Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Hard standing  (Read 541 times)

Julia1521

  • Joined Jul 2020
Hard standing
« on: August 13, 2020, 08:28:04 pm »
Hi guys,

I have two pet sows that are around 8 years old. One of them has arthritis and receives regular pain medication and anti inflammatories to manage this. As we approach winter I am starting to worry about how she will cope when the ground becomes muddy and soft.

Unfortunately as i have limited space i am unable to rotate pasture at the moment (I'm aware I need to in the next year to prevent it getting pig sick) which means their paddock can turn into a bit of a mud bath. When it gets like this the only dry area is inside their ark and by the entrance to it. I know she is going to struggle to move around when its like this so was wondering if i should build a concrete hard standing near the house to feed them on and so that they at least have somewhere other than their house to go that's dry. I don't know if this would help wear their hooves down as well but would certainly be a bonus if they did. At almost 400kg each it wouldn't be possible for me to trim them if they got too long so would have to be sedated by the vet (not ideal)!

However, after doing some research I've seen that rough and abrasive services like concrete can damage the foot, which certainly wouldn't help her! NADIS also said that chemical damage to horn can also be significant on newly laid concrete. But on the other hand being kept on persistently wet ground is risky for a number of reasons!

Is there another option? If anyone has any ideas or suggestions I'd be really grateful for the advice. It's also worth bearing in mind they are VERY strong so anything I  put down would have to be pretty study!

Thanks!

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Hard standing
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2020, 10:32:38 pm »
Depends if you want a permanent concrete pad. It won't wear their feet down unless they spend a lot of time walking on it, which realistically they aren't going to do. Can you improve the drainage? I have seen road planings used to effectively create a firm surface under the mud and they are cheap if you can get them. Straw can be used at a mat. Or you could look at the cost of terram or drain grids like they use in horse pastures and gateways.


You don't have to sedate to trim feet. You can use a pig snare and a small grinding tool to do a quick job. A vet should be able to do that. What breed are they?


Ideally you should feed well away from the ark so they have to exercise themselves to eat.


SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Hard standing
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2020, 12:44:38 pm »
Personally I think road planings and similar should be banned on farms which have cloven-footed animals.  The mud reforms on top of them, the foot sinks through and onto the planings, which are small and sharp enough to get in between the cleats...  Serious welfare issue, imo.

I am going to be contentious about the other thing too : Pigs are not happy outdoors in winter if there is no way of giving them routes to and from their food, toilet and ark where they are not belly-deep in wet, cold mud.  They are much, much happier indoors with plenty of straw and or hay to play in and lie in, and a well-drained clean corner in which to toilet.

In your case, Julia, if you have an earth-floored pen that you can bear to let them use, (with plenty of straw to rootle in to try to reduce the amount of floor they dig into!) that would suit your girl best.  Otherwise I would say she would be better on a well-strawed cement surface than left to struggle in the mud.  You can always let them out for a bit of play and exercise when the ground is dry enough - but if the pen is somewhere that there are things for them to see, and you go by from time to time, I think you will be amazed at how happy they are ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Hard standing
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2020, 02:10:46 pm »
I know you haven't mentioned it, but I don't like keeping pigs outdoors in prolonged wet spells. Do you have any indoor areas? If you removed the sows at the start of bad weather the fields wouldn't get such a trashing and maybe they could go back out for a the odd week here and there over the winter?

I would much prefer a concerte yard and stable for them than a muddy field in the pouring rain and snow

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Hard standing
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2020, 05:20:06 pm »
Personally I think road planings and similar should be banned on farms which have cloven-footed animals.  The mud reforms on top of them, the foot sinks through and onto the planings, which are small and sharp enough to get in between the cleats...  Serious welfare issue, imo.

I am going to be contentious about the other thing too : Pigs are not happy outdoors in winter if there is no way of giving them routes to and from their food, toilet and ark where they are not belly-deep in wet, cold mud.  They are much, much happier indoors with plenty of straw and or hay to play in and lie in, and a well-drained clean corner in which to toilet.

In your case, Julia, if you have an earth-floored pen that you can bear to let them use, (with plenty of straw to rootle in to try to reduce the amount of floor they dig into!) that would suit your girl best.  Otherwise I would say she would be better on a well-strawed cement surface than left to struggle in the mud.  You can always let them out for a bit of play and exercise when the ground is dry enough - but if the pen is somewhere that there are things for them to see, and you go by from time to time, I think you will be amazed at how happy they are ;)


I have seen planings used without any issue. The planings basically moulded together. This was, by comparison, to this situation a commercial herd and and high up in a very wet field. There were no problems with feet/lameness and over a period of wet there was never the amount of mud there was before. I am talking an area that prior to being used to keep pigs on was basically a reed bed.


The whole of the paddock wasn't covered in planings just an area to make feeding easier, not only for the pigs but the pig keeper. It also meant you could drive into the gate area for loading.


I'm guessing that the OP hasn't an alternative to keeping these pigs out and agree if you have some where indoors it makes life easier.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Hard standing
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2020, 06:16:31 pm »
Ah, that sounds like properly compacted road planings, harmony.  Much less of an issue, makes a reasonably firm surface.  But in a domestic or smallholding situation we often don't have the pukka thumping gear to do proper compaction, and in those circumstances it reduces the mud and makes it more pleasant for vehicles and shod people, but very uncomfortable for cloven feet.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Hard standing
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2020, 07:21:33 pm »
I don't know what the planings are like that you have had Sally but the ones around here when you can get them spread easily and don't need a wacker plating but you could do that if you wanted. The guy I knew kept and showed Saddlebacks and Hampshires, big sows and boars, he did not have lame pigs.


I have seen jack hammered road waste, which I wouldn't thank you for.

Julia1521

  • Joined Jul 2020
Re: Hard standing
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2020, 07:29:11 pm »
Thanks for all the advice everyone, it's been really helpful!

I agree keeping them outside all year is not ideal. I house my goats indoors every winter for this reason.

Longer term I would like to build a second pen so that I can move them onto that if it starts to get muddy and rest the other one but unfortunately that's just not possible for this winter. And i don't have an indoor area or concrete yard or stable for them either.

Does anyone have any good ideas for drainage. The ground they are on is completely flat at the moment so that obviously does not help. Do you think building it up a bit in parts would help. That being said any run off would then just end up in my chickens pen next to them so that's maybe not a great idea!

I will definitely be putting more straw down this year. I usually only put some down in front of the house and by the gate but I shall try putting some down where they are fed, go to the toilet and where their drinker is. Maybe i could even use it to make some dryish paths for them?

In regards to the road plannings thank you for the suggestion and I will definitely look into it further but i'm not sure how i feel about them. I remember reading a while ago about a case where coal tar poisoning was diagnosed in a group of pigs that were kept on road plannings. I'm not ruling it though and like I say will definitely research it more.


 

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