The anticipation for piglets is growing here at GiPop Acres! The girls are due any day now and GiGi and PopPop are finishing up their barn not a moment too soon 🙂
As you may have seen on the Facebook page, they’ve been hard at work converting the old chicken coop- which has been housing our bucks and wethers- from a ruin into a barn that works to house them alongside the pigs and (eventually) their piglets. The building’s roof is still in relatively good shape but the walls and support posts had begun rotting and sinking into the ground… so GiGi and PopPop made a plan to lift the roof and add a the structure they needed underneath it.
They started by lifting one side and then the other with extendable support posts little by little. Once the roof was high enough to walk under, PopPop started auguring out post holes to set the permanent 4×4 posts.
With the low roof and the rafters inside, even I (at 5’3″) had to bend nearly double to walk through the building when it was resting on the ground. Poor GiGi practically had to crawl to get hay into the manger for the goats!
You can see in the photo above just how rotten the posts and boards were from sitting on the ground for nearly a hundred years.
And now the walls are up and we can start building the “rooms” inside. A portion of the new barn design provides a space for the bucks and wethers to shelter as well as a dry place to store feed cans.
The majority of the interior is made up of the two pig stalls for Dany and Arry to settle down and have their piglets. Each sow has a main stall outfitted with pig rails on three sides to prevent her from resting her bulk directly against the wall and squishing a little piglet. The fourth side of the stall ends in a creep fence just tall enough for the piglets to fit under and snuggle safely in their brooder.
GiGi and PopPop developed the layout here from scratch so hopefully this is a good design for farrowing and we have a successful season. As with everything we do around here, we’ll adjust things as we understand the particular needs for each situation. Update: GiGi sent me this picture she took of the barn before we started any work. I’m so impressed GiGi and PopPop were able to make this into a usable structure… without dropping the entire roof on their heads!
And now we start the countdown to piglets… in fact, just this evening at feeding time, Dany was gathering sticks and straw to make her nest so we’re getting close to the main event!