2012 - Volume #36, Issue #6, Page #02[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Tractors" Make Raising Pastured Pigs Easy
His sturdy, mobile 8 by 16-ft. enclosures were modeled after chicken tractors. “I just made ’em bigger and stronger,” says Criger.
The sides of each 4-ft. high pen are made from 1/8-in. thick angle iron fitted with cattle panels. The sides are welded onto a bottom frame made up of 6-in. wide flange beams on the front and back, and skids made from 2 by 2 angle iron with a notch cut in the end and bent up to a 45 degree angle for ease of pulling.
The front of each pen has a full door that opens out with a built-in half door that opens downward.
The back of the tractor is a large sheet of treated plywood attached to the frame. Another sheet of treated plywood goes on top of the back half of the tractor, providing shelter for the pigs. The remaining space is left open to provide fresh air and sunlight.
A 55-gal. plastic water barrel sits on its side in a 16-in. gap in the top plywood sheet – a length of 1/2-in. garden hose runs from the barrel to a pair of automatic watering nipples mounted to the side of the wire panels. One nipple is set at mature pig height, while the second is mounted lower for the piglets to reach.
The beam at the front of the tractor is 2 in. deep and doubles as a feed trough. A tow hook is mounted on both the front and back beams, allowing the tractors to be hooked to a car or truck via a tow strap and pulled to fresh ground.
Assembly of the pig pens is fairly straightforward: Criger lays the pattern out on the floor of his barn, cuts the material to the correct lengths and welds it all together. He currently has ten Red Wattle pigs in pig tractors on his farm. Whenever the pigs need fresh forage, Criger simply hooks the tractors up to his car and pulls them to a new location. He sells his pig tractor with prices starting at $899.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Criger, 2986 N. Farm Rd. 103, Springfield, Mo. 65803 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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