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to pig or not to pig  RSS feed

 
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That is the most pressing question . I want to expand the garden and the pigs did a super job of removing the bermuda for me in the current area. Two could expand it for me in a few months. I might get them and just not let them get to be full size and just butcher them when they have sufficiently tilled and prepped the area.

negative side......

fencing- used electric last time but it was problematic especially when snow and ice built up and grounded it out. I need cheap temporary fencing.

flies- plenty warm enough around here in late fall to breed flies. That was a major downside.

stink- they do stink and they will only be 15' from my back door.  eww.

plus side.....

They are yummy. So much better than the tough store bought pork.

They remove bermuda rhizomes far better than I ever could.

decisions, decisions.

 
steward
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Stink:  if you smell anything, you are doing it wrong.  With pigs, they generally need more space.

fencing:  with pigs, electric is the only way to go!  Usually snow doesn't short it out.  But I could see the need for two strands.  Maybe you need two separate strands and if there is wet stuff touching the bottom strand, you need to disconnect that one until things melt a bit.

Flies:  with enough space that should take care of itself too.
 
Leah Sattler
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I know space reduces all those problems but it would defeat the purpose for me. I want them to dig out every smidgen of bermuda in an area so that I can plant a garden there without fighting it.  I cut out the sod by hand in my previous garden area and then dug by hand pulling up each peice of rhizome I could find. If you till it then it just chops the pieces up making it easier to miss some, and it only takes a tiny section, and have it coming up all over the place after you have planted everything out. Only long term solarization or heavy heavy barriers/shade will drive it out of an area it is evil I tell you.....evil.

The pigs did an amazing job for me before. It was a whole year before I saw any bermuda in the middle of the garden. That means they pretty much got it all. Bermuda can travel 20 feet under ground and has a deep root system. http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/calif/msg0223541322187.html?7
 
Leah Sattler
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I had four strands but they were all connected I could make it so each could be used seperatly but in such a small area it wasn't sufficent. they would also root up the dirt onto it and several times went through it at night presumable becuse they didn't see it and panicked and ran through it after getting zapped. I have decided to drop the idea. I have too much going on now to deal with pigs and just can't afford to do the fencing the way I want to. If we had another ice storem like we did last year the electric fence would fail completly seperate lines or not and I am not in a position where I can devote any dollars to secondary containment fencing. There are several butcher hogs for sale around here. Maybe I can purchase 1/2-1/4 to put in the freezer and I will just do my best to dig out the bermuda myself and plant in such a way to help the plants compete as much as possible with the bermuda next year .
 
paul wheaton
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The idea is that they are a psychological barrier.  After they get zapped a bunch, then they just stay away because of that memory.  So even if it is offline a few days, they still tend to stay in the pen.

 
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"Cheap, temporary fencing" doesn't work for livestock, esp pigs or goats.

A guy about a half-mile from me got a couple of pigs to dig up his garden last spring.  His fencing was not up to the job.  The pigs were still relatively young when they got out, ran out onto the road and caused a woman to veer into a deep ditch.  Her car was totaled and she had minor injuries. She is suing the owner of the pigs, as the law says he is responsible for them, and should have done a better job keeping them in.

Sometimes cheap is too cheap, and ends up costing a fortune.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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Thats for sure! ours were contained in the backyard at least when they escaped. The electric fence just didn't cut it. Pigs have very poor eyesight and I think this was part of the problem. I flagged the fence every few feet to help but in the dark they still would accidentally touch it, panic, then run through it. Tehy also shoveled dirt onto the bottom strand routinely. Pigs fit into one end of tomato cages and not out the other by the way, and they don't have reverse. especially at 2am with dogs chasing them. 
 
paul wheaton
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What size of area were the escaped pigs kept in?
 
Leah Sattler
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Mine were in just the garden area about. 25x40' I have no doubt it would work in a larger area where they had plenty of things to do away from the fence. Here they are when they first got home (the first time  :wink

 
paul wheaton
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I was using that black and white twine stuff that has a wee bit of wire woven into it.  Maybe that helped a lot.
 
Leah Sattler
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strange. I threw a whole roll of that stuff away when I was using it for horses. I thought it was the most worthless thing I had ever bought.  The little filaments would tear if you stretched it ( or the horses did) and there would be dead spots. It didn't shock so well brand new even. I put my hand right on it. the aluminum wire on the other side of the pasture would bite the dickens out of ya so it wasn't ground. maybe a bad brand. tried the tape also it was just as bad.
 
paul wheaton
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I got all of my electric fence stuff from premier - I've heard that a lot of electric fence stuff is crap, and that the premier stuff costs a little more, but it's the real thing.
 
Susan Monroe
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A friend of a friend said a good product is Premier's electric fence in the form of netting.  She said it's the only thing that really keeps the stray dogs, foxes and raccoons out of her chicken/duck/goose yard.

