DIY Pig Trough

This DIY pig trough guide will teach you how to make a nearly indestructible pig feeder.

| April 2016

  • Be sure to have the bucket secure when measuring and making cuts.
    Photo courtesy Voyageur Press
  • These designs are large enough for around 6 pounds of food.
    Photo courtesy Voyageur Press
  • The PVC pipe adds stability to the base of the bucket.
    Photo courtesy Voyageur Press
  • These pig feeders are built to withstand a beating.
    Photo courtesy Voyageur Press
  • In "5-Gallon Bucket Book," Chris Peterson offers projects that are wonderful additions to your yard and garden, tools to care for your animals, useful innovations, handy home helpers, and even family-oriented designs!
    Cover courtesy Voyageur Press

Five-gallon buckets are ubiquitous and cheap. But did you know they can also be hacked, hod-rodded, reengineered, and upcycled to create dozens of useful DIY project for homeowners, gardeners, small-scale farmers and preppers? The 5-Gallon Bucket Book (Voyageur Press, 2015) contains over 60 ideas that help keep these buckets from ending up in landfills. With simple step-by-step instructions as well as parts lists and images of the completed projects, this book makes certain that you'll have fun and love the results.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Five-Gallon Bucket Book.

Pig Trough

Raising pigs means feeding pigs. Feeding pigs can be a messy, time-consuming business. Make it less so with this feeder. The idea here is to use the natural curve of the five-gallon bucket to capture pig food that might have been spread out of the feeder by the pig and therefore wasted. The bucket is also large enough to hold a day’s feed for an adult pig or two (usually around six pounds), meaning less labor in filling the feeder. It is the ideal shape for a pig’s snout and well-suited to different heights and maturities.

The durability of a five-gallon bucket is also ideal for a pig trough. Adorable as pigs can be, they are not exactly graceful. Any trough needs to put up with a beating at dinnertime. It also has to be stable so that hungry pigs don’t overturn the feeder and waste a whole lot of pig food. The trough design here ensures stability with a PVC pipe base that is as close to indestructible as you can get. It works like a charm with the shape of the trough, making it extremely hard to tip over the unit even if you wanted to.

Unlike other common materials, such as wood and concrete, bucket plastic is not absorbent — which means that all the liquid and food meant for your pigs stays in the trough rather than being sucked up by dry material. That also accounts for fewer accumulated smells over time — always a big issue when raising pigs (especially for pig farmers who visit their charges every day). Overall, this trough is inexpensive to make, easy to put together, and will last a good long time.

Even the best feeders are only vessels. Keep in mind that pigs get the most out of a feeder into which the right food is put. Pigs, like many animals, prefer a varied diet. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to give your pigs any supplements; they should get all the vitamins and nutrients from the food you provide. They also need clean water with their food — a good reason to make two of these troughs and fill the second with water.

What You'll Need


• Sharpie
• Straightedge
• Cordless drill and bits
• Jigsaw
• Small crescent wrench


• 5-gal. bucket with lid
• Clamp or weight
• (6) 2-inch sheetmetal screw
• 2 1/2-inch PVC pipe (38 inch section)
• Hot glue gun with glue or duct tape
• (8) 1/4-inch roundhead bolts and nuts, with matching rubber washers

How You Make It

1. Lay the bucket on its side with the lid in place, and weight the inside or clamp the bucket to the work surface so that it won’t roll when you mark the cut lines.

2. Measure 6 inches up from the work surface on each end of the bucket, and mark a straight horizontal line through each of those points. Extend the lines around to the sides of the bucket and connect the lines on each end.

3. Drill a 1/2-inch access hole at one end and cut along the marked line with a jigsaw.

4. Drill pilot holes through the lid rims of each bucket half. Screw the buckets together end to end, through these holes.

5. Saw the PVC pipe into 9-1/2-inch sections. Sit the buckets on a flat, level work surface. Butt a pipe section up to one side of one bucket half, running parallel with the bucket. Tack it in place with duct tape or dabs of hot glue. Drill two 1/4-inch pilot holes spaced evenly apart, through the inside of the bucket and into the pipe. Bolt the pipe to the bucket with the bolts, locating the nut on the pipe side. Repeat with the three remaining pipe sections. Clean the trough and place it in the pigpen.

For more projects from The 5-Gallon Bucket Book, try:

Build a Bucket Sawhorse
Build a Homemade Camping Toilet
Learn to Make a Manual Washing Machine

Reprinted with permission from The 5-Gallon Bucket Book by Chris Peterson and published by Voyageur Press, 2015. Buy this book from our store: The Five-Gallon Bucket Book.



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