Thursday, December 09, 2010
Winter Pig Area ...
Technically it is not winter until December, 21st. Which means I still have plenty of time to get my "winter" pig area done! The only problem of course is that technical winter and the realities of winter don't always meet up on the same day. The forecast that has lows at -2ºF this coming week means that winter is probably already here no matter what the calendar says. But, I'm sticking with the 21st and hoping to have everything squared away by then ... at least that is the plan for now.
There is good news though. The good news is that I think I finally have a plan for my winter pig area. In fact it is a plan for now and a plan for growth in the future. One thing that I have learned over the past two winters on the farm with pigs is that they aren't particularly interested in roaming around a lot in the winter. Basically they like to huddle up somewhere warm, eat, and drink. With that knowledge in hand I realized that the winter area did not need to be an extravagantly large area, but rather a nice place for them to stay warm and dry.
So, what I've come up with is a location on the north side of my shed. I have moved in my 8'x16' portable hut for the grower pigs and I'm starting to get the fence up on the outside (subscribe to my Twitter account if you want a glimpse into my farming life). I chose this location because it is a high point and will stay drain well in the freeze and thaw of a southern Iowa winter and because it fits in with a larger idea that I had today.
There is a part of me that would like to experiment with a yearly paddock rotation with some of the breeding stock instead of having them in the woods. Basically I'd like to include a crop rotation into the paddock rotation. It's something to try at least, and with that in mind I decided that this was a good area to build some smaller winter pig lots where I can eventually put an automatic waterer. I'll have two separate winter pens with the water in the fence line. Then in the summer I can open a gate to the larger pasture area and the pigs will have access to those same waterers I use in the winter.
That's my idea at least ... right now I'm just focusing on putting in fence posts and making a secure area for the pigs. Remember ... I only need to have it done by December, 21st in order to beat winter ;)