Sue
 
                    
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With pigs you can put cheap chicken wre fencing just outside of your elec wire so if the pigs get shocked and try to run through the elec wire they run into the chicken wire and turn around. 
 
pollinator
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well if they work that fast..hurry them up good and get them to the butcher !!
 
                    
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My folks did pigs for 10 years or more, and I got to enjoy all the benefits- cleaning pens, mopping up farrowing pens with ammonia, hordes of flies and that goddawful smell.

so I didn't cry at all when the folks got to old to do it anymore, even though I miss backbacon and sidepork something horrible.

but then- yeah Paul, here it is- i found out about how sepp holzer runs pigs. and I thought about everything I knew from my five years of permaculture and 20 years of ecology and thought, "golly, Ill do it again!"


electric wire: it works loosely. Would never rely on it in a regular penstock, but as temp guidelines for corralling, culling and protecting stuff you dint want munched, it works fine AS LONG AS YOU HAVE IT FLAGGED AND THE PIGS BEEN ZAPPED ONCE. they dont see so well, and just the wire itself might not be visible if they are paniced or moving fast, so flagging it is important. and you have to get them zapped a few times when their young so they can learn to pay attention the boundaries.

that said, I wish i had pictures of the time my mom corralled a 900 boar with sheet of carboard...he wouldn't be near where the fence WAS (long gone now) and we couldn't get him out of the corral.

we tried to coax it with feed, even apples. he would not go.
dad tapped his virility with a flat shovel and he still wouldn't go.

then mom took a piece of refrigerator sized cardboard to where the wire used to be, and folded it into a v shape, and made an a frame on the ground. the boar would not go to the grain can before, but mom set it on the opposite side of the where the wire was, at the end of the tunnel. the boar went under the cardboard, pretty much knocking it over, but not coarsely, he was just that big, and then he had his grain, and we had him past the (missing!) wire.

point of the story being: the wire is psychological. if they dint get zapped, or they run into it while at speed or when panic, they wont even notice it. if they get a dose on the nose and ears a few time when young, most will remember where it is and avoid it even when its removed.

that said, for pen stock we always had electric inside a 3' 8g pig wire in 20' panels. we had posts up and shuffled the pigwire panel according to where we wanted pigs.

now that I have a clue about #pigs/acres and how to grow useful fodder for them, i suspect the stink and fly problems i knew as a child will be mostly no issue.

when they are paddocked for digging gardens i suggest adding loads of wood dust -not chip, but dust from a tablesaw or chainsaw- animal bedding would work but might be costly. finely mulched dry yard  debris could work. place it in piles and let the hogs spread them out. carbon will balance the nitrogen, controlling smell. and then run chocks through the pen every few days. they eat maggots and help keep flies down.


best

D


 
Brenda Groth
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just curious..could other animals besides dogs be put on an zap collar? if so..you could set up the range with one of those zappers that zap when they get past the designated range, and it gets a stronger zap the farther that they get from the zapper terminal.

i may be wrong but i don't see why it wouldn't work for other animals..to train them to stay out of the zap zone?
 
pollinator
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It might work well for pigs if you could find a collar big enough (dog collar should work for babies, but they grow rapidly).  And you'd have to make sure it was ALWAYS on!

Kathleen
 
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When we had pigs we used the basic two strands of electric wire.
The first day they arrived we tempted them with food right up to the wire so they actually "zapped" their noses, this may sound a little cruel, however as their nose is thhe most sensitive part of their body they learn very,VERY quickly not to go near the fence!
infact we were then able to reduce the fence to one low wire only,and also when we made the area larger they were very reluctant to move past where the original wire had been.
So they do need to know early on where therir boundry is.
They are inteligent animals,and they learn fast!
Good luck..
suomi
 
                    
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a crafty person could modify a dog's house arrest leash and place it like a tag on the pigs ear. thats pretty clever! ill see if I can get a leash and modify it this spring with my next luau pig.

D
 
Leah Sattler
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I'm curious as to whether or not an "invisible fence" containment system would work for them too. I think they are smart enough to figure it out.
 
                    
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yeah, the more I THINK about the dog zap collar, the more I think they would react like they do to a bee sting in the ear- just flee randomly - and perhaps out of the zappers range or at least not back to "safety"- if if i try this it will have a secondary fence just outside of the zapper limit so i can observe without having to go pig chasing. that sport has lost all novelty for me, despite rumors of their pavlovian grain bucket response...
 
paul wheaton
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I would never use electric for anything small, like a corral or pen.  Only for big, open spaces. 

Electric is a psychological barrier.  A close space would freak the critters out!

I've kept pigs in a huge space with one strand of electric.  The fence needed to be walked every day to make sure it was okay.  When piglets came along, I learned that i needed two strands.

 
paul wheaton
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One thing that holzer does with pigs, is once he moves them out of an area, he throws seed on the area. The idea is that the next time there are pigs on that area, there's heaps of new food.

 
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