Checking out the new des res

Trying out the new des res

Gus and Dolores checking out their new des res on the farm. Photos courtesy of their new providers of feed, rubs, tickles and other luxuries…

Not bad, not bad at all

All this and food, too!

And room for porkers too

Dolores’s new owner originally bought two weaners from us. Now he has a sow, a boar on loan and four porkers. The pig habit is contagious!

5 Responses to “Checking out the new des res”

  1. the devolutionary Reply 5 January, 2009 at 08:47

    Interesting to see the fencing here. I couldn’t help noticing the stock fencing and wooden posts option (without electric tape or wire) you favour below. Having become necessarily obsessed with fencing over the last 18 months, I’ve noticed this permanent fencing more and more in pig pictures recently.

    We started out with wire and plastic posts, which work fine for a few minutes, then break for 2,000 years. Then went to wooden corner posts with plastic posts between, Then moved completely to (unbreakable) metal posts with slidy up and down plastic things, which I now recommend to anyone to asks. (We’ve had to move our pigs around a lot, clearing woodland, veggie beds and the like.) But with new pigs arriving in March/April destined for a permanent woodland home, I’m drifting towards permanent fencing – it could save a lot of running around.

  2. We have four types of fence.

    The boundary fence and the fences that demark the larger pens/fields are seven-wire, permanent electric fences with a mains energiser. This works well with the larger pigs (from about six months), as well as sheep and cattle.

    The fences around the smaller pens, which are used for the boars, sows with litters and younger weaners/porkers have permanent electric fences backed by stock netting. The netting holds them long enough for the electric fence pulse to deter them—a determined boar or randy sow will push through even a mains-powered electric fence while piglets shoot in every direction until they get the hang of it.

    To sub-divide the larger pens and fields for several months we use semi-permanent fencing. We have strainer posts at key locations with ratchet tensioners nailed to them. When we need the fence, we run three lines of 2.5mm high-tensile wire between the strainer posts and support them with a mix of wooden stobs (with insulators) and plastic stakes. We use four plastic stakes then a stob, then four plastic and so on. This works well with the older, trained animals.

    Finally, we use braided wire temporary fencing to strip graze the older pigs on vegetables and grass within the larger fields and pens. This makes more efficient use of the ground. We only need a two-wire fence on plastic stakes for this as it doesn’t matter if a pig goes through to the “wrong” section for a few hours. (In fact, they rarely break through the fence—usually because they’re having a tussle and one staggers through it.)

    We’ve found polywire to be worse than useless in our conditions. We’re in a very windy spot and polywire rubs through at every stake.

    As far as visibility is concerned, the temporary and semi-permanent fences have their stakes and posts at six-feet intervals. A pig at the middle of the interval can see the posts to either side and with the grass cut down along the fence line they know where not to cross. The permanent fences have wider spacing as they’re kept well-tensioned and the grass is kept down along the line. Older, trained pigs know where the boundaries are while less-trained but still sizeable pigs quickly found out—they may hit the fence once or twice but they bounce off and respect it thereafter.

    Oh, and the energiser is a 9.6kv model that makes even sheep with a full fleece jump. The pigs have a very, very healthy respect for the fences, especially in wet weather.

    Having said that, there’s still a lot more maintenance to be done on the fencing than if you just keep cattle or sheep. The pigs bury the bottom line of fencing, some are adept at using their snouts to push the posts just above or below the electrified wires, and tussling animals have been known to snap 3in stobs.

  3. the devolutionary Reply 5 January, 2009 at 11:35

    We’re currently off-grid, so depend on solar-fed electric wire. Unfortunately, the pigs quickly earth up the lower wire which trips the fence leaving them to roam free. The batteries also drain quickly in wet weather. When in the woods, they were never interested in leaving their enclosure; but down in the field they do get bored. Looks like I’m destined to do more knees-bent running around. Still. Keeps you fit.

  4. Could you go for a more powerful charging set-up? When I was living in Western Australia, a friend’s father used a mains energiser to power his fencing by wiring it to an inverter powered from a battery bank. The batteries were charged by a small wind turbine and a solar panel. I can’t remember what our energiser draws, but it’s not much.

    As fence repairs, I’ve just finished repairing myself! I gashed my palm on the end of a wire while clearing the fence line 10 minutes ago.

  5. Ha! Not even any mention of the stone walls.

    cheers

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