Looks a lot like a topper for a pickup doesn’t It? There is a perfectly good reason for that so let me tell you about it and you will understand why it looks that way.
A few weeks back when fall weather began to move in just a little and thankfully take the edge off the summer heat I started thinking of the things needed to be done to prepare everything at least as reasonably possible to insure the livestock had a place to get in out of the weather. You may know me well enough by now to know I am not talking a heated or even totally enclosed area to give them complete protection from the elements. We have tried to have breeds that are hardy and able to fend for themselves in reasonable situations and with the cattle that is not an issue. Not only does the covered feeding area provide them with protection from the rain and snow when it arrives but they again also have access to areas that are still heavily wooded and can find low spots there to get out of the wind as well. The chickens have their coop and it has served the purpose for years and they have done just fine so I don’t have to concern myself with them. The two pigs we bought a few weeks back however are a little different issue.
I am well aware that pigs live in the wild and can do quite well without my help but it seems to be a part of me to do what I can, again within reason, to provide for the livestock. Pigs are predominately shorthaired. And yes I know that layer of fat they keep on the outside provides a layer of insulation but I have that as well and I still get cold. There are a couple of depressions where trees were uprooted and they can make use of those or burrow up in that line of downed trees along the back fence and do quite well. And they may opt for one of those options anyway even though I have provided housing for them.
I like to be able to go out in the morning and do a quick check to make sure all are present and accounted for and if they are piled up in either a hole in the ground or that wood pile I can’t easily do that. So I went looking around for a quick and easy way to offer them protection and not have to spend a lot of time or money to do so. As I turned from the hog lot and started back to the barn to asses available materials my eyes landed on an old topper for a pickup that I had hung on the back wall of the barn just to get it out of the way. I have not used it for oh say eight years. Tried to use it for first one thing then another a couple of times but it just didn’t work out. Not only that but it is red. Just doesn’t blend in with nature too well. So what to do?
Ok here is what I did. A couple of cans of Wal-Mart’s cheapest spray paint took care of the red. Pauline would have preferred forest green but they did not have that so we have black. Black is a nature color right? Then moved it out to the hog lot directly behind the barn adjacent to the loading chute which is connected to the hay feeder. I can check on everything in one stop plus the barn blocks most of the north wind. Also it is a low area that does not grow grass due to the livestock traffic and I can attach one side to the loading chute which saved me having to come up with legs or supports on that side. Yes they are small enough at the moment that it could have been just sat on the ground and the back door for it blocked up and they could have used it as is. But they are going to grow. By the time they get to even 150 to 200 lbs. not only would they be moving it around trying to get in and out of it or climbing on top of it and the thought of a large pig or hog if you prefer stuck where he broke thru the top of this fiberglass topper is not appealing either. I wound up taking two t post on the other side for legs then cutting some 4×4 pieces I had laying around to length and putting them under those corners as well. Screws through the top from the lip of the topper to anchor it to them. Throw some old hay from the feeder area in and it is done.
As you can see the fence and chute were not a 90 degree angle so I had to fill with short lengths of log and threw on some hay to stop drafts. Also blocked off the open side with heavy large log pieces in hopes they won’t push them out and called it a day. Judging by the nests they have burrowed out in the hay I think they are using it but to be honest I do not go out in the middle of the night to see. I have provided shelter if they choose not to use it is up to them.
Look around your place you to may find there is a lot of things that can be used in situations they were not originally created for.