Feeding pigs will never be as fun for you as it is for the pigs. But with the right setup, you'll save yourself labor and money. Dropped feed tends to get trampled and wasted; it can wind up costing you a significant amount of money over the long term. A sturdily built and convenient feeder can make your daily pig feeding much easier and your feed expenditures lower.
An overfilled feed trough is going to cause spills; you can't expect to fill it to the top and not waste feed. So plan on a trough that's large enough for your messy eaters to eat without knocking feed over the edges of the trough. The average adult full-size pig needs to eat 4 to 6 pound of grain every day; use that to figure a size for a feed trough large enough to easy contain the daily ration your pigs need to survive. You can feed multiple pigs out of the same trough, so long as the pigs are not aggressive with one another, leaving weaker animals no access to food. You are better off with a feed trough too big than one that is not big enough -- so decide how large of a feeder you will need before you start thinking about building one.
Pigs are tough on their feeders, so your feeder needs to be tough. Metal feeders are ideal for pigs because they can take a lot of abuse and do not appeal to pigs' omnivorous appetites. You can make feeders out of heavy plastic or wood, though those materials tend to wear out sooner than metal.
Get Creative With It
The easiest feeders you can build are the ones you have to put the least amount of effort into building. Old sinks and old metal bathtubs can serve as readymade pig feeders after you remove the faucets and plug or screen the drain holes. Metal drums, barrels and water heaters can be cut in half and used as instant feed troughs; just make sure to sand any rough edges down.
Pig Feeder Placement
Most people choose to place feeders alongside a fence to allow supplying the feeder without having to actually enter the pen. If you go that route, use heavy-duty fasteners to attach the trough to the fence if you want to make sure it stays put. Pigs will nudge and push unsecured feeders around the pen while they're trying to scarf the food inside.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.