How To Keep Pigs From Escaping

Escaped

It’s probably not possible.

But here’s what we’ve learned so far.

1) Pigs’ noses are tools comparable to pry-bars connected to jackhammers. They dig with them, and destroy things with them, and rip things up with them, and pry things away with them. This includes fencing.

2) Pigs delight in escaping from fenced areas. They like to forage – it’s what they’re built for!

3) A woven-wire fence is good – unless they’re piglets, in which case they squeeze right through the squares. Farm stores sell pig panels – panels of woven-wire fencing that have small squares down low, and larger ones up high.

4) Even if your fence is touching the ground, they’ll get under it. Noses = pry-bars. So, burying it several inches below the ground level is the best idea.

5) Pigs squeeze between things.

6) If they do get out, they know where home is, so they won’t run far, if you catch them soon. And if you bring a bucket of grain – they’ll come running!

7) When they do escape, your frustration causes you to think of how tasty that bacon will soon be…

8 ) Electric fencing, low to the ground (low enough so they can’t slide under it without touching it, and high enough so they can’t step over it without touching it), is probably the way to go. However, once you train a pig to respect the electric fence, they’ll never cross that line again – even if you take the electric fence down, they still won’t walk over the path where it used to be! We haven’t used our electric fence yet, but we may soon…

9) A small, sturdy, portable pen is ideal. This means either electric fencing or movable panels. Pigs destroy an area of turf quickly – but this can be turned into a boon. Farmers such as Joel Salatin use pigs to turn over and fertilize land – pigs rooting instinct is a natural way of aerating the soil, composting organic matter, and fertilizing it with manure. They simply must not be allowed to stay in one place for a long time: after one patch of land has been “worked,” they must be removed from it and taken to another. The freshly-turned-over patch should then be allowed to regrow for about a year.

The End.

***UPDATE***

We used electric fencing and it works like a charm! See this post for more details…

Yeah, they look innocent now...

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9 Responses to How To Keep Pigs From Escaping

  1. Maybe the title of this post should be “How to keep any of the Ozark House animals from escaping”. They seem happy but they are all trying to get out any way they can.

    ~AB

  2. Angie says:

    Thanks for the ideas. We have Red Wattlers and these guys are like escape artists. We are going to try the panels to reduce the size of area they can rome. Thanks again.

  3. ml says:

    Im testing this out

  4. T thomson says:

    I like your post, My husband and I rent a croft in the Scottish hills, we have over 43 aces of woodland! So Kunekune pigs where almost a natural choice for us! Plus the meat is good.

    We have four adults, five piglets and some on the way! We love having them about and they have free ranged our land for the last two years, how ever our Boar ‘Drizzle’ has been visiting the farm next door and has found a nice muddy river bank to wallow in, in their cattle feild. The cows don’t seem to like him much and neither do the neighbours, although they have been patient so far, bless em!
    We have tried electric fencing, pig boarding, corigatted iron, fencing buried with wooden boards nailed top and bottom, and he still gets out! Poor old Drizzle may well end up as sausages the way he’s going! Any ideas on how to rain in the wanderer?

    • Wow, sounds like he’s pretty determined! Is he just breaking through the fences, or rooting them up, or what?
      Have you ever actually trained him on the electric fence? I know that pigs, when frightened, run forward — whereas most animals back away. So if he hasn’t been taught not to run through the fence, he’ll blast right through it every time he gets shocked. But if you can contain him in a small pen, and all along the inside of the fencing for that pen, run two or three strands of electric fence wire, he should learn fairly quickly not to run through it, since he doesn’t have that option inside the pen. I guess if you’re having a tough time keeping him any enclosure, you might have to make that pen extremely sturdy. But that’s the only think I can think of.
      Otherwise, sausage may not be a bad option. Although, I don’t figure you’ll find too many boars who will happily stay within their boundaries without a little bit of training.

  5. kelle musgrave says:

    rescued a Hampshire from slaughter and moved into our horse pen of 2×4’s which she regularly breaks scratching an itch etc. She’s 350lbs and growing. In Los Angeles space is not an option and at my wits end and almost broke. Do you think if I line the lower fence with wood panels and run electric along as well I have a shot? Her pen is about 30’x40′ with mini pool and getting straw. Even rescued a boar who is her buddy.

    • Kelle,
      Sorry for the belated response!
      I think if you can put the wood panels up, they” serve as a barrier long enough to train the pigs on the electric fence. It only takes a couple shocks!!

  6. Kevin Knapp says:

    I no this is a old post but just wanted to say thanks for all the info. I just got pigs and right now I have them in my barn but just built them a big 9 foot by 9 foot pig house with metal roof. And I will be fencing in 4 acres as soon as the ground is able for my post hole digger, I’m thinking of installing split rail fenceing because its very sturdy and then using 3 foot high mess wire on the out side of it followed by 2 strands inside of electric wire. The first being no more than 6 inches off the ground and the second being 12 to 14 inches of the ground. Digging at my house is too easy. It used to be a active sand pit back in the day. So I really need for my hogs to be trained fast on the fence line. I went with American Guinea Hogs. But if there is anything I’m missing or you think I should do please email me at knappshomestead@gmail.com I would love to hear any advice and pictures or just make a new friend that knows farming. Thanks….

    • Sounds like a good plan! My main advice would be to create a small pen — perhaps with some hog panels — to train them on the electric fence. And make sure the electric fence is grounded well. The main thing is you don’t want them to run FORWARD and out of the pasture when they get zapped… and they will do that sometimes. The woven wire will probably suffice for that, but anyways, that’d be my only piece of advice. Have fun with it!

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