PIGLETS -June 2016:

No.One                                                     Butlig

Image of Sow                                     Image of Boar


Visual link to "2015 Preparations" page          Visual link
          to "2016 Preparations" web page
Preparations -2015                                      Preparations -2016


2016: Farrowing

June 18 -the first week

Visual link to documentation regarding the first week
          after has sow farrowed

June 25 -the second week

Visual link to web

The Next Two Weeks

Visual link to "Next Two Weeks" web page


Some Notes on Roofs and Bedding Materials:


We have three active pig pens:

-One is Butlig's pen. It is mainly open to the elements, has a small (tarpaulin) roof and has soil for bedding material. This pen is next to the current farrowing pen. However, Butlig seems less interested in digging up the pen -and seems to have a fairly stable favourite wallowing place.

-The second pen is now the farrowing pen. It is half covered by a (tarpaulin) roof and half open to the elements. Originally, the pen contained several young sibling  -and the bedding material was composed of soil, with coconut branches used to absorb extra moisture. The soil was originally clay and so retained moisture and could get very swampy, especially where pigs had been wallowing. The pigs would also eat the coconut fronds. The pen was noticeable for a lack of smell. Later, for some reason, the fronds were replaced by (chainsaw) sawdust and rise hull. Over time, this built up to quite a deep layer.

-The third pen, houses two gilts (remaining from the original five siblings). It is now completely covered by a (palm frond) roof and the bedding is a thick layer of (chainsaw) sawdust and rise hull on top of the original soil -some of which was removed during construction to make a "deep" organic bed.

Earlier the pen was half open and half closed -for the farrowing of our previous sow, This was quite a disaster (see Piglets 2015). We suspected overweight -and perhaps too much human interference with the piglets -but perhaps it was the bedding material that caused the problems (or at least made existing problems worse).


Butlig is currently (July 4) recovering from being sick. This could be from eating bad food, or perhaps a chill caused by the rain. For a several months, we had  drought conditions -and only in the last few weeks has the typhoon season really started with moderate to heavy rainfall. Under these changing weather conditions many humans also get sick. We could consider enlarging his roof area to give more protection in  bad weather.

The farrowing sow does seem to suffer bouts of overheating and general lethargy -which do seem to clear up after removal of the (rotting) bedding. However, perhaps other causes cannot be ruled out.

The two gilts seem ok with their bedding material -but with a completely roofed pen the conditions are slightly different and the rotting process somewhat slowed, or even prevented.


Although the evidence is not yet conclusive (partly due to different conditions in different pens) -I personally suggest removing all sawdust and rice hull from the pens -and relying entirely on soil and coconut fronds for bedding material.

The coconut fronds do rot down quite easily -but the physical characteristics of the fronds are such that they do not create such a dense. impenetrable, mass of rotting material.

Naked soil when dry seems to be a quite comfortable bedding for pigs when sleeping -and when wet provides a truly cooling area for wallowing.

The sawdust and rice hull mixture when dry, appears warm and comfortable  -but when wet and rotting the heat generated by the composting process may negate any cooling advantages a normal wallowing place might have.


 Piglets 2015
Butlig's Diary


Agrodok publications list

Pig keeping in the tropics
— Housing, breeding, reproduction, nutrition, healthcare, AD-1, ISBN 90-77073-53-1, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
 — Download here


Garden Diary
Project Home Farm
Project Land

Trevor Batten
 <trevor at tebatt dot net>
 Baclayon 2016