The environment in a hog barn will determine pig health, and ventilation is the key driver, Wagster says. A good environment equates into a healthy herd, and by making maintenance a regular part of your cleanout process, you give every group the best chance possible.

“The better the environment those pigs are presented with, the less issue you will have with them,” he says.

Mike Terpstra, service technician with Longhorn Cattle & Swine Confinement says general ventilation is important not only for air quality but the life of your barn. The pit produces gases that will deteriorate your barn without proper ventilation. Terpstra says he sees too many producers try to save money on LP gas by turning their ventilation down, or their pit fans off during the winter. Those dollars are eating away at their barn, in addition to creating an unhealthy environment for the pigs and workers. It impacts the entire electrical system and will deteriorate anything that’s not stainless steel. His assessment: Those few bucks just aren’t worth it.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Jack Kirk, owner of Longhorn Cattle & Swine Confinement, says. He notes producers should expect to get at least 10 years of use on gates and 20 years on concrete slats. He has seen barns from the 1970s that are still in use and in great condition. Producers can easily turn 15-year barns into 30-year barns with routine maintenance and a few preventative measures.

Follow these steps to ensure your barn stays viable:

  • Visually inspect the barn.
  • Look at feeders and feedlines
  • Check welds that could be working loose
  • Check t-bolts or slat mounts
  • Maintain bait boxes
  • Write it all down

Making maintenance part of a regular routine and having a daily punch list will make the work easier and keep the barn in optimal condition, which will ultimately put money in your pocket.

“If you’re not taking care of your building,” Terpstra says, “you’re just knocking years off the life of it.”  


This investment will generate revenue. Keeping your pig barns in good working order means they will continue to pay you long after they’re paid off. 

Read part one