How to Rear Pigs: Housing and Electric Fencing For Pigs
Pigs, contrary to common belief, are very clean animals and like a lot of animals like to nest, so it is essential to provide a nice dry straw or hay bed in a purpose-built shelter or ark. Pigs won’t go to the bathroom in their sleeping area, so there’s no need to fear the clean out as it will be cleaner than many other animals. Pigs are actually quite interactive animals and like attention, so don’t be surprised if your pig decides to give you a hand when you are cleaning their housing.
It’s worth cleaning their sleeping area every 4 weeks or when the pigs have ground the existing straw down. Most purpose-built arks or shelters have a cleaning hatch that swings open giving you easier access to their sleeping area. You should be able to sweep the old straw out and replace it with new, fresh straw.
Most pigs will sleep in their shelter all night and often during the day as well. The shelter will act as a shade in hotter weather; most pigs are pale and have little in the way of hair making them prone to sunburn so it is important for them to be able to retreat to the shade of their housing if needs be. If, as is too often the case in the UK climate, the weather is bad pigs will also retreat to their housing to take shelter from the elements.
Protection: Electric Fencing for Pigs
As well as housing for your pigs, you will need to consider how to contain them and keep them safe. Traditional fencing can work, but electric fencing works much better. The pigs soon learn to respect the barrier and can easily be contained. Another benefit of electric fencing for pigs is that it deters predators from entering the pig enclosure as most electric fences can be made high enough to make leaping the barrier a difficult challenge without getting zapped first. Electric fencing also has the benefit of being totally portable, so if you need to move your pigs to a different grazing area or temporarily move your pigs then you can, quickly and easily.
When selecting your fencing solution you need to consider which type is most suited to your own situation; consider whether the area where the pigs will live is going to be near crops, gardens or even a road. Based on these factors you will be able to decide whether to invest in a permanent fence, possible traditional post and wire, or an electric fence that is more reliable and portable.
It is important to introduce your pigs to the fence in a controlled environment or they pigs may force their way through it, getting zapped all the while, or panic and get stressed. Educating your pigs is essential, once they have touched the fence a few times they will quickly learn that they don’t want to go near or through it.
Powering your fence will be easy; there are numerous options available to you. Electric fences can be mains powered or battery-powered, the later is particularly useful for fences erected far away from a mains supply. The power of the shock should be tailored to the animal, contrary to popular belief, electric fencing for pigs is not dangerous in any way if properly maintained. The shock is simply aimed at making the pigs uncomfortable, not inflict pain. It is after all just a deterrent. The height or your fence should be approximately 4 to 6 wires high.
Pigs are also notorious for digging and snuffling around in the soil that your fence will be planted in, so including some electric fence netting on the bottom of your fence will deter them from digging their way under the electrified wire. The lowest wire should also be very close to the ground. This also helps keep smaller predators out.