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Pig Fencing and How to Catch Young Hogs

Without proper fencing, pigs (especially young feeder pigs) are likely to escape from your care. Bob Kelly offers his own experience to help other MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers catch their hogs.

| May/June 1974

  • Young Pig On a Fence
    Small pigs can slip through gaps, burrow under wires and climb over the planks of a fence that hasn't been properly designed to keep them in.

  • Young Pig On a Fence

Hogs are about the hardest of all homestead animals to fence in . . . and young hogs are especially difficult to hold: They can go over, under or through just about anything short of a solid board wall once they take it into their heads to get out. Then you're in for a wild time of hog catching.

That fact became very real to us last spring, when we bought a couple of 40-pound feeder pigs. We started out by making the animals a board pen (three and a half feet high . . . to begin with, anyhow) inside the barn. Then we added an outdoor enclosure of sheep netting, which we salvaged from an old fence row on our place.

That was our first big mistake. Sheep netting is no substitute for hog wire when it comes to pig fencing: The mesh is much too large for pigs. Seems like the little rascals just squirt through anything they can get their heads into up to the neck. We couldn't afford to go to town and buy a whole new roll of the proper fencing for pigs . . . so we compromised, got some two-inch mesh chicken wire and ran it around the sheep netting for greater strength and rigidity.

This precaution only sent the pigs under the wire instead of through it. We were pretty discouraged until a neighbor told us to lay logs around the inside of the pen at the base of the fence so the critters couldn't get their snouts under the wire and shove on through. That solved the burrowing problem.

The next time our young hogs got out, they went over the boards of the pen inside the barn. In other words, a pair of one-foot-tall animals climbed a sheer wooden wall three and a half times their own height. Amazing!

Once loose, the feeder pigs rampaged around in the barn, upsetting feed sacks, plowing through the worm beds beneath our rabbit hutches and even rooting up chunks of the floor where the frost had heaved the cement. After catching them again, I ran the sides of their enclosure on up to four and a half feet . . . a height that proved too much for them.

1/26/2018 4:29:34 PM

Helpful !

Dawn McGill
2/28/2013 2:53:49 PM

Hilarious bit about catching the piglets! I hope I won't need the advice, but something tells me I will.

Jimmy Mckenzie
9/14/2012 11:07:14 AM

Hog fencing worked very well for our barn, but you need to train the pigs first. At first, they just ran through and didn't back up from the wire when they hit, so they need to get trained. If you don't train them they will get out. I recommend a pen made of hog panel with some hot wires around the inside at right height, which should be at their nose height. I tied flags on the fence, and that made them associate the flags to the shock and it worked very well. When you put them out on the pasture they won't try the fence because they are trained they can't ghet past it. I bought my hog fencing through Zareba Systems and I highly recommend them.

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