Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Electric fencing for the pigs

So late last week (right about when Little M was at her crankiest due to the virus she had over the weekend!), we finished the electric fencing for this year's butcher pigs. Really my husband finished it, since I was inside with the kiddo's :) He did most of the work on the fencing, I was mostly supervisor, kid wrangler, leveler, and occasionally dirt pounder around the fence posts.
the pig enclosure goes from the pig shelter to the right, down the line of fence posts, across the bottom, and back up the left side, with the new side garden area (with the peas and hay bales) being excluded. It is about 60x90, minus the garden area.

yup, this post hole is deep enough guys!

My husband cut the posts for the perimeter himself from trees on our property, and built the charger cover from scrap wood we had in the garage, so all we had to purchase were the electric fence components (wire, charger, grounding rod & clamp, fence-post wire insulators for t-posts and wood posts, and end/corner donut insulators, and extension cords), so the whole project came in within our fairly limited budget. We initially were looking at a solar charger for the fence, but after reading and hearing some mixed reviews about the one we were looking at and it's ability to keep animals in, we decided to go with a plug-in charger that could also be used down the road for larger animals over a larger area. This meant running 150 feet of extension cord from the house down to the pig area, but we figured that the line loss would be fairly low, and that compared to the reported lower strength of the solar charger, the plug-in one would be our best bet both for the pigs now, and for other animals in the future.

The fence wire might not be the prettiest, which was to be expected as it was our first time working with electric fencing, but it is totally functional and is working great to keep the pigs where they are supposed to be. They have each encountered it several times, and know to be wary of it. Of course, it helped that they were in electric fencing with their mom when we got them, so they already had experience with electric fences. We kept the hog panels mostly up, so they still use that area for sleeping, water, and their feed bucket, but they are often out and grazing in their pasture, which is great to see!

The only problem though, is that the dogs can (and do) jump right over the fencing. Which means they can chow down on pig feed if we aren't watching and keeping them in the right part of the yard... Sigh... We so need to finish our yard fence, but it might not happen until next year, as the chicken fence is now the priority. Without a secure chicken fence to keep the chickens away from the pig electric fencing, the chickens are limited to their small (and bare dirt!) outside enclosure off their coop, with no greens and bugs to eat really. I read that the electric fence could kill them if they hit it, so until we get the chicken fence (and future orchard fence) up, they are penned up. We are currently working on that fence though, so hopefully within a week or two it will be ready. Now that the mister is back at work (and on nights!), getting things done has really slowed down. Plus the 100 degree heat we've had for the past several days has put a serious cramp on outside things apart from after the sun has fallen behind the hills in the evening.

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