Pallets! I'm scavenging these things all the time for various other building projects including gates, fences, or blackberry/raspberry trellis systems. We had been talking about adding a smaller type of hog to the homestead for quite some time and put a ton of thought into the phenotypic traits we would be looking for within the genetics of our line but hadn't put much thought into the available materials with which to build their shed! Then it occured to me.... I had recently come accross some eight foot long pallets and some brand new standard four foot by four foot ones, as well as various other sizes via two local businesses that just pile them by their trash bin for disposal. So the newest sustainable building experiment to hit the ground here at Bishop's Homegrown is a hog shed made nearly 100% of pallets!
Re-use, recycle and salvage
I started by cutting some posts from the fence border of the farm and I salvaged a couple of posts from the neighbors throw away pile as well (and a couple "old bones" dead cedar posts I cut while gathering wood for winter). The dimensions came out to 8 x 12' and required a total of 11 short posts.
Building the shed roof
The roof is made of two 8 x 4' pallets nailed to the inside of the posts and then nailed accross and to each other via the 2 x 4' support board of the pallets. The sides are two standard sized pallets nailed to the posts and the roof. I then covered these with heavy duty plywood, scavenged from shipping boxes by fastening them to the existing structure. The back wall is cobled together by some short 3 x 3' pallets and covered with whatever scavenged lumber I could find from pallets that weren't in great shape or in their whole form.
Cheap farm yard fencing
This is just a night time shelter, during the day the pigs will be pastured, but I decided to build the fence that surrounds the yard out of pallets of various sizes too. The fence pallets are recessed into the ground about 6 inches to dissuade the hogs from burrowing out of the enclosure. They are reinforced by nailing scab wood between pieces to tighten the joints but also by using some old greenhouse frame (bent) driven into the ground and woven through the pallets. Since we are dealing with small hogs, they will not have the brute physical strength to push their way through the fence and once they bump their nose on the hard surface, this should dissuade them from even trying.
Feeding the pigs
Along the fence, I intend to build a feed trough out of two pieces of rough cut 2 x 6' nailed together in a V shape. An automatic waterer will be provided in the form of a 50 gallon plastic drum (salvaged from a food processing plant) with a screw in antique pig fountain. The roof is going to be covered with an old piece of bilboard tarp (advertisement side down so as not to give any free promotion to passenger planes above!) though you could go old school and simply create a hay stack or thatched type roof which would shed rain water and snow, while providing insulation just the same.
Article: Les Porc in Permaculture