Has Anyone Ever Raised Pigs on Raised Platforms?

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We saw an article about raising a pair of pigs on a raised platform (kind of like a deck). The boards are spaced so that the pigs feet do not get caught in the decking but it is wide enough that the pig doo-doo just falls through and you can just go out and hose the whole thing off. You can then just rake it out and transport it to the compost bin. They claim very little odor with this method and healthier pigs. You can also just disenfect the deck after the piggies are gone to the freezer and you don't have to worry about rotating to another site the following years. Big investment the first year, but will last for many many years.

We are considering using this method but modifing it to allow for a ramp going down into a whallow so they can cool off during the hot summer months.

Has anyone had any experience with this type of confinement? Also, can you tell me how many square feet each pig needs? Thanks a million!

-- Karen (mountains_mama2@hotmail.com), April 16, 2002


Karen, sounds like you are on to an uncomplicated way to raise hogs. Here is some info I picked up along the way that may help you make your decisions. You need 5 to 6 sq. feet for each pig you raise with 1/3 of that under roof minimum. If you use wood slats for the floor use oak or a hard wood and as thick as you can get. Pigs get bored easy and will chew on the flooring. The ramp down to a wallow is not a good idea for two reasons. 1, they will carry an unbelievable amount of mud up to your floor plugging the cracks for manure to drop through. 2, When it is hot they will not leave the mudhole for water or feed. It's better to plan to raise them starting Sept. 1 through Jan. 1 or from March 1 to the end of May to avoid the really hot and really cold months. Neither is good for pigs to gain weight. You can overcome a hot snap with a garden sprinkler on a timer or a cold one with some bedding and maybe a tarp to stop the wind. Hope I didn't scare you out because it is the easiest way to raise pigs and in the long run the cheapest investment. Good Luck

-- Dave (drcomer@rr1.net), April 16, 2002.

There was a really strange place I visited once to help someone pick out some goats NOT!!! Anyway he raised his hogs in apartments, literally hog pens stacked on top of each other made with wood. The top pigs were fed whole corn the second level got what spilt and ate through the waste the bottom level was slopped liquids. Though it stunk to high heaven incredibly they were very good looking hogs! Yeah I know it didn't really answer your question! If you do raise them on platforms think about drainage of the pee, manure and any hosing off of the platform you are going to do. That was the biggest problem at this guys place, out on the praire in Takington Texas it is flat, so when it rained the pigs and their raised pens were clean but the manure and pee and feed were just floating everywhere, a stinking, fly mess! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), April 16, 2002.

Works well. I'd be concerned about the wallow mud too, but no experience - not sure you can have it both ways...

This is basically the setup in any hog confinement system. They use concrete slats instead of wood - wood will be a bit harder todis-infect. It's possible to buy pre-cast concrete for your floor. Also there are coated plastic iron mesh floors for smaller pigs, but that is hard on their feet when they get heavier.


-- paul (ramblerplm@hotmail.com), April 17, 2002.

Gene Logsdon describes a system such as this that he uses for raising his own personal pork supply. Two thirds of it is open and slatted and the back third is covered with a straw floor. He discusses it in his book The Contrary Farmer. I'm considering using this system myself if I don't go with pasturing.


-- Alan (athagan@atlantic.net), April 17, 2002.

Hi Karen..yep it works. I worked for two different big operations that used this method. They were housed in a small shed with cement floor. Also had a small pit to catch the manure. This had wire pens. The smallest pigs go on top, medium size under them and the biggest pigs go on the bottom. The bottom tier always looked like crap (LOL) but boy were they huge nice pigs. Both of these outfits had a water nipple and feed area for each separate pen. I prefer outside..but there was less death in these two places..but more shots probably. Good luck!

-- Sher (riverdobbers@webtv.net), April 17, 2002.

Works fine but it will smell. Whatever you do don't use green (arsenic) treated wood.

-- John in Mn. (nospam@mywork.com), April 17, 2002.

We've always raised our pigs on platforms that can be hosed. (Not to be confused with the pig-stacking method of um, reusing the feed) At the same time our neighbor raised his pig in a pen, his you could smell down the road, ours did not smell even up close. Sure you could smell fresh poop but that is nothing offensive like old poop mixed into mud layer upon layer. Other people will tell you that it's more natural to have the pig on the ground. I agree if the pig has at least several acres to roam and crap on, just not that practical.

-- Diana in FL (dvance4@juno.com), April 17, 2002.

when I was a kid my dad did this with an old truck bed he put it on a slight inclne covered the upper end to keep them out of the weather hosed it out every day or so and hauled off the manuer in the wheel barrow. I really never knew pigs smelled until i got around other operations. he only raised a couple a year for the family. ronda

-- ronda (thejohnsons@locacaccless.com), April 17, 2002.

I said it once, I'll say it again...PIGS NEED SOIL. It is part of theie natural diet.

-- julie (jbritt@ceva.net), April 17, 2002.

A friend of mine had a great set up. He went to the local mill and got oak 2x8's and 1x6's (full, rough sawn). He built the platform on a slight incline with the boards running the long ways up and down the incline. He built the walls out of the 16' livestock panels you can get at the ag stores. He would have the mill delivery a huge truck load of sawdust and he kept a 2-4 inch layer on top of the floors (he built a metal roof over the pen but the sides were open). He kept the automatic waterers at the low end. Every day or so (depending on how many pigs in the pen and what size) he would shovel the dirty sawdust down to the low end, open a flap in the fence and shovel it out the back. After a week or two it would build up enough he could take his front end loader and scoop it up and put it on the compost pile. His hogs quickly picked one of the lower corners to dirty in and the rest of the pen stayed amazingly clean. His garden was 2 acres and produced an amazing amount of veggies every year. He kept about a hundred hogs in 15 pens and it took about an hour or so a day to take care of them. And they never smelled badly. The pens were about 15 feet wide and about 24 feet deep. If he needed another pen he would just add on the end. He built a "runway" across the front and put notches to hold the temporary gates so he could easily move hogs from one pen to another. At the one end he built a "dock" to fit the sliding door to his livestock trailer. The hogs would run out the pens, down the runway and be in the trailer before they knew what was going on. In the winter (Maryland), he would tack up visqeen across the front in front of the runway and down the sides. If it was really cold he would make a plywood corner of each pen and put straw in it. It was harder to clean out then the sawdust but he never lost a hog.

-- Robin (darkdakota@aol.com), April 17, 2002.

Old wives tale: Third hog gets the fattest. Actually raise 'em as close as they'd be to nature and you can't go wrong. Otherwise you're just making it more convinent for you. Clean and smelling good is our interpretation. Hogs love mud, but alternate the wallows if you don't have a climate that they can stay cool in. If you insist on rasing a whole bunch of 'em . Put them on concrete, misters in hot weather, and they don't need to be "dirty" and offend our senses.

-- Dennis Enyart (cowboy405@yahoo.com), April 18, 2002.

Pigs definitely need dirt...both for physical and psychological well-being. We've come up with a compromise that works very well with our pigs (two to three per year). Their doorway out of their shelter has a ramp going down to a 14x14 ft. raised platform made out of 2" untreated hackmatack. We feed ALL food on this platform and their steel feeder is bolted to the platform so they cannot move it around. They still have access to the dirt in the remaining portion of the pen...about a 24x30 ft. area. They never use the platform for the "potty", preferring instead to use a corner of the dirt area. Only on the hottest most humid days do we occasionally smell odors from the pig pen!

-- Marcia (HrMr@webtv.net), April 18, 2002.

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