Tag Archives: escape

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.

Boy did I learn my lesson.

Do NOT move the chicken coop during the day.

ONLY move the chicken coop when the birds are in it.  If they don’t wake up in it, then they don’t know where it is.  Is magic!  No coop!

I went out to close the coop last night.  We moved it midday and the birds were happily milling around and under it all afternoon.

But in the evening, I went out to close them in, and what do I find?

Every single bird standing around in a confused cluster where the coop HAD BEEN.  When I arrived, they were quick to tell me all about it, too.

You’ll never believe it!  Our house is gone!  Is mystery!  Just gone! We found our way back here, like good chickens, even though there was this fence in the way, but there’s no house anymore!  Is disappeared!  We are very confused.

First of all, they had to make an effort to escape to the former location of the coop.  It probably involved climbing up on the coop in order to fly over the fence.  I was kind of impressed that every single bird was out.

Second, the coop is in plain sight, no obstructions (except the fence they crossed on the way out), about fifteen feet away.

I knocked down the fence, crouched down, and tried to slowly herd them towards the coop.  Surely they would go Oh, there it is, and go in.

They ran around me and returned to the vacant spot.  They were starting to slump down into chicken rest, too, getting dopey.

I opened the feed bucket by the coop.  They came running to the sound, but then seemed to forget why they were there and drifted back to the missing coop.  Sleeeepyyyy.  No coop.  Doesn’t matter….

I started scooping up chickens and stuffing them onto the top of their ramp.  Now the chickens got agitated and started scattering and hiding in the brush.  One of the chickens ran back out of the coop to rejoin the flock.  The rooster attacked me for the first time ever; I must have grabbed one of his favorites.  I’m glad he has it in him, but it was a shock (just scratches).

Get H.W.

H.W. is all business about chicken snatching and rapidly got the remaining birds stuffed into the coop.  Oh, here it is!!  Even the rooster; not so tough once you grab him.

Beak count, and…one missing.  Of course.  Now it’s totally dark.  I kept hunting, getting chowed on by mosquitoes.   Eventually I found her, and the chicken catastrophe came to a close.

Lesson learned.