Pig buildings and housing

Use this information to optimise the indoor environment for your pigs. It covers the fundamental principles of controlled environments, as well as building design, systems and equipment.

Why pig housing is important

Building design has a significant impact on the welfare, performance and health of your pigs. There are many designs, systems and management solutions on which you can base your housing designs:

  • The market for your product (does your market require an assurance standard with limits on building designs?)
  • Existing infrastructure and site features
  • Planning and permitting constraints and implications
  • Ensuring elements of future proofing e.g. applying Best Available Techniques (BAT)
  • Logistics of inputs and outputs

These will impact your choice of structure and flooring (slatted or straw-based), and can affect the environmental conditions in which pigs live.

Pig buildings and associated technology survey 

In 2019, we conducted a survey to establish the condition of pig buildings in England, including producers’ attitudes to investment in new buildings and associated technology.

The results indicate that, despite more than a third of pig houses being over 20 years old, there has been, unsurprisingly, little investment in pig houses over the past five years.

Read the full survey report for an overview of the current state of pig housing and investment, estimated expenditure, barriers to investment and the future approach to farming and production.

Pig buildings and associated technology survey findings

Explore aspects of the controlled environment in more detail across the following pages.

Temperature and heating

Growth and food intake are highly dependent on temperature, this is especially important for piglets and weaners. Use this information to understand how feed intake, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and growth are linked to temperature.

Temperature and heating

Air quality

A base level of ‘fresh air’ ventilation is required in all livestock buildings to maintain the health and performance of both animals and stockpersons. Find out which major pollutants must be limited and why.

Air quality in pig buildings


Light has an impact on the reproductive and growth performance of pigs, as well as the welfare of both pigs and stockpeople. It also contributes to energy use on farm. Use this information to decide how best to light your indoor or outdoor pig unit.

Lighting for pig buildings


This page provides guidance for pig farmers on water system set-up and maintenance, the importance and methods of maintaining water quality and how to avoid waste. It also explores water supply management.

Water guidance for pig farmers

Control systems

Control systems help to ensure that temperature and ventilation in buildings are maintained, which in turn will have a positive impact on pig performance and reduce energy waste.

Control systems

Balcony systems

Balcony systems are an option for increasing space for pigs, which can improve animal welfare. Also known as a two-level pen or plateau, they are already used in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Ireland and some farms in the UK. 

Balcony systems

Useful links

Controlled environment for livestock guide

Ventilating pig buildings

Pig buildings and associated technology survey

Code of practice for the welfare of pigs

Key figures for pig accommodation in England – legislative requirements

Best Available Techniques (BAT) reference document for the intensive rearing of poultry or pigs

GrowSave: helping farmers and growers save energy