This is a follow up to a previous post, Pig Penning Day; the day we brought the piglets home.
Using an electric fence for pigs makes it easy to expand their pasture area
Once the piglets respect the electric fence we are able to expand their area, giving them pasture to eat, root, and room to roam. The process to put up an electric fence for pigs is fairly straightforward:
- Determine how much pasture they should have
- Put up the new fence line
- Remove the boundaries from the training area
- Give them time to discover their new pasture
Determine how much pasture they should have
I typically give them an area that needs to be revitalized. Ideally, the area will be large enough for them to root all season but have the area ‘rooted up’ by the end of the year. This approach enriches the soil while reducing the amount of labor needed to prepare the area for reseeding the following year.
Specifically, the pigs will eliminate the need for me to plow the area the following spring. I will disc and harrow the area before reseeding.
Put up the new fence line
I use 3/8″ fiberglass poles and Gallagher Turbo Wire for my temporary fencing needs. The poles come in varying thicknesses and lengths and the wire comes in various lengths. There are certainly other manufacturers available, but these brands have served me well, especially the Turbo Wire. Gallagher’s wire has lasted twice as long as the others I have tried.
I start by putting in the corner posts and stretching the wire around the perimeter.
As you can see, I use an old golf bag to carry my fence supplies.
Once the posts are in place I run the wire around the perimeter. I use a clove hitch to secure the wire to each post. I slip the loose clove hitch over the top of the post then I slide it down to the appropriate height.
Once I have the wire where I want it, I tighten the hitch. I pull the wire taught as it comes to the post, then I take the slack out of the hitch. Finally, I pull the hitch tight by pulling on the wire that comes from the post. This sounds more complicated than it is.
The wire coming to the post (the right side) is taught while the wire coming from the post (the left side) is loose. The hitch is able to hold the tension up to the post and allows me to continue to work down the line. Also, this knot is easy to adjust; simply loosen the knot and change its height or re-tension the wire.
I run two strands of wire in the beginning. The bottom one is approximately eight inches off the ground and the top one is at the pigs’ eye height. I want to keep them from thinking they can go under the fence and I am not worried about them jumping over the fence.
Martha, our dairy cow, came to inspect my work.
Once the fence is in place I test the current.
I try to have at least 3,500 volts (3.5KV) on the fence at all times. I have five strand high-tensile perimeter fencing that enables me to easily tie temporary fencing into.
Remove the boundaries from the training area
The pigs have been contained behind the original wire that was part of their training area. Once the new fence is in place then I take down the original three strand training fence. At this point the pigs have access to the new pasture. They are typically hesitant to go beyond their training area; they learn their lessons well.
Give them time to discover their new pasture
Given some time, they will start to explore their new ‘yard’.
Our horses and cows are used to pigs and the pigs don’t seem too bothered by the bigger animals.
At some point I may need to move the fence and if I do I will run a single strand of wire. It’s easier and sufficient enough to keep the pigs confined.