Tag Archives: electric fence

Pigs first move

(David Attenborough voice)

After the new enclosure has been prepared for these lucky piglets, the fence is parted, allowing access to the abundant unspoiled greenery this species thrives upon.But how long will it take them to discover their new freedom?

Their attendant retrieves the food bowls they are familiar with and places them in plain view just beyond the fence opening, filling them with fresh food.The young pigs observe these proceedings with interest, but from a distance.  They are agitated by the presence of the human, and grunt with suspicion. 

As the human withdraws, curiosity and hunger overcome their trepidation, and one pig tentatively leads the way over the threshold!  Its sibling, still  visibly anxious, follows soon after.  To the boldest pig goes the spoils!

 

 

Furtive forest piglets

Three little pigs.  They are not tame at all.  They are wild animals, free and independent.  They observe from a distance.It’s quite nice to not be leaned on and snouted every time you go in their fence, but it will also be nice to play with them and scratch them, someday. They are curious.  They approach, sniffing.   But then one snorts and they all stampede off!  Run away!

New pig procedure

It didn’t take long for us to figure out a better way to use two lengths of electric poultry fence.  Making a vast circle of space with both lengths is not it.   That merely makes it approximately twice as hard to move them as it was with one length of fence.

The answer (blindingly obvious), is to set up the fences in two circles, like the digit 8, so that when it comes time to shift the pigs, close them into one loop of fence, pick up the other loop and peacefully relocate it.  Then, or later, move the pigs into the newly placed loop and move the second section of fence.  Drama free.

The added benefit is easily being able to separate the piglets for dinner time.  Did someone say dinner?  Oggg, oggg,ogggh!

First HW LEAPS into the pig yard.
Fence open, how it is during day.

(First there must be scratching)Now HW is closing the gate. Pick a side, Pancakes!  They do pick a side, and sometimes switch; they know the drill.  Shortstack is smarter.  It’s raining, I’ll take the house side.

Securing the gate.
Turning the fence back on. This is a very thorough step by step…

Then the pigs wait VERY impatiently for the food to be prepared, and served.  Whheeeee, Whheeeee!

One pig is inevitably briefly disgruntled.
She’s got hers!
There you go!

They’ve had they’re own bowls their whole sojourns here, and they used to get fed on opposite ends of the yard, but still, the first pig finished wolfing down their food goes to see if the other has any left, so thievery happens, and Shortstack has been at the losing end of that contest.  This is far better.

Now Shortstack is even more pleased about dinner (hardly possible) because she gets to relax through her whole meal.  I think she’s just a slower eater.  Likes to savour.

It’s HUGE!

The pigs’ latest move was especially exciting.  We made a two-fence loop (two lengths of 100’+ electric net fence, connected for one extra long circle), which makes their space, just Huge.  Good for us, they’ll last a little longer in there before we have to move them.They were extremely excited.  Didn’t see them all day, they hardly touched their lunch apples, they were finding so much to eat underground.  With the two fences, you can’t see the whole space at once.  It loops into the brush and also into the pasture.  They can get a good sprint worked up with that length.  Can’t see where they are most of the time either, except they come out to say Hi.    Hi.

Epic pig move

We moved the pigs a fair distance, from where they were recovering the field from the alder and buckthorn, to beside the greenhouse.  They must till up the ground where I’m about to move the greenhouse to.  It involved setting up the fence a couple of times in long corridors.  The pigs were cooperative.Now they’re back in the sun, and practically  on lawn, which they are making short work of.  It’s kind of strange to have them (back) in the middle of everything, smack between the chicken tribes.

—-

Something has been snatching guineas.  A couple of adults are missing, and now there’s only one chick:(But gosh, it’s cute. A pile of bumps in the food dish: The guineas are not exactly “mine”; they’re very much their own, unlike the other obedient farm animals.  They don’t mind eating the food, but they are cunning and very hard to trick or contain, even for their protection.  They’ve been sleeping in the trees, and I’m racking my brain for how I can get them into someplace safe.  I don’t even know what’s getting them.  Nor do I have “someplace safe” in mind.  I’ll get them all into the greenhouse for the winter, but it’s another week+ before that’s ready.  What to do?

