Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to build a hog hut and other random things

The question came up about my hog huts. The improved design (I use that term loosely) has turned out to work quite well. I'm still groveling for my uncle to build more wood huts, but the tarp ones work really well until he has time or can be suitably bribed. If uncle Kenny wasn't around here hassling me to get stuff done (and doing the lions share of the work on most of "our" projects) I'd be farrowing pigs huts made from twigs with burn barrels for heat. Thank God for Kenny. about them huts? There wicked simple. For a hut (big enough for 2-3 pigs to use, one to farrow in) you'll need the following items...
#1 -- 3 16'x50" (48" or 50" I don't recall, either works) cattle panels (not Hog panels). You only need two if you have a 6' chunk of scrap panel laying about, and we always do.
#2 -- Tarpaulin (thanks Bear Grylls) that is at least 18' in one direction, and over 100" (8' or 96" will do). One tip is to buy one large tarp that can be cut to make two the proper size, or one the proper side and a back...see below.

#3 -- Tarp that is large enough for the back of the hut...depending on how you build the hut, the width will vary, but the height will generally be between 6' and 7'

#4 -- Seven 5' T posts, and a tool to pound them in. No, a hammer will not do. Cheapest solution it as "post pounder" and some ear plugs/safety glasses. Yeas I do actually use both :)

#5 -- Some means of cutting the fence when needed. A "saws all" with a metal blade works, but I use a cutoff tool (really use those safety glasses...molten metal in your eye will really take the fun out of this project...) that is something like this one..

#6 -- All weather zip tie (black ones), get'll need more someday anyway. These are used to connect the two fence sections and anchor tarps ad the bottom and rear of the hut. You'll need to anchor the tarp in front as well.

#7 -- Something to form a 3-4' hard back to the hut. This can be a pallet. Another option is to build the hut up against the fence line and use 36" chicken wire. The goal is to prevent the babies from pushing out the rear of the hut (and moving the tarp/opening it to drafts) and other curious pigs from nosing their way in...same result.
Basicall the construction process is this...

1. Wire two fence panles together the long way with zip ties.
2. Sink one T-post
3. With help, manuver the two panels so that one of the short sides is centered on the t-post.
4. Drive a t-post at the opposite ends (short side, your first t-post is in the middle) of the two panels.
5. Bow the panels by walking one short end towards the other. Set three t-posts to hold this side. Make sure you have a faily semmetrical dome. To tall is a pain to tarp, to falt will collapse if you get 12" or more snow on it.
6. Cut short panel and attach it inside the hut leaving roughly 3/4's of the hut on one side of the "creep" wall and 1/4 on the other.
7. Put the back on the 1/4 side, leaving the big side for momma and the little side for the little ones.
8. Tarp that bad boy.

As you may have gathered this is as much an artistic venture as architectural. Here are some pictures of our hoop huts, the wood huts (with silver tarp roofs...rooves?...roofses?) and a small wood hut that lives in a Boar pen.

Also included are random baby pig pictures...'cause who doesn't think they're cute???


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