NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Preparing for pigs  (Read 953 times)

cambee

  • Joined Feb 2017
Preparing for pigs
« on: February 16, 2017, 01:59:15 pm »
Hi we are at the start of our venture into smallholding having been reading this really useful forum for the last year. We already have chickens and 6 horses on livery but intend moving into sheep and pigs and would like to start by raising a couple of weaners this year. Having securely fenced off an area of land I now want to get my arc, feeders etc set up.So can I ask advice? First, would you recommend the standard pig arcs made of wood and iron or the plastic arcs that are available? I am assuming 6ft x 4ft will be big enough? Second I will buy the galvanised feed trough but what is the best way to supply water to them without the risk of the pigs tipping stuff over or chewing the bucket? I cannot use the mains troughs as we have no mains water in that field and have to transport water there in a portable bowser. Finally, do I need hurdles which seem to be in starter packs? We are busy looking at the different breeds of pig trying to decide what we want so that we can find a local supplier in the Peak District which is very exciting! Thanks for any advice

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 03:58:59 pm »
You'll find loads of good advice on here. I have a 6x4 Solway plastic arc which is good enough for a couple of weaners over summer but a bit sparce in a strong wind as open sided. I also have a galvanised farrowing arc which is twice that size and much more versatile. They don't cost much more!  I have secured (!!!!) my trough by using 4 wooden posts one on each side, to stop them shoving it and I have an electric wire above the middle so they can get to the water but less inclined to shove it over. Never used the hurdles.

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 04:00:20 pm »
I can't say that I am an expert but we have had 3 sets of weaners.

2 weaners work well in a 6 x 4. Initially I also put a bale of straw in their too so that it lessens the space and encourages them to go to the toilet outside. As they get bigger I remove the straw. Of course they have straw to sleep on too.

For their water we have an automatic drinker which is fed from a big black plastic tank which we fill up by hose about once a week. The connector hoses have some sturdy wood around them to block them off so that they can't be chewed.

For their food I have tried various things from plastic washing up bowls to an old sink and rubber horse trugs.

They will chew just about anything so I have come to the conclusion that its best to wait for them to finish their food and then remove the container. The don't take long to finish and I occupy myself with poo picking while they are eating.

I did try putting great big concrete slabs in and putting the food straight on that but one of my last weaners had an anal prolapse and I think that was down to trying to heft the slabs up. I'm not trying that again.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 05:10:38 pm »
Buy a copy of the Haynes manual on pigs. Its a good start point

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 05:24:18 pm »
Richard Lutwyche's book on Pig Keeping (published by the National Trust) is succinct and practical.  I suggest sinking a few heavy paving slabs into the ground and putting the feed on them.  Bear in mind that, at some point, you'll need to catch them and also to load them.  Metal pig arks are best, in my opinion.  A pig can destroy pretty well anything if it puts its mind to it (thinking here about our young boar that put its front feet on the narrow ledge at the top of the breeze block wall that forms the base of the sty and pulled down the insulating foam on the underside of the 6 foot high roof).

TheSmilingSheep

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 10:31:55 pm »
Hi there,
I do love that we've all had different experiences....   We've kept some weaners for the last four years - and used a plastic ark (by 'arkus').  It's been brilliant, we can collapse it each year after power hosing it down, and put it back up the following spring - clean and ready for another season.  Minimal wear and tear.
We don't have a water supply automatically into the paddock, but do have a tap 100 yards away.  We use buckets to fill up two tubs 2-3 times a day.  We use plastic feeding bowls (horse trugs?) sitting in old tyres.  Really useful since we can easily clean them out (when muddy snouts dirty the water), and none of our pigs have destroyed them.
We keep our pigs in paddocks, with an inner lining of electric tape.  For the first four days we put hurdles around the ark, with an inner lining of electric tape so that the pigs learn to respect the tape and (importantly) learn to run 'inwards' if they touch the tape rather than run out of the area.... After a few days they get to enjoy a much larger paddock area - and the tape within the paddock fencing means our posts and stock fencing remains in tack and in good shape!  We feed our weaners on 'growers pellets' and as much fruit and veg as we can muster from the garden and orchard....
First year we had Large Blacks, then Gloucester Old Spots, then British Saddleback, and GOSs again due this year... Have enjoyed them all!  Have fun!

