When we start new piglets out here on the farm. We always take them through a training process.
Without training them you will end up with pigs that get out constantly. That's never a good way to keep your neighbors happy about you having pigs.
Electric fence is a mental barrier verses a physical barrier. A physical barrier is something like a hog panel. They physically can't get through it.
Two little wires would never keep a pig in, but once they fear and respect it they will stay right where you want them.
Every once in a great while you get a pig who runs through the fence and then figures out how to slip the wire. If you don't put a stop to it immediately they will get out anytime they want.
The only choice is to re-train them or they will teach the rest and then you're in for a long chase and possibly upset neighbors. Not to mention they could get out and get onto a road or tear the heck out of someone's yard or flower beds.
By slipping the wire I mean putting their head down and slipping under the wire. They usually get right up to the fence and drop down and squeal as they keep right on going!
These are the pigs you hope you never get. But usually they learn this by not having a good fence charger or the fence wire isn't positioned properly e.g. not enough strands or too high off the ground.
I would never keep a pig that slips the wire for breeding stock. Around here if you don't stay where you belong, you become food! That's the main reason my boys always tell me before they go anywhere. (just kiddin)
So how do you train a pig to electric fence?
You fix a pen for them in the barn or outside and have it so there is plenty of chances for them to get into the hot wire.
The critical part is have the pig get into the wire but never be able to get past or go through the wire.
A good example would be a a pen made out of hog panels with a couple hot wires around the inside at the proper height, which is nose height for pigs.
If a pig get shocked in front of the eyes, 99 times out of 100 he'll back up. But if he gets "hit" behind the eyes, say top of the ears, he will lounge forward.
If all you had was a wire with no physical barrier behind it, he is out the first time he gets shocked and your fence is torn down. If he repeats that a few times forget ever keeping him in with just electric fence wire.
But if you train in the pen with a hot wire and a physical barrier even if he lounges forward all he gets is more shock!
I've had some pigs that weren't too smart and they would get into the wire and run down the fence for 15 or 20 feet determined to get through it. It didn't take them too long to figure out they were in a losing battle!
Tie flags on the fence every three feet or so. Pigs will learn to associate the flags with the shock and avoid them. That way when you put them out on pasture and use the same flags they won't even try the fence because they "know" they can't get past it.
I have found a good flagging material is the tape that surveyors use. It's bright orange or pink and you can get it by the roll at most any home improvement store. It lasts for a long time and the colorful tape keeps you from running into it with equipment or your bare leg!
The only time I have pigs get out of a new pasture is not enough flags and they can't see it.
When visitors come you can quickly point out to the little kids that the flags will bite and do not get near them.
I love using fiberglass post with insulators that you can slide up or down to adjust the height as the pigs grow.
That way you can keep it at nose height no matter what size they are. The bigger they get the easier it is to hold them in. Little pigs can slip through a wire very easily.
There are a million chargers on the market but a good rule of thumb is use one at least twice as big as what you think you'll need. You usually end up running way more fence than you ever planned to in the beginning anyway so get a charger once and be done with it.
Look for a charger that is low impedance and at least 3 joules.
I currently use a 15 joule charger and even my old sows do not fool with the fence. It can stand heavy weed pressure or even have a deer run through it and be on the ground and pigs stay put.
We use two strands for almost everything and with sows many times only a single strand.
It comes down to training them right the first time and and having the right equipment and no worries.
Until next time....