Building Pig Shelters on a Budget

In this album is a range of affordable pig shelters we’ve used over the past four years. As we started our farm from scratch on a strict budget, affordability has been key. One day we’d love to have some of those beautiful pre-made pig arcs, but for now, we’ve made due with a variety of different types of housing. These are all doable with minimal building skills. Most were assembled with an impact driver, sawz-all, and wood screws.

For reference, we’re in zone 7b, which is a subtropical climate. Weatherspark is a great site to compare climates of two different areas. Our typical climate for Wahalla, SC:  “In Walhalla, the summers are hot and muggy, the winters are cold, and it is wet and partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 35°F to 90°F and is rarely below 23°F or above 96°F.”

The most important aspects with pig shelters are to keep the pig warm and dry, free from drafts, and to have sufficient ventilation. Most of our shelters are three sided, being open on one side, out of the dominant wind direction. Pigs need ventilation because when moisture builds up in a shelter (simply from a group of pigs sleeping in it), dampness pervades, and pigs breathing that in can develop pneumonia. On very cold mornings, when our pigs leave their shelters, steam rises off their bodies as they emerge from the deep bed of hay and/or straw, that we provide.

Some of our shelters have had raised platform floors, to keep pigs out of water from heavy rainfall. Other times we raise floors with gravel, and then add stall mats over that. We always try to put shelters in an area where water doesn’t run or settle.

I’m sure that many of these shelter ideas could work for colder climates, with some adjustments.