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Raising pigs can seem easy since they eat almost anything, and are pretty easy-going, but can you raise pigs on concrete? Domestic pigs can grow up to 770lbs this size means they can hurt themselves, so it is up to you as the person raising the pigs, to ensure the safest living area possible.
Concrete flooring can be dangerous for pigs to live on. Pigs massive bodies rely heavily on their feet being healthy to carry them and keep them upright, and unfortunately, concrete floors are too hard and rough on their feet to allow them long-term comfort and health.
You can have concrete floors if you have another material covering it to allow for comfort and cushion for your pig’s feet. When raising pigs, foot safety is the number one priority when looking at the living situation.
If they cannot walk themselves around well, they likely won’t survive very long, read on to see what flooring you should provide your pigs with. Remember a healthy pig is a happy pig!
Suitable Flooring Materials for Pig-Pens
When building a pig-pen, you have to make sure it keeps your pigs as safe as possible. Once you account for that, you can consider their happiness and quality of life when building their living area. Overall, you need to give them ample room to live, eat, and coexists with the other pigs, while also making sure they don’t get stuck, injured, or attacked.
Dirt and Grass
Most outdoor pig-pens are simply given the dirt floors with some grassy areas and some muddy areas. This is an excellent choice because it gives the pigs a chance to root around and roll in the mud as they like to do.
The issues that come with this type of flooring are making sure they have a dryer area to live in that is separate from the muddy or wet area. When your pigs roll around in the mud and dirt all day, they tend to get their water source dirty and that can cause quite a problem. They need access to freshwater always, otherwise, they can get dehydrated and succumb to salt poisoning.
Speaking of salt poisoning, avoid feeding your pigs salty foods, see what types of food are toxic to pigs.
It is relatively common to have an area for the pigs to get muddy and root around outside for a while, then move them to a dryer area with freshwater and limited sun exposure to ensure they have the best of both worlds.
Constant, or too much sun exposure is hazardous for pigs due to their extreme sensitivity to UV rays. They are at very high risk for sunburn and skin cancer by proxy, so giving them shade is a requirement.
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When pigs are raised indoors, they are raised on a non-slip material that is almost a rubber-type texture. This allows for the absorption of impacts if the pigs slip and fall, while not being too harsh on their feet. Due to the large nature, slipping could cause significant injury and damage to their bodies or legs.
Now, unfortunately, if you choose rubber flooring, you would be required to clean it daily, possibly multiple times a day. Pigs are messy and dirty animals by nature, but living in that filth constantly can be a danger to their health and well-being so they need plenty of upkeep. It is also more common for pigs to chew and try to burrow through rubber flooring, so you may also have to replace parts of the rubber flooring pretty frequently.
When looking at loose material, you can choose anything from hay or straw to bare dirt. These materials can be used on top of concrete, or as flooring on-top of wood or dirt floors in a barn. Pigs love to burrow and cover-up to help keep warm and loose materials allow them to fully cover themselves if they so choose, which is perfectly normal and safe if the materials are well-tended too.
When dealing with loose materials, you have to consistently keep air-flow and breathing room make sure there is limited moisture build-up. Moist hay or dirt can cause mold or other bacteria issues that can seriously damage your pig’s health. You will need to routinely check the loose material to ensure no mold growth or bug infestation can harm the pig or hurt the living area.
Are you Pigs struggling to put on weight? Learn the reasons pigs may be struggling to grow in my recent article
Essential Tips When Building a Pig Pen
While flooring is a large part of the pig-pen and the impact it has on your pig’s safety, there are a few other things that could be the difference between a safe, or not safe, living area. These simple tips can make or break your pigpen, and give you the peace of mind that your pigs are living the safest life they can live.
Food Bowl Materials
When choosing a bowl or trough to feed your pigs, you have to make sure it is suitable enough to withstand feeding time without becoming a hazard. Your choice of material will depend on what the living situation looks like for your pigs.
If you choose metal bowls or a trough, this is an excellent option for larger quantities of pigs and not replacing the bowls as often as other materials. However, the impacts that rust or sharp edges that metal can have are a lot more dangerous than your other options.
If you choose rubber or plastics bowls, you may have to replace them quite often as they will be chewed up and thrown around like toys, but the injury risk is significantly less than that of the metal bowls.
When building your pig-pen, if it is outside, you have to ensure it drains water well enough so you don’t end up with a large pond every time it rains.
While pigs love water, because it makes mud, having too much water will attract insects and bacteria growth that will affect your pigs’ health. You need a good drainage system to ensure the best possible dry to wet ratio of your pig-pin. While pigs love water and mud, they also need access to dry areas and freshwater.
See my recent article to learn how to keep your pigs safe and warm during Winter
While exposure to the sun is good for pigs, when they are in direct sunlight, you either need to sunscreen them or give them access to mud to cover themselves. However, you also need to provide a living area that allows ample time away from direct sunlight to give them a break and reduce the risk of skin cancer or sunburn.
It’s recommended that you create their pigpen in an area with lots of tall trees or near a building so that shade is readily available for them while also having a separate location that is totally out of the sun also still being outdoors. On the hottest days, or when the UV rays are most dangerous, they don’t need to be able to be in the sun for very long at all.
To keep your Pigs in the shade you can buy a UV protector designed for patios for a great price on Amazon.
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Raising pigs can be a very worthwhile time investment, but you must invest your time in making sure their health and wellbeing are at the top of your list. The best way to do that is to give your pigs the safest living environment possible. While concrete might seem like an easy and clean material to raise pigs on, it is dangerous and harmful to their feet.