How to build a Pig Ark

This is a fairly run of the mill pig ark – a sturdy, all year round structure for those of us not lucky enough to have access to the half round arcs of galvanised steel or tin.

Last year I made a house for our weaners out of hay bales, some stakes, a couple of pallets and some old tin roofing. This year I’m using nine 8′ lengths of 2×4, three sheets of 8×4 OSB )chipboard to those in the UK), a piece of metal roof apex, although tar roof tiles would do just as well and… some nails, screws and some paint to dress it up a bit. Total cost C$70… about £45.

The first thing I did was to cut two of the 2×4’s down to 3’8″ lengths then made a base frame out of them and another two uncut 2×4’s. Then I screwed a sheet of OSB down, shiny side up, onto it. Base done.

Next I spent ages framing, notching and bracing a simple A structure like so;

Then the wind changed direction and it collapsed. My original plan had been to build another two 8×4 rectangular sections, screw the OSB to them then lash them together to make the A-frame roof. This would have been strong, sturdy and quick, and anyone who knows pigs knows that strength is key to successful housing. So what happened? I went to a friends wedding the night before and was trying to do this through the fog of an incredible hangover. Once it collapsed I remembered what I should have done and set about doing it, which resulted in the following impressive structure:

I whacked the apex on then tore some plywood off the old barn and cut it to size to make the front and back walls before going around and screwing, nailing and gluing everything down, as well as using scrap pieces of wood to seal off any draughty gaps. The one place you do want a draught though is up top, where the roof apex is – this is called ventilation and one thing that is drummed into animal shelter bodgers like me is that ‘draughts kill, ventilation saves’. It gets really hot here in the summer and the pigs like to alternate between the mud wallow and the shade of the pig house. If it was an airtight box we would have pork roasts earlier than we desired.

Finally I strung the old two strands of polywire up, hooked it up to the fence charger and made ‘er go.

Now I may be finished the pig ark, all but painting it that is as it sits out in full view of the road, but I still have to do a little work to the old duck pen, which I’m converting into a mini loader/corral. This way I can just back the pickup up to the door, drop the tailgate and let the pigs into their new pasture. It sounds so easy… I’ll blog about that when it happens and let you all know how it went!

Oh, and yes, it is a little close to our house but this is only their temporary residence – I plan to build some pigloos out back behind the barn shards before high summer comes along, although pigshit tends to stink just as bad a year later as it did when it was fresh and steamy. Oh well, we can always move if it gets too bad…

2 responses to “How to build a Pig Ark

  1. NB: You will need to reinforce the panel on the back of the ark by screwing a couple of 2×4’s across it. This will stop the pig bashing their way out the back and, in my case, to their freedom!

  2. NNB: This lasted three months then fell victim to some abhorrent back scratching from the stinky old boar. I don’t know what to suggest, except maybe somehow fence it off, give them something better to scratch on or bathe the blighters in Head N Shoulders every week. Or keep something less piggish, like owls. I’ve never seen an owl destroy anything. Then again I’ve never had owl bacon. Go Head n Shoulders then, Ultimately, it’s easier..

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