Sowsalito Hotel is our pig barn.Intended for the year-round, supervised birthing of our pregnant sows, and used by the entire herd during the winter months for warmth and protection.
In late October or early November, as the weather turns and the snow deepens, pigs are gathered from the pasture and live in Sowsalito Hotel for about 4 months, until they can return to pasture once again.
Sowsalito has approx.10,000 square feet of indoorliving area and approx. 20,000 square feet of outdoor roaming area. The barn is oriented North/South, with 20 foot high ceilings and open airflow. The foundation of Sowsalito Hotel, as well as the holding area atour abattoir,Chilcotin Harvest, were both designed using the Korean system of Deep Litter flooring. This is an award-winning system created by Master Cho. It isa complex and unique, self managed flooring system, which has incredible benefits to both animals and humans.
The Deep Litter floor is excavated down to a depth of 4 feet.The entire floor is layeredwithlong log rails which are approx. 6 inches in diameter. These logs provide the necessary subterranean air flow.The logs are coveredin a layer of sticks which have been pre-soaked in red wine.
Next, a concoction of wood debris, course wood waste (from a mill), earth, organic spelt hauls (which are inoculated with indigenous micro organisms), an abundant amount of charcoal and finally sea salt is mixed and stirred together with a backhoe and a dump truck then scooped up by an excavator to fill up the remainder of the 4-foot foundation. This is a significant amount of material; approximately 40,000 cubic feet.
This mixture simulates a forest floor and is full of microbes and microorganisms which continuously decompose waste. Deep Litter floors have many advantages:
- Pigs have an incredible sense of smell and being natural diggers they are enticed to root down to the source of the sweet-smelling wine soaked sticks. As the mixture stays perfectly dry it always caves in on itself. This has many benefits;
A)The pigs busy themselves with this activity thereby avoiding boredom and confrontations with other nearby pigs and B)They bury their own manure.
- They bury into the deep litter as bedding for warmth at night.
- The ground is soft and comfortable to walk on (the reverse of most concrete floored commercial pig barns).
The animals stay dry, clean and comfortable.
- With the abundance of micro organisms there are no pathogens and therefore the barn smells clean & fresh. There is never manure odour or a burning in the eyes from methane,which are evident in typical hog operations.
Deep Litter is never mucked out, it is simply replenished. The unique system works in harmony with the environment. The soft floor acts like a natural compost, creating warmth, which is ideal in the winter months.The benefits last approximately 10 years, when the Deep Litter would be removed and replaced.
Pigs are happy, friendly, active, warm and content.Clean animals and a clean, odour-free barn. In the long run, it’s much less work for us.