How to Build a Pig Pen

Add a trough for feeding to finish the pen

Porcs en llibertat“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Sustainable farming is awesome; although, I personally wouldn’t slaughter pigs if I owned any. I think they’re too cute, so I’d rescue them instead. If you’re going to own pigs, you’re going to need a pig pen to contain them. The following are instructions for building a simple pig pen for your sustainable farm.

The size of the pen is dependent on a number of factors; most importantly, it’s dependent on the number of pigs you intend to keep. Ensure there’s space for pigs to roam, eat, and defecate. Also, build pens in well-ventilated areas, as unventilated areas can cause health issues.

Materials Needed:

Shovel, saw, staple gun, screwdriver, 3-lb. #8 diameter deck screws, 9 cedar posts, 9 cedar rails, 4-foot gate, 1-foot metal wire, 4-by-2 welded wire, five 2-foot two-by-fours, five 12-foot two-by-fours, scrap wood, and a tarp. Optional: cement.

Build Pig Pen Exterior

Step 1: Lay out your cedar posts

Mock up exactly how large you’d like your pig pen. Ensure all sides are parallel and lined up. The pig pen can be designed as a square or rectangle, and be sure to leave a four foot gap for the gated entrance.

Step 2: Dig your holes.

Dig a hole for the first post. This hole acts as a guide for the rest of your holes. Place your first post into the hole, fill in the dirt around it, and then attach the first cedar rail into the cedar post. Cedar posts sell with these holes already precut into the sides for easy assembly. Continue working your way around the perimeter, digging holes and placing the cedar posts and rails, until you have the entire perimeter posted.

Optional: add cement

Permanently secure the cedar posts by pouring cement into the holes.

Step 3: Mount the gate

Mount the 4-foot gate by securing it with screws to a pole. Use metal wire to secure it to the opposite side’s post. Leave the knot loose, so you can come and go, but not so loose your pigs are able to escape. Alternatively, you can install a latch.

Step 4: Add wires

Wrap the 4-by-2 welded wires along the exterior of the fence. Use a staple gun to secure the wire to both the posts and the rails. The actual amount of welded wire you’ll need is dependent on how far apart you set your posts and how large a pig pen you’re building.

Step 5: Even it out with scrap wood

To create a more stable, flat ground, use your scrap wood to build a base around the pig pen. Fill up any holes that may be present. This will prevent your pigs from escaping under the fence.

Build Pig Pen Interior Shelter

Step 1: Start with a base

Create a rectangular box into which your pigs can retire for a shaded nap or escape cold winds. Create this box by nailing together two 12-foot 2-by-4s.

Step 2: Make an entrance

Saw an opening through one side of the rectangular box. Make it wide enough that they can enter easily no matter how large they may grow.

Step 3: Build it up

Create a second rectangular box and secure it to the first using screws. Make the entrance taller by sawing through the wood directly above where you created the first opening. Continue building rectangular box on top of box until the building is large enough. Stop sawing the entrance when you’re certain it’s tall enough for pigs. Remember, pigs grow very large and this girth needs to be accommodated to prevent accidents.

Step 4: Add a tarp ceiling

Secure a tarp along the top of your shelter and use staples to secure it firmly in place.

Pig pens aren’t difficult to create. They require just a day or two of effort and serve as long-term, efficient homes for your pigs. Maintain them as needed, and ensure fresh bedding is consistently provided. The most important thing is that your pigpen remain sanitary for the sake of your health and your pig’s health.

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