Electric Fence for Pigs Guide
Thursday, 15 June 2017 | Beth
We all know pigs are clever, and with all their rooting and digging they can be difficult to keep contained. Permanent fencing isn't ideal if you want to be able to move your pigs for grazing purposes...which brings us to electric fencing for pigs.
The advantages of an electric fence for pigs are:
Basic Electric Fence Set-Up and Design
Pigs need either 2 or 3 lines of stranded steel wire, depending on their age and breed. The heights below are a guide, but are not set in stone!
Adult full size pigs only: Two lines at 25 cm and 45 cm
You can use either Plastic Poly Posts or Steel Pig Tail Posts to hold your wire. The steel posts are stronger but more expensive and require Pig Tail Insulators to go on them to hold your wire. Both the plastic and steel posts are easy to install. Fence posts should be placed about every 5-10 meters, depending on the contours of your ground. The closer the posts, the stronger the fence.
Your energiser is the most important part and most expensive part of the kit. The energiser sends the electrical pulse around the fence. It can run from either the Mains or from a 12 Volt Battery, depending upon the type of energiser you select (Dual Energiers give you the flexibility to run it from the Mains or from a battery). The larger your fence, the more powerful energiser you will need. When assessing the power of an energiser, manufacturers information can be misleading. They will often give you the distance an energiser can cover under 'ideal test' circumstances. It is important to look for the 'real' distance an energiser can handle, with light vegetation. If in doubt, go for the more powerful energiser. You will also need an earth stake for your energiser. In the UK most 12 Volt energisers are fine with a 50cm earth stake. For more powerful energisers you should use a 1 metre earth stake. The earth stake is essential and you must always check that you have a good connection between your earth stake and the energiser. In hot weather you may need to water your earth stake. Without a good earth, your electric fence will not work.
Other helpful but non essential items to consider include a fence tester, for any trouble shooting. A warning sign because although not dangerous, the fence will give an unpleasant shock to anybody who touches it (please note that a warning sign is essential in public spaces - by law). A Solar Panel to charge your 12 Volt Battery - no more lugging your battery inside for charge ups!
Although setting up an electric fence is easy (end even quite fun for some!) there is a slight art to it. If you have a small hill, beware of a determined pig who may try to jump. If the ground undulates a lot, you may need to put your posts closer together so you can ensure the wire stays off the ground.
Training Your Pigs
Electric Fences are not designed to hurt animals. In fact they are designed to keep them safe! After a couple of unpleasant shocks, the goal is that the animals will no longer even want to touch the fence. Pigs, however, can be willful, strong and fast and require a different approach to other livestock.
You need to start training your pigs to respect an electric fence from as young an age as possible. Experienced pigs owners will start training their pigs when they are weaners, by setting up a small electric fence inside a secure pen. Let the pigs get a shock. If they escape at this point it does not matter. They will soon learn to avoid the wire. Pigs are very clever and will remember their lesson and most will not challenge the fence after their first few shocks even if it is turned off. However, there are some crafty pigs who recognise the very quiet tick or hum of an electric fence and may challenge the fence should you turn it off - so don't let your guard down!
A customer from Hadlow College took this photo of his Pigs and Fence!
How The Fence Works
An electrical pulse is sent around the conductive wire on the fence. All the current must be kept on this wire, so it is important that no grass, wooden posts or vegetation touches the wire or the electrical current will run to earth. Plastic hooks and loops, called insulators, can hold the wire away from any trees or posts. When an animal touches the fence, the current flows through the animal and soil and back to the earth stake, completing the electrical circuit and giving the animal a shock. The circuit is therefore between the animal, the fence and the energiser. You do NOT need your fence to be in a circle - it can be in a straight line or any configuration you like!
You should always have at least 2,000 volts on your fence, ideally 3,000 volts (especially for pigs who have thick skins). If you do not have this, something is wrong. There may be something earthing your fence. You may have kings or knots in your wire. The energiser may not be powerful enough or may have a fault.
A Note On Batteries
If you decide to have a 12 Volt Battery Energiser, it is best to use a deep cycle Lesiure Battery, rather than a car battery. Leisure batteries are designed for continuous use and will last much longer than a car battery. They are tough and designed to be out in all weather and simply sit on the ground next to your fence. You can sit a Solar Panel on top of your battery, in a sunny spot facing due South and it will charge up your battery for 3 seasons of the year in the UK. During the darkest winter months, you may need to take your battery inside for a few extra tops ups (ignore people who say this is not necessary).
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call. WE are a family run business and we are always happy to help. 01323 406212