I love the outrageous purple of scarlet runner beans.  It’s like the fake colouring of grape candy.  And they are preposterously large beans, too – the plant, the pods, and the beans.  Jack and the beanstalk beans.

Chicks in the greenhouse

There´s a tribe of chicks in the greenhouse.  One mom has 5 Chanticleer chicks, and the other has seven Silkies.

The Chanticleers

They never shut up!  PeeppeeppeepPEEPpeeppeeppeepPEEPpeep. Wow.  I don´t know how the Moms handle it, unless lots of it is inter-chick chatting that they can tune out.

Otherwise, it´s Mom, Mom, Mom!  MOM, Hey Mom, Look at this Mom, Hey Mom can I eat this?  What about this?  What´s this Mom? Look what I found Mom, Look at me Mom, I flapped!  See how fast I can run? Watch this, Mom!  

All. Day. Long.

The Silkies

The Silkies are a week older than the Chantis, so they´re all the same size (so far).  The Silkies are already entering their scruffball transition from fluff to feathers.  There’s three white and four brown.

Most of these chicks I’ve never even touched.  They´re going to be the wildest bunch yet. They were born in a box with an open door, and Mom’s been totally in charge from day 1.  I don´t even see them every day.

But boy do I hear them.

They’re all so happy and safe in there, savaging the low-hanging tomatoes, rearranging my mulch, tasting stuff.  It’s a rooster-free zone.  One Silkie rooster is wont to stand looking in the screen door, fantasizing.

The pigs are rooting.  I give them a nice new grassy area that looks like a green pig paradise for about an hour.  They like to customize their environment, which means turning over every inch of sod. Very diligent workers.  And fast.

Holy eyebrows, Batpig!

Almost bacon

The pigs don’t know it, but their days are numbered.  They’re busy living the good life.

They seem so big!  All jowlly and robust.  They never outgrew a good sprint, and they love the daily wallow – I pour a bucket of water over them every afternoon, and they’ll leave behind food at the sound of me pouring out some water – they run to me and flop down in the puddle.

Adventure Pig

Spots

The oinkers have  ravaged this last fence placement, but they love it- they sleep at night under the shrubs – really they spend most of their time cashed out in the dirt under those shrubs.  It wasn’t easy getting the fence to surround that big patch of buckthorn, either, but they are expressively appreciative of my effort.But what’s this in the background?  Oh, just the resident chickens.

Resident is not an exaggeration.

Tribe Oreo decided ages ago to live with the pigs.  The Oreos and their Silkie stepmom leave the coop in the morning, go directly to Pigland, jump through the electric fence (which is, in fact, energized), and spend the entire day in there, leaving at darkfall to go back to the coop.  Every day.  For weeks.

They share the pig house.  Birds and pigs all sleep in there together when it gets hot or rains.

The Oreos are black as crows and weigh as much as their mom now.  They are big on perching, and like to jump up in those tangled shrubs.  One is a rooster, already standing up to the Silkie roos.

Probably the one eyeballing me is the rooster

They spend the day roaming around the pig enclosure, perfectly satisfied to stay inside the fence.

We speculated.  That the hen likes it in there because she is safe from the attention of the roosters.  That they like the pig food, or benefit from the pigs’ rooting.  I tried putting her in the coop with the Colonel, to see if she would stay with him and under his protection.  Nope.  Pigland by day and the Brahma coop at night.  She knows what she wants.

Gotcha, pigs!

I recommend sheep/chicken mesh electric fence for pigs.

The night was stormy, a mini-blizzard.  In the dead dark and strong wind, we went outside and wrestled the fence into place and plugged it in, then extracted the so-very-successful two-strand, in a big snarl, naturally.  The pigs were willfully asleep.  There was shouting, yet they refused to wake up.  It was cold outside, they weren’t budging from the hay nest for nothing.

We caught them!  The mesh fence works.  In the morning, the pigs bolted away from the sight of us, ran into the fence at top speed ….and then sproing! bounced back.  They tried it again and again, but eventually concluded that A: they don’t fit through it, past the nose, and B: the fence bites back.

