A Balmy 79°F
For winter paddocks we build deep bedding packs of wood chips† and hay. In the picture above a grower pig is checking my checking of the long probe checking the temperature of the bedding pack where she sleeps.
The air temperature was 27°F and it had been 21°F last night.
Two feet down the bedding pack was a balmy 79°F.
About 3″ below the surface it was 94°F.
A pig’s normal internal body temperature is 103°F.
Their surface temperature is 70°F.
My surface temperature is 71°F.
My internal body temperature is 95°F. I’m a bit cold hearted.
As compost piles go the deep bedding packs are rather thin but they still produce heat and break down the wood chips and fibers through the winter producing both food and belly heat for the pigs. At a deeper depth of pack the composting action would go faster as the pile would heat up into the optimal range of 95°F to 125°F however this slower composting is fine for what we’re doing. Winter lasts a long time here in the central mountains of northern Vermont so the bed needs to last similarly. By spring there will be little left and that will go to fertilize our orchards and land.
An added benefit of the composting action is it acts as predigestion for the pigs improving the digestibility of the wood chips and hay that makes up the deep bedding pack. The pigs can eat their bedding, and do.
Steam rises gently from the disturbed pack as I snuggle in with the pigs and check out their bed. It’s toasty warm and I can see why they like it so much.
Outdoors: 35°F/21°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/60°F
Daily Spark: I live in paradise. I vacation elsewhere.
†Note that our wood chips are brush and whole tree so they have more nitrogen than what one would get from wood shavings at a saw mill and thus compost as is.