You may have never heard about deep-litter hog pens before, but at the Guam Department of Agriculture's Dededo Breeding Facility the enclosures are properly secured with cyclone fencing. And extension associates for the University of Guam Mark Acosta and Jaquay Soriano say pens can be made of just about any strong material. However, what goes inside the pen, to absorb animal urine and feces, is the most important thing.

Acosta says litter can range from dried grass to coconut frawns or leaves - basically any natural and absorbent material will do. "The benefits for the deep-litter hog pen would be that they're always in a clean environment. We're not using any water to wash down the pens, so it's conserving water for the farmers and economically too they're saving money," he explained.

Once the litter is soiled, it isn't thrown away. In fact, Soriano says it's a valuable resource when composted. The very rich compost is ready to be applied to plants and seedlings. "We're basically taking the compost and putting it into our plants as a soil amendment, as well as taking the animal waste and filtering it from getting into the aquifer by leaching," he told KUAM News.

The deep-litter hog pen system can also be used in other farm animal enclosures, like for chickens. And by using the deep litter pen method, both associates say it's an inexpensive and useful alternative to traditional farming practices. "We don't want people to buy dry litter," continued Acosta. "We want them to use the use whatever resources they already have on the farm or their home." Soriano also added, "Through conservation we want to use already what's in the farm and incorporate that into the dry litter hog pens."

To learn more about deep-litter hog pens, you can call 735-2080.