I wouldn’t put it past them to figure out that only the horizontal strands are hot and selectively chew their way to jailbreak, but until then, our piglets are under control.

They are SO different than the last pigs.  Besides being bigger when we got them, these pigs are feisty, and wild, with opinions.  The pink pigs were totally into cuddling, crazy for touch, until they got too big for that to be safe for me (perhaps because of being weaned earlier?).  We won’t be petting these guys anytime soon.

Most pertinently, the two-strand fence that failed so spectacularly this time  worked with the last pigs.  They screamed blue murder when they got shocked.  These pigs don’t peep at it.  We did have problems, but, the user-problem variety.  We got lax about keeping it hot- it’s easy to find excuses to not carry batteries around – serenely thinking they’ve learned what the fence does, we don’t need to keep it hot all the time. 

Pfft! The troublemaker noticed once, maybe by accident, that the fence wasn’t always hot.  After that seed was planted, sometimes it’s off!, he felt it was a reasonable risk to test the fence, and did, every single day.  The moment it wasn’t hot, grounded out by their rooting or a dead battery, he was out. Then, he would target the energizer, chewing and ripping the leads off and sometimes hiding them in the pig house.  This practice definitely delayed the restoration of power.

A very educational mistake on our part.  Won’t happen again (I’ve got a solar maintainer on the battery now – way cheaper than the admittedly awesome solar energizers).

This is the usual view of them.

Then they look back, balefully.

Is it gonna be the garbage can again?

They wait until we leave, to eat. I’m conditioning them to the sound of approaching food, but so far we mean flee!.

They’re super cute, with their upright ears,  long straight tails and white socks. Hopefully, they will come around and become friendly.  Eventually.

In fact, recovering the escapee(s) only took three days, better than I hoped for after my initial googling.

Round two, Piglets in the lead

Sure enough, the piglets went to bed in the pig house.  Excellent. 

We closed up the fence in the night.  We’ve so got these pigs now.

In the morning, HW went to feed them.  They both bolted, straight through the fence like it wasn’t there.

You’d think, maybe there’s something wrong with the fence.  They don´t even squeak when they go through it.  HW, having had the same thought, is checking the fence the hard way, every day, and it’s on.  He’s getting a good lift,  even with big boots (I will not check the fence that way).

On my way home from work, I met my pigs coming out the road.  This is disconcerting, to meet one’s livestock strolling up the road you’re driving down.  Oh hey!

They looked small from the driver’s seat, vulnerable, like a couple of toddlers confidently taking a walk together.

I chased them all the way home, although they kept pulling over to the shoulder for all the world to let me by, and they weren’t afraid of the truck.  They kept stopping on the side of the road, looking back at me.  Go aheadWhy aren’t you passing?  They were afraid of ME, though, when I stepped out of the truck and charged them.  Zoom!

That did it.  they’re expanding their territory now.  The pigs can’t be marching up the road visiting the neighbours.  That’s just embarrassing.  (This is all embarrassing, it’s just kind of funny too, and if it helps someone else-).

I extracted the stored chicken fence, schlepped it over and starting setting it up around pigland, knowing the piglets would be moseying over from the driveway, hungry after their big run home.  I was about half done when they showed up, and seeing me, hid themselves.  I finished anyways, rushing, leaving a big funnel open.  If they go to bed at night again, then we close the fence in the night, muhahaha!

I lurked.  I waited.  I furtively encouraged the pigs from the woods to pigland vicinity.  I watched from afar.  The pigs approached the sizable gap in the fence, did some sniffing, had a discussion, reached consensus, turned, and purposefully marched off into the woods.

Oh GOOD GOD!  I set off at a run, down our trail, and got in front of them.  It was a near thing.  They were headed somewhere, deliberately.  Now it was dusk, and I walked back and forth in front of them, and after they turned, kicked around making noise until they wandered back in the vicinity of pigland again.  This time, with dark falling in the woods, they were content to root around under the bird feeder, winding down.  I waited, for ages, until I saw them hesitantly take steps into the confines of the fence, and I retired.  NOW we’ve got them.

Spoiler:

Yes, now we’ve got them.  This works.  Two-strand electric fence for pigs?  No way!  Chicken/sheep mesh fence – yes.