How to Rear Pigs: Housing and Electric Fencing For Pigs

Pig Housing
Pigs, contrary to common belief, are very clean animals and like a lot of animals like to nest, so it is essential to provide a nice dry straw or hay bed in a purpose-built shelter or ark. Pigs won’t go to the bathroom in their sleeping area, so there’s no need to fear the clean out as it will be cleaner than many other animals. Pigs are actually quite interactive animals and like attention, so don’t be surprised if your pig decides to give you a hand when you are cleaning their housing.

It’s worth cleaning their sleeping area every 4 weeks or when the pigs have ground the existing straw down. Most purpose-built arks or shelters have a cleaning hatch that swings open giving you easier access to their sleeping area. You should be able to sweep the old straw out and replace it with new, fresh straw.

Most pigs will sleep in their shelter all night and often during the day as well. The shelter will act as a shade in hotter weather; most pigs are pale and have little in the way of hair making them prone to sunburn so it is important for them to be able to retreat to the shade of their housing if needs be. If, as is too often the case in the UK climate, the weather is bad pigs will also retreat to their housing to take shelter from the elements.

Protection: Electric Fencing for Pigs
As well as housing for your pigs, you will need to consider how to contain them and keep them safe. Traditional fencing can work, but electric fencing works much better. The pigs soon learn to respect the barrier and can easily be contained. Another benefit of electric fencing for pigs is that it deters predators from entering the pig enclosure as most electric fences can be made high enough to make leaping the barrier a difficult challenge without getting zapped first. Electric fencing also has the benefit of being totally portable, so if you need to move your pigs to a different grazing area or temporarily move your pigs then you can, quickly and easily.

When selecting your fencing solution you need to consider which type is most suited to your own situation; consider whether the area where the pigs will live is going to be near crops, gardens or even a road. Based on these factors you will be able to decide whether to invest in a permanent fence, possible traditional post and wire, or an electric fence that is more reliable and portable.

It is important to introduce your pigs to the fence in a controlled environment or they pigs may force their way through it, getting zapped all the while, or panic and get stressed. Educating your pigs is essential, once they have touched the fence a few times they will quickly learn that they don’t want to go near or through it.

Powering your fence will be easy; there are numerous options available to you. Electric fences can be mains powered or battery-powered, the later is particularly useful for fences erected far away from a mains supply. The power of the shock should be tailored to the animal, contrary to popular belief, electric fencing for pigs is not dangerous in any way if properly maintained. The shock is simply aimed at making the pigs uncomfortable, not inflict pain. It is after all just a deterrent. The height or your fence should be approximately 4 to 6 wires high.

Pigs are also notorious for digging and snuffling around in the soil that your fence will be planted in, so including some electric fence netting on the bottom of your fence will deter them from digging their way under the electrified wire. The lowest wire should also be very close to the ground. This also helps keep smaller predators out.

Why You Should Consider Using An Electrical Fences for Horses

Electrical Fences and Horses

Electric fences are amongst the many types of fences that are widely used for animal control. Using electricity to deter animals and people from crossing a particular boundary; these types of fences can effectively contain domestic and livestock animals. More and more horse owners are using these fences because of their reliability and effectiveness.

Some of the reasons so many people are using electrical fences for containing their horses are:

  • It is safer than traditional fencing, there are fewer incidents and accidents than with traditional barbed fences for instance;
  • They are more affordable and cost effective than traditional fencing, able to cover larger distances with fewer posts and last longer than traditional materials;
  • They can prevent wear on a fence from ‘cribbing’ or chewing;
  • It requires far less maintenance than a traditional fence;
  • They are easy and quick to erect and collapse allowing you to move them from one area to another or erect as a temporary measure.

Horses are easy to control with electric fencing. They are intelligent animals and quickly learn to respect an fence. Many people are concerned about whether electrical fences are safe, but there is simply an irrational fear surrounding the use of such fences. Are electric fences safe for your horse? the answer is simple – Yes.

When your horse touches the wire on an electric fence it closes the electrical circuit which allows the current to flow through the horse and into the soil, and finally back to the energizer. This results in the horse experiencing a sudden, but ultimately harmless shock causing it to back away from the electrified fence. The lesson is learnt. The idea that an animal will continually receive an excessive shock is frankly silly. Horses are smart creatures, any owner will tell you that. The fence teaches them a lesson, nothing more.

Traditional wire or wooden fencing is much more likely to injure your horse especially when they get scared or spooked by a predator and attempt to push through or jump over it. A properly installed electrified fence system is the safest, most visible method to control horses. Not only is the fence strong enough to take the horses weight, but it can be made tall enough that the horse will not attempt to jump it. The materials available as a replacement to wire include electric tape and rope, both highly visible to your horse.

Electric Fence – How to Stay Safe

Are Electric Fences Dangerous?

The simple answer is yes and no.

Think about it this way, farmers, livestock owners and horse owners all use electric fences, they also all make their living or have a passion for the animals they are trying to contain. If you were them, would you knowingly put your livelihood at risk by placing a dangerous fence where you know the animals will touch it, instead of a regular fence? No, of course not. So, these fences must be safe, right?

If managed responsibly electric fences are indeed very safe, they deliver more of a buzz than a crack. The fence is a deterrent, nothing more. Ask any farmer if the fence could kill an animal and most would laugh it off saying, ‘Well my dog bites the thing daily and he’s still here’. Electric fences do have the ability to deliver a stronger shock, but animal owners will not have their fences fully charged. The fence will be set so that when animals and people come into contact with the fence they are more likely to experience a discomfort or mild jolt rather than actual pain. The idea behind an electric fence is to deliver a one-time shock that teaches the animal not to touch the fence gain and therefore makes it much easier to contain.

Better Safe than Sorry

For those that still hold reservations, I would suggest having a chat with an electrical fence specialist, but for now here are some safety tips that owners and potential owners should keep in mind:

  • Make use of warning signs, make sure everyone is aware that the electrified
  • Never modify your electric fence without first consulting the manufacturer, there is a reason why the fence operates the way it does and you could be making it less safe by altering it
  • Never use barbed wire in your electric fence, it’s a poor conductor and can trap animals on the fence resulting in consecutive shocks
  • Have an expert install your fence if you are at all unsure of how to do it yourself, most suppliers will use an electrical contractor or provide this as an additional service
  • Ensure all those who come in regular contact understand how to disconnect the fence in case of an emergency, write these instructions down and keep it near the controls
  • Use the right material for your wiring, if your fence is exposed to high winds regularly thick tape will be unsuitable as the fence may collapse or lean
  • Check the fence’s voltage regularly to ensure it never reaches a dangerous level