Piglet Creeping

Creepy, yes, but not ghosts or goblins. I’m talking about creeps for small animals. We primarily fence for the larger livestock. The smaller animals stick with the herds for the most part, never wandering too far. Where we set the bottom wire a little high like this the piglets creep under to feed in advance of the main herd. This gives them first choice on the most digestible pasture forages. Later the bigger animals follow and mow down the pasture before we move them on in the rotation.

Where we don’t want piglets creeping we set the wire lower and then they stick to the designated areas. The rule of thumb is to put a wire at low walking and high walking nose levels. With many sizes of pigs in the same herd we add a third wire so as to cover the range from the smallest to the largest. The big ones can jump a fence but they don’t unless there is some really good reason like a sexy lady on the other side. Since the boars are in with their sows this reduces that pressure.

Today Ben and I worked on laying in the pink foam that will hold the concrete ceiling of the lower Abattoir which is also the floor of the Abattoir loft. This is, shockingly, a flat ceiling! Yowsa! I was thinking about what mathematical function to use for this ceiling and I realized I have never done a flat ceiling. Barrel vaults, Roman arches, various catenary arches, jack arches, but never flat! So, we’re doing a flat ceiling just so we can say, yes, we can do more than elegant arches. And the arches through out the building really are very elegant. Holly was just saying the other day how they make the spaces feel so much more interesting instead of being mere boxes.

But, you know how I am, I can’t resist, so the western edge of the loft will be a Bezier Curve, just to make it a little more challenging. Oh, and that curve does have a function, besides the mathematical function. The shape of the curve optimizes the usage of the upstairs and downstairs positive and negative spaces so that the carcasses slide through the air with the greatest of ease, most efficiently using the space while also giving us an high area to be able to reach the upper points of the hocks on very large boars, bulls and such as well as giving us a third mechanical closet in the loft.

Holly saw my drawing of the Bezier Curve and said, “Oh, it makes the kill floor into a Ying-Yang!” Modern meets ancient.

Outdoors: 64°F/43°F Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 68°F/65°F

Daily Spark: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. -Wayne Gretzky

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Creepy

  1. Tyler says:

    Walter… thanks for sharing the information on the creep feeding. You mentioned creep feeding in a recent response to a question I had re: feeding pigs, not sheep. I admit to struggling when thinking of ways to execute this on our end, however, this new information has sparked ideas!


  2. Marcello says:

    Do you use high tensile wire for some of your fence? I heard that pigs don’t see well enough to see the metal wires.

    • Yes, in our case there are trees, bushes and stone walls just outside the high tensile and they see the fence quite well. Additionally there are fence posts along the line and they key into that. Pig eyes are similar to mine, that is to say near sighted. I believe that the thinking on ‘not seeing the fence’ comes more from animals running, especially with horses. The pigs don’t run much. Mostly they amble along. They learn where the fences are. For our interior paddock divisions we primarily have the low tensile polywire as shown in the photo above which the pigs do see quite well. I experimented with flagging the wires but it really isn’t necessary if there is some sort of other visual marker along the fence line, such as the trees or stone walls, and especially not a problem once the pigs learn the boundaries.

      • Guy Stuyt says:

        Walter we are preparing for heavy snow soon 2-3 ft or more.
        If the lower wire/s of our’ electric fenceing become buried in snow will those still above the snowline continue to shock effectvely (five wire fence). Will a hot-ground system be necessary?
        Many thanks for providing such a terrific forum.


        • It may do fine with the snow. I like to have the ability to disconnect the bottom wire if it starts to drag down the system. You could disconnect the bottom wire and connect it to ground – that works well. I find that in the winter animals pretty much want to stay in their home spaces. We disconnect most of our fencing during the cold months so that the power can focus on the inner fencing for the winter paddocks.

  3. David says:

    Quadratic Bezier Curve or higher order than that? I was just reading up on them, interesting.

    Are you worried about strength in a flat ceiling? What span are you doing? I always think of concrete as so brittle you can’t do something flat with it. Ferrocement?

    • Strength was a big concern, especially since I had never done a flat ceiling before. Previously I relied on the arch structure to transfer the forces to the walls and then down to the ground. Thus designing a flat ceiling actually represented an interesting challenge for beam design. In the cottage we poured a very low half curve span which visually looks flat but isn’t. The span is only 12′ by 8′ and it has attachment on three sides so as ceilings go it is pretty simple. We’re using Basalt rebar and mesh plus the usual fiber in this pour. The reason for the basalt is this is a high corrosion area so we’re shifting away from plain steel. Our other ceilings are essentially ferrocement with a cap pour. For example, in the Chiller, Cutter and Cold Kitchen, the initial ferrocement provides the strength to carry the liquid concrete that is then poured on to form the thicker arch which will be able to support the weight of many hanging carcasses.

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