Monday, September 26, 2011

Farrowing Shelter

check out our first farrowing shelter, complete with inhabitant
As you can see, this shelter has a pretty simple design--the two corral panels anchor around the oak there to form a “V”, and a heavy-duty tarp (white to reflect the summer heat!) drapes overhead at such an angle so as to drain rainwater and prevent pooling.  Fun-fact: the tarp is actually a reclaimed billboard sign.  (Many modern billboards consist of a single tarp-like sheet with the sign’s ad material printed on it...who knew?) Anyways...the shelter also has great ventilation, and was easy to construct--Rancher Oliver and Lauren put it up in a jiffy (any farm work that involves preparing for piglets is a giddy type of work!)

As is outlined in our farrowing post, we were impressed with the work that Charlotte, herself, did on the shelter.  Two days before she gave birth, not only did she push a berm of straw (a couple bales' worth) against the open side of the shelter, but she added various branches from the pasture, buffing it up and making it her own.

soon-to-be-Mama beginning work on her nest
We’ve been extremely pleased with the simplicity and sturdiness of this shelter design. What a great feeling, to have rain showers come and go, all with the peace of mind that our Mama pig and her piglets are safe and comfortable in their pad.  And of course, we’re doubly happy that the shelter has contributed to our 100% piglet survival rate with this first farrowing (not all that common).