Super-Efficient Outdoor Oven and Portable Pig Pen for Pastured Swine
By Our Friends At Farm Show | Jan 28, 2013
Barrel-Style Outdoor Oven Heats Up Fast
Max and Eva Edleson are firing up wood-fired barrel ovens for cooking and entertaining. The hybrid ovens combine the best qualities of steel barrel stoves with traditional earthen or brick ovens. They heat up fast with relatively little wood and hold the heat for baking.
The secret to the fast heat is the firebox beneath the metal oven with heat rising through an air chamber surrounding the barrel. The secret to the extended heat is the brick, stone or cob jacket that surrounds the fire chamber. Excess heat not absorbed by the oven is absorbed by the jacket mass. By the time the fuel is burning down, the jacket is radiating stored heat back at the barrel oven, extending the baking process.
“It takes a small amount of wood, thanks to the heat jacket design and mass,” Eva says. “We build them for home-owners to use in backyards for entertaining and baking for their own families.”
In addition to building ovens, they also sell the basic hardware. All parts except the barrels are made in the couple’s metal shop from raw steel. The door is an insulated sandwich of metal and ceramic wool insulation. Barrels are of the thickest gauge available, kiln-burned and sandblasted to eliminate any paint or other residue. Exposed parts are coated with high temperature paint to prevent rust and extend life.
‘Tractors’ Make Raising Pastured Pigs Easy
Ask Jim Criger of Springfield, Missouri, why he invented his pig tractors and he’ll tell you, “My pigs got out, and I couldn’t catch them. It’s miserable to chase pigs.”
His sturdy, mobile 8-by-16-foot enclosures were modeled after chicken tractors. “I just made ’em bigger and stronger,” Criger says.
The sides of each 4-foot-high pen are made from 1/8-inch-thick angle iron fitted with cattle panels. The sides are welded onto a bottom frame made of 6-inch-wide flange beams on the front and back, and skids made from 2-by-2 angle iron with a notch cut in the end and bent up to a 45-degree angle for easy pulling.
The front of each pen has a full door that opens out with a built-in half door that opens downward.
The back of the tractor is a large sheet of treated plywood attached to the frame. Another sheet of treated plywood goes on top of the back half of the tractor, providing shelter for the pigs. The remaining space is left open to provide fresh air and sunlight.
The beam at the front of the tractor is 2 inches deep and doubles as a feed trough. A tow hook is mounted on the front and back beams so the tractor can be hooked to a car or truck via a tow strap and pulled to fresh ground.
Assembly of the pig pens is fairly straightforward: Criger lays the pattern out on the floor of his barn, cuts the material to the correct lengths, and welds it all together. He currently has 10 Red Wattle pigs in pig tractors on his farm. Whenever the pigs need fresh forage, Criger simply hooks the tractors up to his car and pulls them to a new location. He sells his pig tractor with prices starting at $899. For more information, write Jim Criger, 2986 N. Farm Road 103, Springfield, MO 65803, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can visit his website at PigTractors.com.
— Klaire Bruce
Both articles reprinted with permission from Farm Show Magazine.
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