefer them.

Anonymous said...

The pigs in the photo are not warm. Any fool can see this. If you want to keep your pigs warm you use straw and/or move your pigs out of the wetland in the winter. Open your eyes!

Bruce King said...

Thanks for the suggestion, anonymous. I'll get right on that.