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Author Topic: Suggestions please  (Read 3627 times)

JulieS

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Devon - EX39 5RF
    • Ford Mill Farm
Suggestions please
« on: July 23, 2009, 12:07:24 pm »
I'm really enjoying my 3 GOS weaners, who are now nearly 18 weeks old.

I've got lots of orders for meat...I'm hoping there will be enough for me too!!

My next weaners will be ready in September.  I'm also getting 1 gilt in pig in October, possibly 2.

Hubby is ready and willing to put up what fencing I need.  I just have to tell him what I want.

So I'd really appreciate your views on what you would do with a 4 acre field?  A blank canvass to do with as I wish.  I just have to decide how big, and how many pens would be best.

Also what accommodation would you recommend? 

All thoughts gratefully received. 
Pedigree GOS Pigs and Butchery for Smallholders.

BillyBerridge

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Nottinghamshire
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2009, 06:50:52 pm »
Best advice i can give is do little by little, you can gaurantee however you set it out the first time, you will change it round as you go along.

Must haves though-

Secure pens- electric fence back up. Piglet proof stock netting.
Bolt holes - (if you are farrowing maiden gilts theres a good chance they wont want you near the piglets) Make sure your safe.
Arks - strong waterproof and most importantly draught proof. Pigs dont mind the wet or cold but they dont like wind.
Farrowing Shed/s or Ark/s- its always a good idea to have a separate area where you can take a Gilt or Sow a few weeks before she farrow's (fresh ground carries less bugs, keeps her cleaner, and will have nutritious grass to help with milk production).
Shade plenty of it- enough said
Wallow - enough said

We like to put our farrowing shed in the corner of the pen, with a single strand of electric wire (a pigs nose height) between it and the boundary fence so that the sow cannot get behind the farrowing shed, this allows a safe observation area through the back of the shed. Additionally when the piglets get to a few weeks old you can creep feed them here which (A) benifits the Gilts/Sows body condition as she gets all her meals to herself (B) Gets the piglets ready for weaning and onto solid food quickly, this also alllows the piglets to grow to their max whilst still with their mum.

Think thats proberly enough waffle for you to digest! Anymore just ask!

BB

JulieS

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Devon - EX39 5RF
    • Ford Mill Farm
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2009, 07:04:49 pm »
Many thanks for your reply BB.  Really useful ideas there.

How big would you make the pens?  Can they be too big?  Or is it a case of the bigger the better?

Pedigree GOS Pigs and Butchery for Smallholders.

gavo

  • Joined Aug 2008
  • Belcoo, Enniskillen, N.Ireland
  • Crazy Pig Lover
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2009, 10:49:19 pm »
hello,

we would allocate roughly 1/4 acre to a sow to farrow in and raise the little ones to 8 weeks when they're weaned (provided of course there's plenty of vegetation).


Cheers

Gavin

BillyBerridge

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Nottinghamshire
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2009, 11:19:39 pm »
Personally and it is choice, i keep the sow and litter in a small pen 20m x 15m for the first week,  My sow is put in this size pen around three days or so prior to farrowing.

The first week of a piglets life is the most fragile, if you can get them through this without too many hic-ups their generally OK. After a week I open up the pen a little more to keep the ground relativley firm, the last thing you want are piglets wading around in mud and filth.

It is imporatant to remember that a sow is no different to any other mother and needs a short break form her babies now and again, I put a kick board over the gateway so the sow is able to step out of the pen leaving the young unable to climb over. 

After three weeks or so I move them onto a bigger patch of ground with plently of piggie delights! Grass, nettles and dock leaves to you and me!
At around five weeks I allow the sow and litter onto aorund 1/4 of an acre as gavin says, with plenty of vegitation.

This is where the piglets stay untill they reach weaning age! Thats where the fun begins for those who have not yet experienced a maternal sow!


Remember this is for summer farrowing! Winter is a different ball game!

JulieS

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Devon - EX39 5RF
    • Ford Mill Farm
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2009, 08:00:41 am »
Great advice.  Thank you BB and Gavin.

I've been looking at Arks on the internet.  There seem to be a few different ones about.  Anyone have any experience...good or bad, with any of them? 

Could always try and get hubby to make some I suppose. 

I presume 8'x8' would be a good size?
Pedigree GOS Pigs and Butchery for Smallholders.

gavo

  • Joined Aug 2008
  • Belcoo, Enniskillen, N.Ireland
  • Crazy Pig Lover
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2009, 02:36:53 pm »
Here's what I do :-

http://www.macneanfarm.com/Pig_Ark.pdf

Another modification on this is the installation of guttering which feeds into a large tub for drinking out of.

Cheers

Gavin



JulieS

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Devon - EX39 5RF
    • Ford Mill Farm
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2009, 02:47:19 pm »
Many thanks for that Gavin.

Great website with fantastic pictures  ;D


Pedigree GOS Pigs and Butchery for Smallholders.

BillyBerridge

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Nottinghamshire
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2009, 10:37:59 am »
Those plans are very good, Do you know anymore pages like that Gavin?

gavo

  • Joined Aug 2008
  • Belcoo, Enniskillen, N.Ireland
  • Crazy Pig Lover
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2009, 10:55:55 am »
Don't really know of any pages of plans etc as that is our own design built to withstand the attentions of year round use by tamworths who can be a little hard on less sturdy houses.

MrsJ

  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2009, 02:22:29 pm »
We love our GOS's.  The only advice I would add to the above is always point the entrance to the arc away from the prevailing wind.

JulieS

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Devon - EX39 5RF
    • Ford Mill Farm
Re: Suggestions please
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2009, 02:31:51 pm »
Many thanks MrsJ, good advice.
Pedigree GOS Pigs and Butchery for Smallholders.

 

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