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hot wire with young pigs

 
neil mock
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i have a batch of 7 week old pigs, they are in a 25 m^2 pasture. it is fecned with braded wire fenceing with a hotwire about 6 inches off the ground. i would like to seperate the pasture into 5-6 areas for rotational grazing/rooting. the problem i hae been having, getting them to respect the lone hotwire. they just seem to run past it. any advice? do i just need to wait until they get a bit bigger?

annother problem i predice might happen, is that the will push dirt on the perimter hotwire, shorting it out. do i just need to do a dailey fence inspection?

thanks
 
Luke Groce
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Location: Louisville, KY
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I find that I've got shorted out wire (and thus, dead batteries in the solar fence charger) oftentimes if i don't inspect the fence every other day or so. Especially with bigger pigs and lower hanging wire.

The typical way of training piglets is to give them a physical barrier 6 inches or so behind their hot wire. Upon receiving pain, the pig's instinct is to go forward. You basically train them to do the opposite with that hot wire, when they encounter the shock, and going forward on results in more pain, and also in not getting anywhere. I have found that 2 weeks with a very hot (mine was around 8000 W) wire gets the job done. I did this in a run in shed with chain link fence tacked on the front side. Any place that they can live comfortably with good sturdy physical barrier will do. And do it at a younger age, (7 weeks sounds about right) for everyone's benefit.

25 square meters is about 250 square feet of pasture, right? that seems pretty small to be subdividing 5-6 times for a batch of pigs (how many exactly?), but the concept of subdividing and moving is a really good one. you just need to size the scale appropriately.
 
neil mock
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The area is 25m x 25 m. so it is a bit under 7000 sf. sorry for the confusion. it has been a long day.

The permiter fence setup is just as you describe. maybe they just a bit more time getting used to the fence that the cant juts push past (squeling all the way). worse case, i will build more perminet fence for the subdivide, but i would rather not.

it is only 5 pigs. if i like the business, and find a market for them, i will use these as breaders. if not, the freezer for the lot.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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Something else to try is baiting the wire. Make little tags of aluminum foil and hang them from the wire every few feet with one end wrapped well around the wire. Smear something yummy on the tags, facing towards the critter in question. Peanut butter is the default, it's cheap and most animals love it. They will smell, lick, and get a REALLY good shock! This will work to keep deer out and goats in, so it should work with pigs, too....
 
Luke Groce
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Location: Louisville, KY
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It is nice to be able to modify your subdivisions without too much difficulty. And if they are trained right, they will respect the fence before long. I think the smaller training area with the physical barrier on all sides helps with them encountering it more often, and always getting the same result (only turning back can help them out of the situation when that wire is present). Once they touch the wire and turn around or better, look up, see it, and turn around, you'll know they are learning. Keeping them trained is easier if the wire stays quite hot, and everything they want is inside their current area -friend, food and water especially.
 
neil mock
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i think my mistake was giving them the entire area at first. they have gotten used to the freedom , it does not help that i am trying to keep them away from a favorite rooting spot. i will clear the grass under teh wire real well, and maybe run a third line (ground)really close to teh ground. if all else fails, i will tempuarly but wire mesh to keep them in.

i need to get them under control when they are still at 15kilos......
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Rose Konold
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all my pigs (I have 19 sows, 3 boars & finish 200+ fats a year) are on single wire and all are rotated monthly on to fresh pasture. Its simple: get the biggest solar fencer you can get with a deep cycle battery ( or a 10-50 mile direct live fencer if you are so lucky to have electric) and have one unit per pasture block. You need to check the fence line regularly as they will root up to it and the line will short out on the ground ... and of course you have to feed them. Hunger is the rule of thumb for animals jumping a fence. I would say though, you should "train" your weanlings to an electric fence : at weaning keep them in a pen made with hog panels (and shelter of course) and run a line of electric across one small part of it for 3-5 days before turning out to run at large.
 
neil mock
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thank you all for the the advice. hopefully i get them under control soon.

rose, your post got me thinking, am i feeding them enough? they came from a piggy mill (pasture rasied pork is not done here), and they were getting ~.5 kilo/day of pig pellets. nothing else. i give them each .25 kilo/day in the AM, and then ~5 gallon bucket of garden waste (lettuce, brocoli, kale, radishes, beets, ect) in the PM. they also get whey 2x a week and sometime spoiled milk. not to mention whatever they find in the pasture.

my plan is to keep the pig feed at a steady rate, and increase the amount of garden waste they get as they grow. i dont mind the growth rate slowing down, but i dont want them constantly testing teh fence out of hunger.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Electric fencing typically takes training. Smaller animals tend to need more tight fencing. We have a weaning paddock system setup that we use with piglets when we wean them off the sows. It is about a quarter acre, 100'x100', divided into 10 paddocks for managed rotational grazing. The piglets start in a securely physically fenced area and then gradually the fencing fades to our field fencing. Through the progression the piglets learn about all the different kinds of fencing we use on our farm. This system of fading is designed to train through success and works very well. They spend about one to three days in each paddock taking about 20 to 30 days to finish the training rotation. You can see it here:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2013/09/25/south-weaning-paddock/

This weaning time is also when we do taming, training, when the dogs teach the pigs and we do inspection, selection, rejection and injections. After that the pigs are out on pasture where they do not get nearly as much human interaction. This taming period is important to maintaining manageability.
 
Jason Lloyd
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Love your website Walter, lots of good information
 
Tracy Kuykendall
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Your post brought back memories, years ago my dad and grandfather were in the pig business, they tried putting them on pasture with electric fence alone, they eventually put up netwire field fence with electric inside it, with the lowest wire ending up about 3" above the ground. Remembering watching those pigs whether 25# or 250#, it didn't matter, once that wire got past their eyes they kept going forward, squealing and squirming the whole way. After they'd done a couple of times some would even start squealing before they even started. Thanks!
 
chad Ivanova
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Heres what i got setup for mine. they have not escaped yet. I do have a parmak super energizer 5 unit for when they get larger. The little fi-shock does a good job for now. they touch it and back right up. I have bumped it a few times cleaning the pin and it does let you know its there, but not enough to hurt you or the animals.

 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Electric fencing is a psychological barrier. If you're willing to you can simply move through it despite the pain. Additionally, if a hog is shocked forward of the poll (where the horns attach above the ears) they tend to backup and if shocked behind the poll they tend to go forward. They also turn away from the pain if it is on one side or the other of the mid-line. This is hard wired into their brains. It is actually quite deep in the evolution.

To train pigs to electric you should put them in an area with strong physical fencing and then use electric inside that which models the field fencing you plan to use. An area of 16'x16' up to about 50'x50' works well. (5mx5m to 15mx15m) Too large and they won't get enough training. Too small and they'll pinball which is not useful and just traumatizes the animal. After two weeks or so they should be trained. Any that are not trained eat as roaster pigs and certainly don't breed. Houdinism is hereditary.

Use a good energizer of 2.5 joules or greater with good grounding and keep your wires tight. A good visual indicator of the fence edge helps such as sticks, rocks (we have low stone walls), brush, etc just outside the fence line. We have miles of fencing and keep in about 400 pigs for managed rotational grazing. It works well when properly done.

-Walter
SugarMtnFarm.com
 
neil mock
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they are respecting the hot wire. i moved the plant closer to the pig enclosure and made sure that the wire was clear of everything (wire fence, grass, mud, ect), and no more escaping. i inspect the fence line a couple times a week, to make sure that it is not shorting out.

thank you all.
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