The natural pig farming pig houses are designed to maximize the health and well-being of the pigs. Key elements include:
- Roofing that provides shelter from rain and direct sun
- Open sides for exposure to outside air (and cooling breezes where climate is hot and during hot seasons)
- Dependent in climate the building can be designed with no sides, with retractable side 'curtains' that can be raised or lowered as necessary, or with solid permanent sides
- Open ventilation in roof to promote air flow - where large scale pig production is taking place
Overall the NPF system we use
will work very effectively in any climate. The open sides pig design is one developed and used extensively in Korea which experiences both hot and cold weather. The climate we raise our pigs here in N.E. Thailand is hot - very hot for much of the year with an average temperature range between 24°C - 36 °C. It's actually a climate that is ideally too hot to raise pigs in which is why we place so much emphasis on keeping the pigs cool (open sided pens that allow in a cooling breeze, mud wallows, shade etc.). We use a drop down curtain when
the colder weather comes in during November–January; it blocks wind chill and
keeps any warmth generated by the pigs in the pen.
In a climate elsewhere in the world that experiences at times very cold
weather the pen design may need to be adapted depending how cold and
severe the cold actually gets. If you use an open pen system like ours a good
option could be to use straw block bales (protected by chicken fence wire to
keep the pigs from nibbling them away) to build a more solid temporary insulating wind break wall
around the pen. However if you have more extreme cold weather a more solid wall
as part of your pen design may be a better option, perhaps supplemented by straw bales to provide extra insulation from the cold outside.
There are also other ways in which the pigs will be able to keep warm.Inside the pen:
together so they benefit from each other’s body warmth
2) Burrowing into the
deep bed bedding
3) Snuggling into a thick layer of loose straw that you
should add to the pen in cold weather periods
It may be that you would want to consider a totally different style of pig house design to the one we use but that keeps many of the key benefits our design offers. There are various non-NPF style pig pen building design options featured in the case studies of the Complete GAP Pigs book that are worth looking at for inspiration, as well among the various free to read books in the Resources - free books section of this website.
Public health authorities may blanche at the idea of open sided buildings. The environment in today's factory farms is so laden with deadly bacteria, virus's and sickness that the farms are more like biological warfare germ agent development facilities. As such, many factory farm buildings are like sealed vacuums with elaborate bio-security measures for people entering and leaving the factory. But the natural pig farming deep bed litter system and stocking densities promotes a naturally healthy environment and the open sided building actually prevent the build up of dangerous pathogens. The fact that something as innocuous as raising pigs is considered such a public health threat says much about just how wrong our food production models have become. Wrong for the pigs inside who must live in the environment where bacteria and virus's are actively attacking the pigs immune system whilst gaining anti-biotic resistance and wrong for the population at large who must live with the risk of a swine flu pandemic these factory farms will eventually succeed on unleashing on the people of the world.
Unlike our natural pig farming pig buildtings factory farming buildings are complex and expensive. With no opens sides you have the additional cost of building materials for the walls, and the need for ventilation and fan systems. And with need for systems to deal with the pig excreta you will need to put in expensive waste handling systems.