Chore Time! — Pigs

Well, folks, here we are!… at the end of the road for my morning chore routine (unless you count feeding our dog, Michael… I do that after I’m done in the hoop houses 🙂 ). We’ve made it through the pullets and roosters of hoop house 3. Last week, we met the layers in the front of hoop 4 and, now, we’re headed to the back of hoop 4 to meet the hens’ backyard neighbors.

Welcome, swine.


The hogs of hoop house 4


The piggies taking a closer look at me through the hog panel


There are pigs everywhere at Polyface. Whether it’s the summer or the winter (but especially winter!), there seems to be pigs galore. Right now we have twelve groups of pigs on the farm. Some groups are currently pigerating, but one group lives in very close contact with chickens… the hoop 4 pigs! Making my way through the barred rock hens, I squeeze through the door dividing the two species. The pigs’ bedding is mainly hay, although we also use chips and peanut hulls.  This bedding is spread out in an enclosed pen made of hog paneling.

So, going back to my routine, I simply crawl over the paneling in order to check on the hogs and to check their feed and water. We fill the feeder approximately once a week using a Grain-O-Vator feed buggy. As for their water, I just make sure that their drinkers are open, clean, and not frozen, and that there isn’t any leaks or other malfunctions. Pigs can be very mischievous, so you never know what you might come across any given morning! If it’s warm enough out, I’ll go ahead and open the back sliding door of the hoop house to get the animals fresh, flowing air. Otherwise, we’ll just do that later in the day when it warms up and the sun is shining. After making sure that all the pigs are okay and that everything is working as it should… I am done! Maintaining of one group of hogs isn’t a ton of daily work… but it’s still very important.

Open feeder

Open (nearly full) feeder

munching away!

Munching away!

The pig drinker

The pig drinker










Well, that’s about it! Now you’ve had a sneak peek into the everyday, morning chores of a Polyface apprentice. Soon, my chores will change quite drastically as the pullets, roosters, layers and pigs move on to rental farms, the hoop houses are transformed into gardens, and (drum roll….) broiler season begins! That is definitely one thing I’ve learned about Polyface while being here…. things are alway changing! It sure does keep things fresh and exciting though 🙂

Until next time…


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About Miriam Gust

Miriam grew up among the lakes of beautiful central Minnesota and is the youngest of four. She is devoted to serving her King Jesus, and she finds great joy in spending time outside (especially while farming and hunting!) and in simply sharing a cup of coffee with friends or family. She looks forward to continuing to learn and grow at Polyface and is eager to trust the Lord with whatever the future may hold.
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6 Responses to Chore Time! — Pigs

  1. Steve says:

    Thanks for posting this series. How long do you keep one group of pigs in the same location in the hoop houses?

    • Miriam Gust says:

      Hi Steve–

      Great question! It really depends… throughout the wintertime, we’re continuously playing “musical pigs” with the hoop houses, barn, and racken house. It mostly depends on the size of the pigs, the amount of pigs in the group, and the size of their pen. Not all of our pens are the same size, so if a group of pigs is growing and clearly needs more space, we’ll move them around. We also move them to begin pigerating as sections of the barn open up. On average, I’d say they stay in a pen for about 2 months.

  2. Annabelle says:

    Hi, Miriam,

    I am wondering what “pigerating” is???

    I like the Grain-o-Vater feed buggies! 🙂 Also, “The Pig Drinker.” Hehe. It’s been fun to get little snapshots into your daily life and chores! (I hope “the end of the road for your morning chore routine” doesn’t mean the end of your blogging!!!)

  3. Kristin says:

    Pigs are fun, and we’ve found, social, too. I’m looking forward to raising more!

  4. Scott McCabe says:

    Love the article- thanks

  5. Brian Bennett says:

    Would you share with me any experience you have with winter farrowing? I have found better results with lots of extra helpers, but as I age and the weather changes I am looking into a propane furnace or electric heating mats. I presently farrow in a deep liter and a cleaned empty box stall depending on the sow, the temperature and the number of helpers.Today is quite hot here at 0 but most years we farrow at around -25 degrees Fahrenheit ( below zero).. Thank you so much for any help you may provide. Brian