Types of Hog Pens: Pig Pens From Farrowing to Finishing

Updated on February 17, 2017
Source

Hog pens are, obviously, an essential part of pig keeping and small-scale pig farming. But, if you’re new to keeping pigs, you may not realize just how many different types of pig pens there are. Depending on the scale and type of your pig raising operation, you may need only one or several types of pens. Bear in mind that some areas have additional regulations regarding sanitation and other health-related issues for pigs that are being raised for meat or breeding stock. This article will cover the most common types of hog pens, starting with the beginning of a pig’s life and moving forward throughout the different needs at each point in the pig life cycle.

Farrowing Pen

If you’re raising pigs from birth, your top priority will be the farrowing pen. When building a farrowing pen, it is absolutely critical to keep factors in mind such as the weather, time(s) of year that you will be breeding and farrowing pigs, and the number of breeding sows you intend to keep. While the farrowing pen is one of the smallest types of pig pens since it is made to accommodate only one adult pig per litter, it can be the most difficult to build correctly. This is where a pregnant sow will live from shortly before delivering her litter up until her piglets are weaned.

While many hog pens can be left with a natural dirt floor, a farrowing pen has to have excellent insulation and plenty of shelter, and it must be off the ground. While some smaller-scale pig breeding operations use sheds on skids with a wood floor for farrowing, this requires vigorous cleaning and disinfecting in-between litters, and there is still a much higher risk of disease than with other floor types – this is better than a plain dirt floor, but that’s about it.

Preferably, your farrowing pen will be fully enclosed, have a concrete floor, and come equipped with a drain for easy cleaning in between litters. If you’ve created a farrowing shed fit for more than one sow at a time and they will be dropping their litters at slightly different times, then you may want to build in concrete barriers several inches high around each individual pen in addition to wood slats or metal panels. This barrier will not to anything to keep pigs separated, but they will prevent water from seeping into an occupied pen during cleaning. Excess water can provide excellent breeding grounds for bacteria and poses a risk to newborn piglets.

Grow-Out Pen

Weaned pigs are ready to move from the farrowing pen to their own pen where they will put on weight and live for the next couple of months of their lives. While it is possible to combine the grow-out pen and finishing pen into one, if you’re consistently breeding pigs then this could waste a lot of space. In addition, when selectively breeding pigs for a specific trait, many weaned pigs will be culled out of the bunch before they’re old enough to move on to the finishing pens.

Because the grow-out pen still deals with fairly young pigs, it still must be very sheltered and protected from disease. In colder areas or more unpredictable seasons, it is highly recommended to have some kind of heat source inside the shed associated with the grow-out pen. These piglets no longer have their mother to rely on for heat and for direction when it’s time to seek shelter, so the pen must be constructed in a way that will provide for them while they still have a very low body mass and are susceptible to all manner of outside influences.

Young pigs with plenty of space and fresh air will require less vet care, have less fat, and be an overall superior quality.
Young pigs with plenty of space and fresh air will require less vet care, have less fat, and be an overall superior quality. | Source

Finishing Pen

For the third stage in the life cycle of a pig, the finishing pen is probably going to be the largest in your entire pig-keeping operation. This is where your pigs will be kept from the time they’re about 50-80 pounds until about 200-300 pounds. As they grow, these pigs will need a lot of space, increasing levels of food, a clean environment, sufficient shelter for all the animals in the pen, and ways to easily cool off in warmer weather. While many finishing pens will have natural dirt floors, the size and quantity of hogs that it will hold requires extra care in stability and durability of the pen. This is the hog pen designed for the most active part of a pig’s life, so it really has to be built to last.

Large-scale operations can spread disease and leave animals open for injury. One of the primary advantages in small-scale is that you don't have this problem.
Large-scale operations can spread disease and leave animals open for injury. One of the primary advantages in small-scale is that you don't have this problem. | Source

Breeding Pen

In a pig-breeding operation, you may choose to have a separate pen in which to breed your pigs, especially if you opt not to practice artificial insemination. These pens will generally be relatively small, built to hold a breeding pair, trio, or small group. Boars will only be left in the pen until the sows can be confirmed pregnant, and then the sows will likely stay in this pen until they’re ready to move to the farrowing pen.

Holding Pen

Pigs that are being raised for meat are occasionally held in an area near a personal smokehouse, or somewhere easily accessible to buyers or wholesale transport trucks for a short period of time before going to their final destination. A holding pen has to be large enough to be comfortable for butchering-sized pigs, but does not necessarily have to have a ton of space or elements that make it easier to clean.

While the holding pen does have to be sturdy, the pigs will probably not be here long enough to root under fences, chew on welded wire panels, or otherwise cause much damage to this pen. As a result, this is a relatively easy pen to build, and it can even be a temporary or easily-portable pen. Bear in mind how the pigs are going to be moved from this pen, and consider building loading chutes or chutes that lead directly to a smokehouse or processing facility.

Considerations for Building a Pig Pen

Overall, it’s important to always keep in mind the number of pigs you’re going to have, the maximum size they will reach while living in the pen in question, and the function that the pen will perform. Pigs are extremely powerful, though often docile creatures that will test the durability of any pen. In addition, they do get bored easily and will likely chew on anything wood or plastic, and have been known to chew metal as well.

Remember that various pig breeds can change dramatically in size, so always do research on the specific type of hogs you intend to raise. Bear in mind that a healthy environment will require more room and resources than large-scale farming, but you'll end up with healthier animals and a better meat quality by taking these minor extra steps.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      hammad clacio 

      5 months ago

      please give an estimated amount for building pig cages ..

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 

      3 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like your hub. Having a farm full of pigs can be a lot of fun. It looks a lot of work to keep them. They are delicious in bacon. If you used your imagination. They can give you a lot of money in return. Thank you for writing about these precious animals.

    • profile image

      maricris tiosan 

      6 years ago

      thanks,now i know,it helps me to have an assignment in epp

    • wychic profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Mikulin 

      7 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Thanks :D. I've been raising pigs for most of my life, and it took a little while to realize that not EVERYONE knows how to raise all sorts of different farm animals, or the ins and outs of keeping and riding horses, etc. Silly little country girl I may be, but I do know critters :).

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      This sure brings back memories!

      Great Hub. Well written and knowledgeable.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)