Warm and Cozy
This year we built a hoop house for the finisher pigs much along the design of what we have for the chicken greenhouse.
Attaching Cattle Panel to Knee Walls/i>
Essentially it is a knee wall of pallets and plywood scraps with stock panel arched over it. To cover it we simply laid on translucent plastic we had on hand. It won’t last but it was free.
Front Half Wall
Even with the half open front and open slat work of the pallets it stayed toasty warm inside the front hoop house all winter. The pigs loved it.
We had made a shelf in the back for hay which we were able to load from the outside on the north end and then tuck the plastic back down again. This was only a marginally idea. The humidity in the hoop house was quite high so the hay got moist. Had it been unused in there for a long period I would have worried about the bales molding.
We ended up not storing hay in there for that reason although we continued to use that end for introducing new hay, even big 4’x4′ bales as show in the first photo. Also in that image you can see straight through to the blue north sky because as the weather warmed we left the back end open for ventilation.
The structure faired well through our heavy snows although we did need to keep an eye on it because the snow load built up unevenly since there was stuff on the west side. The knee walls are critical so there is somewhere for the snow to go. For larger structures I would like a ridge pole and side ridge poles or perhaps make trusses out of doubled panels. One can not count on the snow to shed. Sometimes we can get 40″ of snow all in a night and it is not acceptable for that to collapse on the animals. Ideally I would love to use the twin-wall glazing which has significant structural strength and lasts a long time but that is a bit dear. Someday.
Now that it is spring (theoretically speaking since we still have several feet of snow) I am looking forward to using some of these greenhouses for plants which will get the benefit of them over the summer. In the past I have gotten peppers and watermelons to grow in our cold zone 3 climate by doing them inside shelters like this and the house end shed which is also glazed.
It is amazing how warm the hoop house was, even when it was in the negative teens and extremely windy. Will and I have also been talking about how to use the high heat and humidity of the poultry and pig greenhouses for plants to gain year round growing.
One idea is to build a double layered greenhouse. The outer greenhouse is for animals and the inner one is for plants. This way we would have a heated greenhouse without having to use wood, propane, electric or any other fuel. Just the heat of the decomposition of the bedding and the animals would warm the inner greenhouse.
We might even triple the greenhouse up so the bigger animals are in the outer ring, the smaller animals like chicks and piglets are in the middle greenhouse and then the plants get the inner most greenhouse.
An improvement on that idea is to lay drain tubes that would drain the animal bedding areas while warming incoming air. The warmed air could come up by the piglet creeps to give them a little boost.
So many ideas, so little time…
Outdoors: 46°F/24°F Almost Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/61°F Windows open some, Weeks without fire – love that Sun!
Daily Spark: “Children who were breast-fed exclusively for the first three months of life or longer scored nearly six points higher on IQ tests at the age of 6 than children who weren’t breast-fed exclusively, a new study has found.” –HealthDay News We’re shooting for IQ’s of 300… :)