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Does keeping the pen dry significantly reduce odor?  RSS feed

 
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This is my first time raising pigs. I have 2 in a roughly 18x18' pen. The smell is pretty terrible sometimes. I lined the bottom with logs/sticks and covered with woodchips and other mulch and I clean the poo out regularly, however it still stinks. I've found that after rain is by far the worst. I've also seen some videos on youtube of people using logs on the bottom covered with a very thick layer of mulch (rice husks, banana leaf mulch, woodchips). Their pens have a concrete foundation to block moisture and a roof to keep it dry and they say there is basically no smell. This makes good logical sense to me, but before I invest in putting a roof over this whole thing, I'm wondering, in your experience, does keeping the pen dry significantly reduce the odor? Thanks!
 
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Sounds like a deep litter system,like I use with my chickens.
I have a roof over my whole run, and no smell.
Maybe rig a tarp, see if that works to dry it out and ameliorate the smell.
If that works, a roof structure with a loft for storage might be worthwhile.
 
John Natoli
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Thanks William, that's a great idea, especially getting some more use out of it with storage.
 
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Smell equals lost nitrates. I haven't raised pigs. I did have a small pen with goats in it. I found that a mixture of dry sawdust and powder dry soil, sprinkled over the area regularly gobbled up the smell. Manure will eventually be incorporated with soil anyway, so it just makes a little more material to deal with in the end.
 
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indeed the dryer your pen is the less odor you will have.

Our hog area is pretty large and I do keep the poo raked up but if it rains before I move the manure to the compost heap, it smells pretty piggy for a day or two.
One of the things that smells the worst is the urine, so you really want that to soak in and stay dry.

Redhawk
 
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Feeding pigs garlic eliminates the smell.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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My hogs will not eat garlic nor onions or peppers. We have tried it and if they don't eat it, it becomes compost in their pasture.

Redhawk
 
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I feed my pigs 2% food grade diatomaceous earth and have noticed a significant decease in the smell. I also sprinkle it on the raked up poop piles. The flies are almost eliminated as well.  You will always have some smell with the urine, but by creating a healthy intestinal tract with D.E. the poop just tends to smell less offensive.
 
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This is great. Will you post an update on here if you do the deep litter/roof method? We are going to get pigs in the spring & I've been reading about deep litter for pigs and wondering if anyone is doing it. We use it with great success with our ducks, geese, and chickens, so I see no reason why it wouldn't work with pigs. The logs is smart so that you get the necessary amount of carbon.
 
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Location: Sudbury ON, Canada
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don't forget that deep litter really can get very deep, several feet in some cases! so if you do build a roof structure remember to make it tall enough to accommodate this, otherwise you will be hitting your head! a lot!
 
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Location: Senegal, ~600mm rain, 9 mo. dry season
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We use deep litter for our pigs, and it really works!  If the litter is happy, there is no smell, no flies, as advertised!

That being said, it's perhaps a misnomer to say that the litter has to be dry.  To function well, the litter has to be alive.  You want a high-carbon litter that has a thriving community of fungi and bacteria that can break down whatever manure and urine that hits the litter as fast as possible.  For both our chickens and pigs, we've found that this means that we want to keep the litter damp.  We have a long dry season, and we regularly water our litter in the chicken pens to keep it moist enough to function well.   We do also inoculate our litter from time to time (with lactic bacteria, fermented bran, fermented plant juice, etc.)

The pig systems we have are recent additions, so we are still playing around with them.  We have them covered about 90%, but that 10% that is uncovered hasn't been a problem, even though we are in the middle of the rainy season.  The litter, being deep (and recently built) seem to absorb all that rain quite well.  The fungal community there is very healthy.  I imagine that in the dry season we will do some sprinkling from time to time to keep moisture levels high enough, unless the pig urine is adequate.

It is, though, imperative that things don't get too wet.  As soon as that happens, the litter stops being a living litter and starts being mud.  We've had that happen once with a leaky roof and also in a pen that was overstocked.



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Happy litter
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Unhappy litter (overstocking)
 
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yes, I have a tarp and also deep litter, adding about a cubic yard of carbon a week (rough mulch). I have a bigger tarp now. It's hard to tell because of the angle, but the tarp covers 80% of the pen.

 
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