There are plenty of schools of thought on barn design; some design for the health and happiness of the sow, some design for the most functionality in a small space, some design for the convenience of the owner or producer. But only a sow could design her space exactly how she wants it. Here are four things we believe a sow would include in the blueprints of the barn if she was the one in charge!
1. Her bedroom would be GIANT.
If the design was up to a sow, her bedroom would be the biggest room in the barn. It would be very open with plenty of uninterrupted space, and room to cuddle with her roommates—there's no single sleepers in her dream world! Sows enjoy skin to skin contact as they sleep and rest in their pens. A sow may also add a deeply bedded pen with lots of fresh straw to play with and lay on.
2. The bathroom would be as far away from the kitchen as possible.
We've all been to a restaurant and been placed at the table right next to the bathroom. We don't like it, and neither do pigs! If a sow was designing her barn, she would add a dunging area away from both her kitchen and her bedroom. Contrary to popular belief, pigs are fairly clean animals and would rather not lay in their own manure.
Pigs like to relieve themselves in a corner, away from their living and eating areas; because it provides the greatest sense of protection for them. Forget the corner office, they want a corner bathroom!
3. The kitchen would be fully stocked and fully private!
Pigs like access to their feed when they want it. They would design a kitchen that is always open, but is also always private. Believe it or not, when it comes to eating, pigs are...well pigs. They don't want to share! They also do not want to be bothered by other sows in the barn.
While they like being close to their roommates while sleeping and socializing, they want to be fully protected while eating. If other sows can nudge or pester the feeding sow, the stressful eating experience can negatively affect her digestive health. Because pigs also like water while they eat, she would probably add water into her food or add a water source next to her feed trough.
4. She would have top-notch temperature control.
Some outdoor pig pens may have mud pits designed into them, but a sow wouldn't necessarily put a mud room in her house if she got to design it. Rather, she would have expensive air conditioning and heating systems! Pigs are relatively clean animals. If there is proper temperature control in her home, the mud loses its main function: a coolant.
Of course sows don't have the ability to design their own pens, so it is our job to think like the sow and put her needs first. If we study sow behavior and don't ignore their needs, we can give them everything they want and need to be happy and comfortable.
At New Standard, we design barns for happy and stress-free pigs. This not only makes the pigs' lives more enjoyable, it increases your production and adds to your bottom line. Click below to learn more!