Hog/Swine House Construction Primer Part 1

Pig houses must be designed and constructed properly for good health and well-being of the pigs to obtain maximum performance and savings in labor costs. Bear in mind that a good building may not Improve the health condition of the pigs, but a poor one wilt certainly increase the risk of incurring diseases. If the environment is uncomfortable, the pig is subjected to stress, making them prone to infection.

Factors to Consider in Constructing a Pig Farm

a. Site selection

The first step in putting up or expanding a piggery project is the selection of the site. It is important to consider the following during selection:

  1. Availability and accessibility of essential services such as feed suppliers or stores, water and electricity sources.
  2. The surroundings should be suitable for construction of drainage and manure disposal, thus there should be ample distance from neighbors and other farms. The site should comply with local policies like-coning and environmental considerations.
  3. The possibility of expansion should also be considered.

b. Zoning and Permits

Check out local zoning laws and regulations for a proposed location. If it is zoned other man agriculture, study the situation carefully before building the pig pen or pig house. Secure all required permits such as building, environmental and other permits required by the government before constructing.

c. Accessibility

Check the availability and cost of feeds, water and electricity. Water source should be able to supply for the peak demands and for future expansion. Keep in mind that water demand is thrice the weight of feed consumed plus wastage (15%) and water for cleaning (30%). If high electricity demand is anticipated, a standby generator can also be considered. A farm to market road should also be accessible to facilitate the transport of feeds and pigs throughout the year.

d. Distance from other farms

Ideal distance from other farms and neighbors is about one kilometer. This will serve as a natural screen in the prevention of diseases- Distance from the neighbors will prevent complaints regarding pig odors, flies, noise and pollution.

Factors to Consider In Planning Farm Buildings

  • Environmental control
  • Proper ventilation
  • Minimum labor requirement
  • Durability of building materials
  • Dryness
  • Sanitation
  • Rodent and Bird control
  • Safety
  • Future expansion

Building Orientation and Ventilation

The front side of the building should be facing EAST and the rear side should be facing WEST. This would prevent the animals from too much exposure to the sunlight.This orientation would ensure equal distribution of sunlight throughout the day.

Areas regularly visited by the outsiders should be situated near the gate. These areas are offices, feed bodega or storage, market area and finishers pen. The farm road should be near the pig houses with alleys connecting them.

The health condition of the pigs can be affected by the specific swine house climate. Any disturbance in this climate can cause respiratory and intestinal diseases. The pigs in the Philippines are not expected to perform as efficiently as the pigs in the temperate region since the prevailing environmental temperature in the country is 24-35°C. The comfort zone of the pigs in the temperate region is between 18.5 – 20 °C.Thus, it is very important to make the animals comfortable by designing a pig house with high roofing and proper ventilation.

Ventilation serves the following purposes:

  1. Replacement of foul air with fresh air or removal of odors
  2. Removal of moisture
  3. Removal of excess heat

Pig houses should be well-ventilated, however, avoid direct drafts and coldness.

To achieve proper ventilation, consider the following factors:

  • Inlets to serve as passageway of fresh air into the pig house.
  • Insulation should be available to keep house warm when necessary.
  • Supplemental heat during cold weather.
  • Presence of vapor barriers.
  • Removal of moist air through the outlets.

Different designs of ventilation system

a. Natural ventilation is mainly a ventilation system which depends on wind effect and convection effect. Ventilation in wind effect is created by the wind blown against one side of the building creating suction pressure. In the convection effect, ventilation is caused by a still or slowly moving air. One example of natural ventilation Ls the monitor type building.

b. Automatically controlled natural ventilation system – is a system where curtains or flaps are installed/ constructed on the sides installed / constructed on the sides the building, and adjusted when the temperature inside the pen is high or low. Curtains can be used to prevent draft and as a protection for the rapid change of temperature in the evening during inclement weather.

c. Fan ventilation system uses a fan to maintain the normal temperature inside the pen. Ventilating or oscillating fans/blowers are die most commonly used equipment for putting air where it is needed. One problem with this system is that it entails additional cost for running the fan

Normal air movement inside the house is very important. Thus, pig houses should not be constructed too close to each other. A distance of 10 – 15 meters between houses should be maintained for proper ventilation. However, this practice is too expensive. To make full use of the land, trees should be planted between buildings or buildings can be constructed near the rice fields, vegetable gardens, biogas lagoon, or fish ponds. This set-up is suitable for ecological balance to keep the surroundings cooler. As much as possible, the walls should have holes or G. I. pipes or steel bars or railings to ensure air flow. Although high perimeter walls are needed for security reasons, it is wiser to use barbed wire or posts with barbed wire.

Construction of very wide houses does not prevent ventilation problems. On the other hand, wide houses are not very efficient in heat exchange since accumulation of body heat by the pigs increases the temperature inside the house. To be efficient, the width of the house should not be more than 10 meters.

source: International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ITCPH), Marawoy, Lipa City, photo from pinoyagribusiness.com

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