This is an improved design for a permanent sow farrowing shelter. We built this using scrap wood, the only things purchased were the metal for the roof which cost around $50.00 purchased as imperfections which saved a few dollars and the 4- 4x4 treated posts for the corners. If someone were to purchase the wood, it would cost around $72.00, which would include the nails and lag bolts used to secure the 2x6 boards on the bottom so that the sows can't pop them off rubbing against them. The improvement I speak of is on the bottom. Our previously built shelters on our other farm had straight closed sides, and on occasion we would have a sow lay on a piglet accidentally, because the piglets couldn't get out of the way of "BIG MAMA", so this time we thought about what we could do to improve this issue for future piglets. The new farrowing shed has 2x6's that will be removed and a 3 sided 30 " tall box with a hinged metal roof can be attached, so that the piglets can get into a safe space. It will have a heat source and the hinged roof will allow us to access the piglets to dip navels in iodine and care for them without stressing the sow out.
Commercial industry and some smaller farms use farrowing crates, photo below,
I personally DO NOT like these, I think they are cruel to the sow, they can only stand, sit or lie down. They are not even able to turn around. I do however understand that for the commercial grower it is about making a profit and therefore they are used to prevent the sows from lying on the litter and therefore a loss of profit. Up to 20% of pigs lost are due to them being crushed by the sow. My goal is to keep the piglets alive too, but with the use of a more natural rearing of the piglets and allowing the sow to move freely. The farrowing shelter above has an allowance of 6-8" between the bottom board and the ground on all sides, this should help tremendously allowing piglets to move out of the way.