Sunday, August 25, 2013

Making the barn home

Two sows feeding pigs and one gestating
 We have plenty of space in the barns for all of the animals we have; the basic challenge is to make them a little friendlier to the pigs.  For most of the barns, this means cleaning out random stuff that's accumulated there during the previous owners tenure, and then removing some of the dairy support equipment to make more useful room for the pigs.  Some of the dairy equipment has sharp edges or is rusted to the point where it won't stand up to a pig. 
Feeder pigs hanging out in the dairy freestalls
 For their part, the pigs basically like the raised bedding areas; and tend to manure in the aisles, which makes cleaning the barn much easier.  You run a scraper down the aisle, and in a single pass you're done.  If you want to get fancy you can pressure wash, and get it really clean. 
Goggles getting bigger every day.  He's a nice looking pig
 We're using wheat straw as bedding; it comes from across the road; they combined 60 acres of wheat there a couple of weeks ago, and I was able to get the straw at a good price.  It breaks down quickly, and provides some carbon for the nitrogen-rich manure.  Better soil, faster. 
The barns are big and airy, which is nice.  Keeps the bedding dry, but the pigs keep moving it. 

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