A lot of folks look for an extra set of hands for their farm maintenance, especially when there is work to be done that requires a bit of extra know-how. A great example of this is building enclosures for animals such as pigs. We here at AgriLabour put together this guide on seven different ways to build a pig pen that will give you a leg up on the competition.
Before You Get Started
Pigs can be real brutes. Even the calmest of them will use the walls and posts of their enclosures to scratch their backs and will push along the fence line to reach bugs or other critters that catch their attention. It’s important to make sure that posts are pounded at least a half a meter down into the ground, and that the walls of the pen are at least a meter high. (Most pigs won’t be hopping any tall fences, so the walls are relatively low.) Pigs should each have their own enclosed space as well since pigs can be very territorial and will fight if left together.
Another important factor to consider is the minimum space needed for each pig. When plotting out space, expect to give each animal a spot that is 2.5 meters wide by 5 meters long. This is a good rule of thumb to start with, but different types of pigs may need less or more space, depending on their size.
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Lastly, make sure that there is some sort of covering large enough to keep the whole pig’s body out of the elements. A simple roof will provide protection for, particularly sunny or rainy days. For the purpose of simplicity, we’re going to stick with just the instructions for the pen here, not the shelter as well.
Method 1: T Posts and Hog Panels
Before starting this pen, you’ll need to have T posts, fence clips, hog panels, tie wire, lineman pliers, a gate kit, a couple of wooden fence posts and a mallet or driver for the posts.
Start by measuring the hog panels and marking out the space you’d like each pig pen to take up. Drive T posts into the ground at each corner, then add one every meter or so in between. Where the gate will be, drive in the wooden posts. Posts should be the distance of the gate from each other plus swing space. Add T posts just outside each wooden post, along the fence line. Once the posts are driven, start attaching the hog panels to the T posts using the clips. At the end of each panel, you’ll need to attach tie the panel to the T post securely with the tie wire and pliers. This is especially important at the corners, which are the weakest point of the fence line. Hang the gate, and check along the fence line to make sure everything is sturdy. If you want to see this type of fence going up, check out this video from Edge of Nowhere Farm.
Method 2: Wooden Posts and Hog Panel
This method is going to follow the exact same pattern, but with wooden posts instead of T posts. Wooden posts are sturdier and are a great option if it seems like the pig pen will be a permanent structure. When using the wooden posts, attach the hog panel to the post using a connector like this instead of wire clips or ties.
Method 3: Wooden Posts and Slats
As with before, start by marking the perimeter of the fence and putting down posts, leaving space for a gate. Instead of using metal fencing, screw wide wooden boards to the posts from the inside. Make sure the vertical spaces between the boards is too small for the pigs to get a foothold since some pigs will actually find the motivation to climb the fence. Check out Mother Earth News for a story and more detailed instructions.
Method 4: Scrap Wood Enclosure
If buying supplies isn’t an option, you can also put together a simple pen using scrap wood. Measure out the space for the pen, drive-in wooden posts at each corner plus one or two along each side. From the inside, attach sheets of plywood using wood screws. You can make a very simple gate by attaching hinges to one of the plywood sheets and making a latch with a small piece of scrap wood and a screw. Loosely screw in the latch near the edge of the gate, and swing the wood around to hold it closed. This video is a great example of both a scrap wood enclosure and an easy gate latch.
Method 5: Shipping Pallets
Try using wood pallets for another very affordable pen. Measure out the enclosure, and start lining up the pallets standing on the end. Screw the pallets together until you reach the spot where you’d like to put the gate. Attach hinges to one pallet, and hang it from another. A simple latch can be made, like in the last example, to keep the gate in place. The Frugal Farmgirl has a great example of this pen which is perfect for a smaller pig.
Method 6: Concrete Block Wall
Building a pig pen using besser blocks might be a lot of work, but it’s certain to last a long time. The walls also make it easy to attach metal sheeting at one end for shelter. To get started, check out this tutorial for building out the walls. As always, leave a space for a gate. The gate can be attached to the masonry with masonry screws. Hunker has instructions for that part as well.
Method 7: Electric Net Fencing
For a lightweight and portable option, take a look at this unique setup by Realeyes Homestead. Using posts and electric net fencing allows for the pen to be built quickly and taken apart even faster.