Sow Shelter

Up goes another hoop building!  AJ did all the surveying work for me, laying out the posts and squaring the corners.  It was a good project for him and provided his introduction to the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications.  The layout got away from him a little, but these buildings are flexible so I didn’t follow up and correct things.  Besides, the pigs aren’t picky; they won’t mind.

This building is for the sows to use during the winter.  This fall has been extraordinarily mild, so there hasn’t been a pressing need to get it done.  But winter will come, and when it does, we’ll be glad for this.

Hoop Going Up

The Chevy truck served as an aerial work platform.  We built a plywood deck over the back of the truck so we could reach the upper rafters.  This turned out to be a great time saver, allowing us to assemble the frame much more quickly than if we were using ladders.

Sows can do just fine overwintering outdoors with portable sheds for shelter, but our steep and heavy clay soils just can’t hold up to their pointy toes and rooting snouts in December, late March, and April when the ground alternates between frozen and mud.  If we had well drained soil and if we were on flat land I wouldn’t bother.  But I don’t like the compaction and erosion we get from the winter pigs, so I think a bedded hoop building is better for our land and at least as good for the pigs.

6 Comments on “Sow Shelter

  1. Whoa. That looks big. 14 ft tall? What diameter and gauge pipe did you use for the hoops? On what spacing?

    • It is 26W x 13H x 58L. We cut down the length by 2 ft to make it work with the cover we bought on eBay. The pipe is 1-5/8″ diameter, five eight footers make up each rafter. Rafters are on 4 foot centers. Here’s a link to the FarmTek model we used. I haven’t given up on the idea of smaller frames, but in this case I think we needed something wider to have room for farrowing huts and circulation space between them.

  2. Ha! I just saw that Dave wrote this, not Rachel. Either way, good parenting 🙂

    • Thanks Katie. The tone of the blog can be more self-congratulatory than real life warrants. I’ll admit that it is hard to just let the kids work without griping at their inexpert handling of situations. Told from their perspective I suspect the story might be altered, featuring a pushy dad, rushed instructions, and a steady, cold drizzle. But if both the olduns and the younguns can learn how to work together then we’re accomplishing something, even if the path isn’t as smooth as it could be.

  3. I love reading about what’s going on at the farm, especially at the change of seasons. Thanks for posting these. Your kids are so blessed to have this experience and that you let them be a real part of the work. And you’re a wise mama, building up your young man by allowing his work to stand as he did it.

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