Tuesday, August 4

Building A Hog Trough

We decided to raise a feeder pig this past spring for butchering in the fall.  We purchased “Burt” a Hampshire breed, from a farmer for $50.00.

Hampshire Hog History
Hampshire hogs are black with a white belt, heavily muscled, lean meat breed.  They are the fourth most recorded breed of the pigs in the United States.
The Hampshire breed is also the oldest, early-American breed of hogs in existence today. The Hampshire hog originated in southern Scotland and Northern England. These pigs were known as the "Old English Breed". They were noted and criticized for their large size, as pigs were commonly killed at 125 pounds live weight. However, they were admired for their proficiency, hardy vigor, foraging ability and outstanding carcass qualities.
Hampshire pigs were imported into America between 1825 and 1835 from Hampshire County in England. Some of the first importations were also known as the McKay hog because a man by that name was thought to have imported these hogs from England to America.

Our baby pig soon after arriving at our farm

Burt was just adorable and small and oh so cute when we got him!  It is best to raise two or more pigs together as they are pack animals, but this was the last one the farmer had for sale.  At first, we used one of the black round rubber feed pans for him, but as he grew he would toss those around and spill all his feed.

After a little research, I found the best trough design for natural pig farming is to have one long trough along the length side of the pig pen that provides good access to feed for all the pigs eating at one time.

Our hog Burt in July

Looking for an ideal feed trough I came across some in a V shape, but the complaints were that the hogs couldn’t get to all the feed.  Waste is not something we want!
Most of the commercially produced feeders are rectangular shaped (long boxy shape) so I decided to copy those.

This is a really really simple design with very few supplies needed.  I save old or leftover 2 x 4’s, plywood and other various wood, and even salvage wood when I can,  so most of my feeder trough was made from salvaged wood.

Base and partial sides of the feed trough

Here’s What You Need
1 piece of  ¾ inch plywood or a plank that’s 2 inches thick by 12 inches wide.
2 x 4’s
Drywall screws, tape measure, saw

First cut the plywood to the size trough you want.  This will be the base of the trough. 
If you have many hogs, you may want to make longer troughs or many troughs along one wall of the pig pen. 

I used a plank of wood for the base that was 2 inches thick by 12 inches wide and cut it 3 feet long. 
Next you need to build a frame, so cut the 2 x 4’s to match the base.
Since my base is approximately 1 foot wide by 3 foot long, I cut 2 pieces of 2 x 4 which will be the ends of the frame and 2 pieces of 2 x 4 which are the sides.
Screw these pieces together to form the trough frame. 
Now screw the base to the frame.

Base and frame of feed trough screwed together

Next you need legs which should not be very tall.  I cut mine approximately 1 ½ feet long, which turned out to be a little too tall for the hog, so I later cut them down to about 1 foot.
You will need 4 legs.  

Screw the legs to each end and side of the trough. If you are building a much longer trough, you will need extra legs.  Hogs weigh a lot and will climb into the trough so extra support will be needed for a longer trough.

These original trough legs were a little too tall so I cut them down shorter

The trough legs were too tall for Burt so I cut them shorter

Another thing I added.  I drilled two holes in each end of the trough.  Pigs love to make a mess in their food and a lot of the leftovers I feed him turn into slop.  (A runny wet mess).  It’s good to have drain holes in the ends.  

Drainage holes on the end of the trough

The final step is to place the trough into the pig pen but you must secure it to something.  I have mine screwed to the fence.  Hogs are strong and love to move things around so if the trough is not secured, they will overturn it.

Finally, I keep a garden hoe outside the pig sty near the feed trough area so I can scrape out any leftover muck and slop before dumping in new feed.

Burt and his messy feed trough in July

Burt's favorite pass times right now are eating, sleeping, playing in creek and running away from the goats when in the large pasture.  He also loves to follow me and have me scratch behind his ears.  He's been a really good pig and we're sure we will raise more in the future.



Anonymous said...

Good idea. I would have cut metal barrel in half and put legs on it. Milana Christian

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

An old barrel cut in half is a great idea! I just don't have the tools to work with metal nor the patience to sand it down enough so the pig wouldn't cut himself. I'm kind of a self taught cobbler, haha

Anonymous said...

Rubber hose cut lengthwise and put over the barrel edges will protect the pig from cuts. I have a hard time working with wood that's why I would do the barrel. Milana Christian