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 09:06:20 am »
The BPA did an article on new troughs which are made specially for pigs, being anti tipping. We always used a bucket inside an old tractor tire. They could get to the water but never managed to tip it over ;)
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 10:07:25 am »
Get arks with the least wood in their design as pigs will chew wood. Buy the best you can afford and check things like joints. Stand up on sleeps to preserve your tins for longer, If you want to move them how will you do it.


They will wreck a metal trough eventually. Water is heavy to carry. Can you set up water to flow through and collect in an old belfast sink sunk into the ground. They can eat off the floor if you have a dry area. There are some good plastic troughs out there.


I see you have liveries. Horses and pigs don't always mix. You will need to add pigs to your risk assessment and think carefully about where the pigs will be. Will horses have to go passed them. Might they get into the same field.

cambee

  • Joined Feb 2017
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 10:21:08 am »
Thank you all so much for a wealth of really good advice. It looks like for water I need to find old tyres from somewhere and have buckets that I can fill from the Bowser. Also that hurdles may be useful for training as although our pig area is securely fenced, it's quite large for 2 pigs so we intend sectioning it off with electric fencing. I am drawn to a plastic arc just because I found the plastic eglu that I had in the days when I only had 3 chickens so much easier to keep clean than the wooden shed that my flock are in now. My concern is that we are on a hill quite exposed to strong winds and I worry that the plastic ones might be blown over. Has anyone found that a disadvantage? As for the horses, they are kept in a completely different area from where the pigs will be. They may get a whiff of pig as they come down the farm lane but that's it and that can happen anywhere on a hack. By the way, if any of you are in the Peak District/ Cheshire area and think you will have some weaners available around April/May time, please let me know what is available.

Pigsmightfry

  • Joined Jan 2015
  • Carlisle
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 10:34:35 am »
I keep my boar and sows in an enclosure that is surrounded by horses, the horses have got used with the pigs and mostly ignore them, the pigs ignore the horses, on the odd occasion a sow has got out and I've seen it wandering along behind the horses as they mooch about, a rattle of a cake bucket and it comes back to me. Horses get used with pigs once they find they are no threat.

I made my arc from an old ring feeder that comes in two parts. I laid the two halves together and put bolts in to prevent them seperating, then sheeted over the middle with old roofing metal and riveted it in place, then put a couple of sheets over one end. It cost £75 in total and is robust enough that Hector the boar cannot knock it apart. It has no floor and the pigs have made a hollow to lay in that I fill with straw. The odd rivet pops out but only takes seconds to repair.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 11:29:24 am »
Horses get used with pigs once they find they are no threat.


I keep horses and pigs and I have had no problems. However, I know horses near pigs who have never got used to them.


It wouldn't stop me keeping pigs but as a livery yard you have a duty of care to your livery clients and you should assess risk and be insured.

TheSmilingSheep

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 11:29:56 am »
I'm envious of those creative and energetic folk who make their own arks etc.!  So, if you can make your own I'd definitely go for it as way the most cost effective route.
You asked about plastic ones blowing away.... our 'arkus' one has been robust.  We bought it with a floor - which I'd think is essential since it keeps the pigs dry and out of the mud (when they wish), and it adds some overall strength to the structure.  Only once in four years have we seen it blown over (but not blown away!).... so will malletted in a post at the front and the back and never had a subsequent problem....

for water, we thought of a belfast sink but they are really heavy, and so quite hard to properly clean out - with a trug you can just quickly swill out the mud, and give it a good clean every week...

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 10:25:52 pm »
Ark building is the way forward. Materials come out at about £195 including a rear door.

Carrying enough water for pigs will get old really fast.
If you have a bowser can you park it close enough to run automatic drinkers?

We too have pigs and horses without issue but have ridden with horses that won't pass pigs and have seen unlicky riders on our lane have to turn back when encountering ours near the road.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2017, 08:45:00 am »
for water, we thought of a belfast sink but they are really heavy, and so quite hard to properly clean out
W bought a Belfast sink at auction, to use when the drinker system freezes.  It was so heavy it took two of us to carry it when empty.  The first time we put it in and filled it with water it had been smashed to pieces within the hour. 

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Preparing for pigs
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2017, 09:41:42 am »
for water, we thought of a belfast sink but they are really heavy, and so quite hard to properly clean out
W bought a Belfast sink at auction, to use when the drinker system freezes.  It was so heavy it took two of us to carry it when empty.  The first time we put it in and filled it with water it had been smashed to pieces within the hour.


We had one for years. Your GOS's must be thugs MF  :roflanim:

 

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