Electric Pig Brooders
OLIVER F. GOEN, Extension Animal Husbandman
A. M. PETTIS, Farm Electrification Specialist
Every year many pigs born in Florida are destined never to
reach the market. Pig losses are usually due to crushing or
chilling when very young. Even in Florida's mild climate an
electric pig brooder will pay big dividends. It can be built at
small cost and it will save one pig per litter on the average. The
brooder furnishes heat for the pigs and the light attracts them
under the brooder where they won't get mashed by the sow.
Here are plans for building several types of electric brooders.
All have been used successfully.
The brooder shown in Fig. 1 is designed to fit into the Unm-
versity of Florida portable farrowing house described in Circular
92. It is easily constructed of No. 2 lumber at low cost.
Fig. 1.-A rectangle brooder for pigs.
DIA. LESS I"
Fig. la.-Details of rectangle brooder.
2 pieces 1" x 6" x 36"
4 pieces 1" x 6" x 18"
2 pieces 1" x 4" x 37"
2 pieces 1" x 4" x 10%"
2 pieces 1" x 4" x 11"
1 piece 37" x 18" plywood
For holding sides together
For holding sides together
Metal lamp shade, shade holder, 100 W bulb, brass socket, rubber plug,
and 10' rubber sheathed cable, size 16/2 wire.
The brooder shown in Fig. 2 is very similar to the previous
brooder, except it is shaped like a triangle. It can be used
satisfactorily in the corner of most farrowing pens. Use guard
rails to keep the sow away. The electric requirements are the
same as for the previous brooder.
Fig. 2.-A triangle brooder.
Fig. 2a.-Details of triangle brooder.
LUMBER NEEDED PURPOSE
2 pieces 1" x 4" x 5112" Front
2 pieces 1" x 5" x 36" Side
2 pieces 1" x 5" x 35" Side
3 pieces 1" x 4" x 112" Holds sides
Plywood or crating 36" x 36" cut diagonally to make two brooder lids
The brooder shown in Fig. 3 is known as the hover type.
Guard rails must be used to keep the sow away. It should be
suspended by baling wire above the bedding, so the pigs can
enter or leave at will. Caution: Cut a 1" or larger hole in the
tin at the top center for the electric wires. Pass the wire
through a small board nailed to the tin as shown in the picture.
This prevents the wire from being cut by the tin.
Fig. 3.-The hover-type brooder.
.. *'- -^H
Advantages of enclosed and hover-type brooders:
1. Hold body heat of pigs if electricity goes off.
2. Use small amount of electricity.
Disadvantages of enclosed and hover-type brooders:
1. Require more materials and labor to build than a heat-
2. Harder to sterilize (a brooder should be sterilized before
3. Cost more than a heat-lamp brooder.
Fig. 3a.-Details of hover-type brooder.
MATERIALS NEEDED PURPOSE
2 pieces lumber 1" x 6" x 18" Ends
(Cut at 450 angle as shown in picture)
1 small board to protect wire going through tin
1 piece tin 22" x 36" Top and sides
(Bent as shown)
Use electric facilities previously described without the shade.
The infra-red heat lamp shown on the cover makes the simplest
type of brooder. The 250 W heat lamp should be the outdoor
(pyrex glass) type so water striking the glass will not break it.
No hover is needed with this brooder. Pass the electric wire
through a small board as shown so the height may be adjusted
PROPER HEIGHT OF BULB is 18" to 24" above the bedding.
Guard rails must be used to keep the sow away.
Caution: Use a porcelain socket as shown, because an ordinary
metal socket can't stand the high temperature. Use 10' rubber
sheathed cable, size 16/2 wire.
Advantages of heat-lamp brooders:
1. Easy to build and install.
2. Low investment cost and long life.
3. Easily sterilized.
Disadvantages of heat-lamp brooders:
1. No stored heat if electricity goes off or bulb burns out.
(Life of bulb is about 5,000 hours).
2. Uses more electricity than enclosed type.
Suggestions for Successful Pig Brooding
Always use bedding in brooders. Wood shavings, straw or
similar materials are suitable for bedding. Place pigs under
brooder as they are born so they will get warm and dry quickly.
If weather is unusually cold, block entrance, then place pigs in-
side. Allow pigs to get out several times in the first few hours
to nurse. After pigs have been let out and returned to brooder
two or three times they will have learned to enter and leave the
brooder on their own.
Lights should be left on continuously for at least a week, and
longer during cold weather.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
University of Florida, Florida State University and United States Department of
Agriculture, cooperating. H. G. Clayton, Director