Build a Mulefoot Pig House

Reader Contribution by Hank Will and Editor-In-Chief
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<p>Last Saturday was one of those days when I woke up knowing exactly what I was going to do. I had been mulling pig shelter designs for the past couple of weeks … this mulling usually takes place around 2:07 a.m. when the dogs join the local coyote chorus and wake me up. What I decided on was a low, floorless shed that would be relatively easy to move around and that could be stuffed with straw for our little <a title=”Mulefoot” href=”/blogs/mulefoot-hogs-in-osage-county.aspx?blogid=184″ target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#0000ff”>Mulefoot</font>
</a> pigs to make into whatever kind of bed they desired.</p>
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<p>During one of those sleepless early morning sessions, I mentally inventoried all the used lumber accumulated and left behind by the farm’s former owner. My initial reaction to all the wood was negative … the stacks are messy, and I loathed the idea of removing them from the barn and burning them. But that particular sleepless morning, I realized that we had everything in the barn that I would need to build the pig palace … everything except the roofing, that is. But as luck would have it, the sagging metal-roofed shed that the insurance company made me push in (it was a liability hazard, don’t you know) was still in a heap inside its limestone wall foundation, and most of the 12-foot tin roofing panels were relatively intact.</p>
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<p>In a nutshell, this pig house began with a topless shipping crate turned upside down. I cut away part of the front framing to make room for the opening and clad it with some exterior-grade plywood I found … it was painted green on one side, so I installed it green side out. I screwed three purlin-like affairs to the bottom of the crate (roof side) to support and provide purchase for the metal roof. After careful consideration, I decided that 6-foot-long pieces of roofing would be ideal. I used this as an excuse to purchase my first power sheet-metal snips. They only had an el-cheapo version at <a title=”Tractor Supply” href=”http://www.tractorsupply.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay_10551_10001_36342_-1______?rFlag=true&cFlag=1″ target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#0000ff”>Tractor Supply</font>
</a>, so try as I might to add another <a title=”Milwaukee” href=”http://www.milwaukeetool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_27_40028_-1_733102_192220_192137″ target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#0000ff”>Milwaukee</font>
</a> tool to my chest, I paid less than $50 for a more or less disposable version. It worked just fine though, and who knows how many times I will really need to cut a lot of sheet metal.</p>
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<p>Kate gave me a hand with this project, and she was invaluable as an extra set of hands, photographer, general morale booster and moving contractor. Since I haven’t had the Kubota loader tractor out of the shed for a while, it is kind of buried … lazy old me didn’t want to un-bury it to move the completed pig house to the pig paddock. So with Kate’s help again, we tipped the entire house onto a little foldable garden cart called the <a title=”Fold-A-Cart” href=”http://www.foldatools.com/viewItem.aspx?s=1808890009″ target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#0000ff”>Fold-A-Cart</font>
</a> and even though the house’s weight caused the cart’s tires to compress to almost flat, we rolled the shelter into place in no time.</p>
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<p>After stuffing the house with straw and placing the pigs’ dog-crate inside, the growing Mulefoot hogs began to investigate. By the time the temperature had dipped below freezing, they were nestled, four-abreast, inside the dog crate, inside their new house, with the straw all neatly arranged.</p>
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<p>Who ever heard of building a palace for $49.99 and a couple of boxes of fasteners? In time, we plan to freshen up the green paint and paint the roof with <a title=”Rustoleum” href=”http://rustoleum.com/” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#0000ff”>Rustoleum</font>
</a> … Kate</p>
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<a href=”http://www.grit.com/biographies/oscar-h-will” target=_self>Hank Will</a>
<em> raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper’s Farmer magazines. Connect with him on </em>
<a title=Google+ href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/117459637128204205101/posts” target=_blank rel=author>Google+</a>.</p>

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