Pigs need mud psychologically and physiologically. My natural pig farming system provides a mud 'bath' in one corner or side of the pen. Kept wet with water this provides a splendid cooling wet water bath. Left dry, the natural coolness of the soil provides the cool that a pig seeks. A pig doesn?t want to lie in wet mud all day and night, so our natural pig farming practice is to add water during at certain times of the day when the weather is hottest, and then let it dry naturally. We apply the water with a watering can (we're very low tech) which enables the pigs to get a cool shower as we pour.
The larger the mud bath area the better as pigs will spend most of the time in the mud bath. In hindsight I would increase the size of the ones we built in our pens so bear this in mind when you see the mud bath visuals scattered around this site.
To make a good self contained mud wallow you do need to:
- dig down about 50 cm and build a block brick enclosure 2 block bricks in depth.
- You can then re-add the soil you have dug out. This soil needs to be topped up on a regular basis to keep fresh.
- Adding red soil is a good idea as this will help keep the pigs healthy.
- Add the IMO fermented solution in 10 liters of water regularly to ensure plenty of healthy indigenous micro-organism activity to keep the mud in healthy condition.
Add drinking water nipples above the mud wallow. When the pigs drink they will spill water on the mud keeping areas of it wet. They soon learn to use the nipples as a means of watering the mud when they want it to be wetter. You must ensure that there are also drinking water nipples elsewhere in the pen to ensure the pigs in the wallow are not obstructing access to water to any other pigs.
A make-do alternative to a built in wallow is to simply add a pile of soil to one small area of the pen and add water regularly. You will need to top up with fresh soil every now and then. This approach is not as good as a built in mud wallow as the mud will not be so contained and will seep down into the deep bed, but it is certainly a better option than having no mud wallow at all.
Below is a short video clip of a make-do mud wallow I created for my pigs in my back yard sty. It shows just how little it takes to make pigs deliriously happy - mud, water and the freedom to wallow around.