Swine producers must take into consideration the design of their pig farms before they begin the construction. This design serves as the foundation of the growth and development of the pigs. In other words, an efficient pig farm encourages swine quality and performance. Although a well-maintained pig farm is not the sole factor behind pigs’ health, poorly built housing can promote disease contraction and even more problems.
Why is Pig Farm Designing Important?
The quality of the pig farm design directly affects the health of the pigs along with their profitability. Although this is not the only determinant to swine production quality, this can lower mortality rates, promote growth, and increase feeding efficiency. Moreover, pig raisers can save money when there are fewer problems with the swine’s health conditions.
There are no shortcuts on the road to success in pig farming but constructing a good one is a great start. Selecting a housing that maintains the pigs’ health and well-being can enhance the quality of swine production. In designing a pig farm, one must consider the feeding method, pig slaughtering weight, pig manure handling, and the swine production plan. That said, here are the 10 factors you need to consider in the design of pig housing:
The location of the pig farm is vital to ensure that the pigs are in an ideal location. It is imperative that the pig farm is located somewhere conveniently for nearby urban and residential areas and has sufficient power and water supply. Other functional areas worth considering include a back-up pig house, boar house, breeder house, sow gestation house, sow farrowing house, piglet house, and fattening pig house.
Here are some of the factors that you need to consider when deciding the location of the pig farm:
- The pig farm must be located in an elevated place to prevent flooding during heavy rains and typhoons.
- The pig farm must have sufficient shade from the sun and ample fresh air. It will be ideal if several trees surround the area.
- Large-scale pig farms must be accessible to roads and rural areas throughout the year.
- The location must suit a large-scale manure treatment system that connects to stable water and power supplies.
Farmers should also give the climate in which the pigs will live utmost consideration. It is important to note that pigs can be vulnerable to sickness during ambient temperature. They cannot thrive in areas that are often affected by strong typhoons and drought. Extreme exposure to sunlight can damage and dry their skin out.
The optimum temperature must be maintained when placing pigs inside a shelter. When their body temperature increases, they tend to become disinterested in food and eat less. This lack of an appetite can deplete their growth and affect their reproductive performance. Pigs have no sweat glands, so they don’t have a way to cool down when the weather is unbearable.
To give you an idea, here are the temperatures where pigs can thrive in:
- 1-day old piglets: 35°C
- 1 day-1week old piglets: 30°C
- 1-6 weeks old piglets: 24-30°C
- Pigs from 20-60kg: 20-26°C
- Pigs from 60-90 kg: 18-22°C
- Adult Pigs: 18-22°C
3. Proper Insulation
As previously mentioned, pigs cannot thrive in extreme temperatures. Their shelter must keep them protected against the bright sun and heavy rain. Proper insulation should start with their roofing. The design should have the longest slope facing the prevailing elements to prevent rainfall and sunlight from penetrating the house.
You can also implement drop ceilings to minimize the heat transfer when the sunlight is harsh and loss of heat in the cold. Installing a pig farm ventilation fan is also a great way to keep their air quality clean and safe. Maintaining proper insulation is critical to ensure that the shelter maintains an optimum temperature, regardless of the climate outside. Therefore, it is imperative to utilize good insulation materials in construction to prevent cold and heat.
4. Gardening Around the Pig Farm
Gardening around the pig farm can bring benefits to both the crops and the pigs. The term for raising pigs on a farm while maintaining the crops is called agropastoral system. Rearing livestock and harvesting crops can increase the profitability of a farm. Once the crops get harvested, you can have the pigs roam around the land to clear up the crops. You can also use them to eliminate the weeds, loosen the soil, and fertilize the land.
These various uses indicate that you can take advantage of the pig farm all year round. Pigs must be well-confined before the crops get harvested. Maintain close monitoring with your livestock to ensure they stay where you need them to be. Most people rearing pigs place them in a sturdy portable pen for convenient transfer and maneuvering. With careful management, an agropastoral system can help you withstand market fluctuations. You can tend for more than one market compensating for the shortcomings of the other sector.
5. Separate Pig Farm Columns for Pigs in Different Periods
Farmers must separate the pig farm columns for each phase of the production cycle. The number and size of the segments are dependent on the number of pigs you are going to rear in each production phase. Pig raisers tend to confine the pigs to control the growth and development of the pigs. It is especially important when you are trying to prevent the spread of a disease throughout the farm.
Confinement of the pigs prevents disease introduction in the first place. Placing the pigs in separate columns makes it easier to monitor their health condition and feeding habits. With that in mind, this could require more work to monitor and care for the pigs within the columns.
6. Climate Control System
Maintaining a comprehensive climate control system is vital in pig farming. In extreme temperatures, pigs can feel discomfort affecting their appetite, growth, and reproduction capacity. Maintaining proper ventilation is the key to keep the shelter between 18 and 22 degrees for mature pigs and higher for piglets.
Pig farm ventilation can be either mechanical or natural to produce sufficient cooling in the summer and heat in the winter.
- Natural ventilation System: Makes use of doors and panels to promote air circulation throughout the shelter.
- Mechanical Ventilation System: Eliminates toxic odors, damp, noxious dirt, and other harmful organisms that block proper ventilation around the shelter. This need calls for a pig farm exhaust fan.
7. Multi-Spot Breading to Lower Risk of Disease Spreading
Maintaining pigs in close herds stabilizes immunity. In other words, this can be beneficial to prevent disease introduction and spread throughout the production chain. A new pig brought to the farm contains the risk of spreading a disease or infecting the herd with a looming infection. Therefore, multi-spot breeding is the safest option to eliminate the disease’s risk while also improving the group’s genetics.
8. Automatic Feeding System of Wet and Dry Feed and Automatic Water Drinking System
When it comes to the pigs’ automatic feeding system, it is integral to contain both wet and dry feed. The dry feeding system must be composed of the silo, feed transportation system, and feeder. It must have a closed design for better management and eliminate the risk of cross-infection.
When it comes to the automatic water drinking system, most pig farms utilize duck-billed and bowl-style drinkers. Regardless of the drinking system structure, it must get placed where pigs can easily spot them.
9. Sufficient Space for Pigs
The key to successfully rearing pigs is making sure to allocate sufficient space for them. In general, pigs require as little space as possible. Unlike other farm animals, pigs barely run around and become active. They spend most of their time sleeping, eating, and rooting. Raising them on a farm gives them the freedom to roam around and breathe fresh air.
If you plan on keeping them out and about, be prepared to go after their destructive behaviors. Make sure to look after the damage they make on the landscape and dedicate areas to relax. Placing them in shelters can make it easier to monitor their health condition and eating habits. This opportunity also allows you to regulate their ventilation and manage their manure. Either way, it is recommended to allocate at least 8 square feet of space for every pig you raise.
10. Manure Treatment System
Last but not least, it is integral to establish a manure treatment system for the pigs. Take time to design and build a comprehensive plan that prevents manure from overflowing and have them discharged throughout the farm to promote vegetative growth. The manure system can be stored and maintained in a lagoon, land structure, tank, and even a deep pit.
Here are some recommended manure treatment systems:
- Pasture System: Manure is evenly distributed in pastures using a tractor and a manure spreader.
- Drylot System: Pigs are confined and fed within a drylot pen where manure accumulates over the winter.
- Enclosed System:Pigs remain in an enclosed shelter with partly slotted or completely slotted floors to handle feeding, watering, and manure collection.
- Liquid Manure Handling System: Manure goes through concrete pits under slats or in an outdoor tank or earthen pit. It can also flow through a lagoon for further treatment. However, the nitrogen fertilizer tends to get eliminated during the treatment.