This morning was slaughter day. Fortunately the weather was pleasant – it only rained all morning soaking us to the skin. Then the weather took a turn for the worse. In the afternoon it rained cats & dogs with very high winds that cleared out the deadwood from the forest. I was amazed we did not lose power. I even heard one thunder clap which is very unusual for this time of year.
The point of the picture above is that the pigs need shelter from the wind more than they need protection from the rain. The same goes for other animals including you and I. The pigs have roofed dens in the hillside but on their way back from the north home field this group stopped and huddled in the lee of the dirt bank in the photo above to get out of the wind yet they’re standing in the pouring rain. You can see them just behind the backhoe along the road.
The rain alone doesn’t bother the pigs much. They’ll graze happily out in a downpour, even what I consider to be a hard, cold rain. The wind is another matter. It bites – sucking the heat from your body, especially on a cold, wet day. Eventually this group moved on and into their earth-sheltered homes in the hill during a break in the wind.
Some days in the winter I’ll be out doing chores on the hill and it will feel painfully cold at -20째F and windy. Then I’ll step into the shelter of one of the three sided animal shelters and the mere absence of the wind changes everything. All of a sudden I feel fine and perhaps even warm. Add a bit of sunshine to that, perhaps a south facing entrance on the shelter, and it feels almost balmy.
When you’re building shelters, for animals or people, think carefully about the winds. Where do they come from in each season – especially in the winter. What air circulation do you want? Fresh air is important, more important than warmth to health. Do not anthropomorphize and think a closed in barn is the solution – it isn’t. In fact, a tight house isn’t good for you either. A lack of proper air exchange causes high humidity levels and allows the ammonia and other biological byproducts to build up damaging the lungs of the animal and the farmer.
Fresh air is key. In the summer we want the winds to waft through the shelters to clear out the warm, stale air. In the winter we want the winds to move around the shelters leaving a space with little air movement so the animals can retain the heat of their bodies yet still give them fresh air.
Hmm… I smell curried shrimp on rice!
60째F/39째F 5″ Rain – all day light to hard in evening, High winds in afternoon & evening.