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Piggies, Not So Little Piggies

Giving Pigs a Place to Roam in Guanacaste

I’m back in Copal, after 6 glorious weeks visiting family and friends in Toronto, and (after cleaning up) the first order of business is expanding the pig play area. They certainly expanded while I was gone. So again we must consider their space requirements.

Did I ever write about the miraculous discovery we made about nasty pig smell as it directly relates to confinement? In a nutshell, when kept in ridiculously small quarters, pigs will produce the most foulest of smells. The first pen for our four porks was a fraction the size of the current one. And the odor they started to produce, as they grew (which pigs do prodigiously) was frighteningly horrific. While standing at the kitchen sink, gagging during wash up, I thought we had made the most disastrous error with the pig component. We had effectively rendered the farm uninhabitable, or, we wasted time and money on a pig enclosure we were sure never to use again once these guys met their inevitable fate.

Then we expanded the pig pen, because it seemed so wrong to have them crammed into such a small space, unsanitary no matter how many times we cleaned it up. And the smell simply vanished. Immediately upon giving them room to romp.

Now I’m taking the next step, and we’re creating a pasture for them. Where they will roam, rout, and forage. Freely pooing and peeing all over the soil they will also work at turning over and making ready for planting next year.

I. Am. So. Excited!

Today the chainsaw is ablazing as Toño cuts posts for a fence we’ll build to enclose the piggies pasture. It will include our aforementioned Pig Palace.

It isn’t coming a moment too soon, either, because a) the scent is becoming pungent, once again and b) yesterday they escaped their pen. Yet they nicely and mannerly just hung around outside it! So I don’t think there’s much danger of them being runaways, they just want a little variety in their day. Who doesn’t?

I was inspired to build a pig pasture after reading this awesome article. (The internet is my best friend, hands down)

And while there will need to be some modification of their style to suit specifically where we are (like, herding the pigs into the pen each night to protect them from vampire bats – yes – seriously) the essential ideas will work, and it’s so cool.

Originally published December 12, 2012

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