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Mobile Shelter Solutions for the American Guinea Hog

Since we began raising American Guinea Hogs, we’ve had a number of shelter solutions. We move our animals frequently, so any shelter has to be mobile. They also need to be large enough for a pair of breeding hogs, a sow and litter, or a litter of hogs to get up to around 6 months in.

We began with 2 pigs that were around 8 and 12 weeks, so we started with a dogloo for large dogs. That worked really well for 3-4 months.

We next used a pallet house that was made with 4 pallets screwed together with some leftover plastic corrugated roofing on top. There might not be anything more convenient to build than a pallet house.

That pallet house worked, but it was very open on one side, and was extremely heavy — the roofing supports were 2x4s — not good. I built another one in a similar fashion, but cut down the pallets to 3′ high in the front and 2.5′ high in the back, and then installed galvanized roofing on 2×2 frames.

That worked very well, and was easy to move. It was much lighter. In order to make moving the pallet house easier, I put a 2×4 on each side of the bottom, the long way, to act as runners, and to hold the pallets together. I then put large eye-bolts in each end of each 2×4, to allow me to connect a rope with carabiners attached to each eye-bolt and allow me to drag it around.

The problem with that shelter is that we just got into some weather that was down in the teens, and I didn’t want the hogs to get too cold, so it was time to build the next iteration of the shelter.

This shelter was framed out of 2x4s, with an open bottom, and cedar fence boards for siding. The door is 2’x2′, with the shelter being roughly 6’x4′. The roof is 3′ high, and there is a covered porch to keep the weather out of the doorway. This one also has a front handle and pegs sticking out the back just under the roof to allow it to be flipped up to clean out. I also placed a sheet of 2″ foam board insulation just below the gap between the siding and the roof to make it even warmer.

The shelters open bottom allows a great amount of hay or straw (or other bedding) to be placed inside the shelter. When it gets a bit full, I just rock the shelter around a little bit to get the sides to crawl up on top of the bedding, and it helps keep the hogs up off the ground better.

I’m not moving them much with snow on the ground, so I will likely also install runners on the bottom and pull this around when better weather returns.

What do you use?

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Piglet Creep Feeder

Our American Guinea Hogs are 4 weeks old this week. They are trying to eat more solid food with some success. Much of their efforts are hampered by the sow and boar in the same pen. It’s much easier to have them all in the same pen, but it creates too much competition for solid food for them to thrive. The solution is to create a creep feeder.

I took a 36″ by 16′ hog panel and cut it into three sections. I wanted a triangle so that the larger hogs could not push it and make a piglet sandwich. It ended up working well, although the hogs still push it a little bit and I have to hold it in place.

After the first feeding, I cut an additional vertical bar out from one section on each side so that they didn’t have to crawl in and out. I don’t have pictures of that yet.

The creep feeder works well at keeping the hogs out.

I place the food dish, filled with milk or water and an all stock type feed that I buy from Xcel Feeds in western Washington called “Premium Blend”.

construction farming greenhouse

Greenhouse Construction

Over the past few weekends we have been working on construction of a 12’x30′ greenhouse that we bought from Steve’s Greenhouses in Castle Rock a few years ago. With everything happening in the world, we figured it was past time to get it setup and use it.

Here are a few photographs that illustrate the construction.

The next step will be to build some raised bed type planter boxes along the side walls and fill them with some high quality soil that we’ve been composting from horse manure, wood chips, hay, and cow manure.

chicken tractor chickens construction farming meat birds poultry

Pastured Poultry

We just finished building a “Joel Salatin” style chicken tractor to tractor our meat birds around the pasture. We’ve built and tried a lot of different chicken tractors, but this one is sanctioned by the master of pastured poultry profits, so it should be great!

I tried to match the original design fairly exactly. I did use 2×4 lumber for the base with some re-enforcements to ensure it will be solid.

We’ll start using this on Wednesday with a batch of meat birds.