Right now the pigs are in the turkey pen. It works fine, but they will soon outgrow it, so I am in the process of moving them into portable electric fencing.
From what I’ve read, when pigs are first shocked by electric fence, they try to run through it rather than away from it. Rather than put them in the electric fence enclosure and then have them run right out of it (and then have to chase them down), I decided to train them on electric fence while they are still in the pen. Basically, I took two step-in posts and ran two wires on them. The idea is to let the pigs find out what it does in a safe environment. They are really smart, so once they learn it, they will probably never forget.
I assembled it outside of the pen, and then thought I should test it to be sure I hooked it up correctly. Apparently, I didn’t have my hand safely on the insulated part of the tester and got hit…hard. Until now, I’ve only been shocked by the poultry netting, which is a poly-wire (a combination of nylon and small steel wire). It hurts, but it’s really no big deal. The premium aluminum wire I’m using for the pigs is a solid 16 gauge wire, and conducts electricity very efficiently. It didn’t just hurt…I thought my heart was going to explode. I wanted to fall down and lay there for a while. I couldn’t believe how much it hurt and rattled my system (through leather gloves while wearing rubber boots). On the up-side, I am confident that it will keep predators at bay.
I turned it off and put it in the pig’s pen. Before I could turn it on, the pigs were chewing on the wire. It didn’t seem kind to shock their little tongues, so I shooed them away. Before I could get it on, they were back to it…chewing on it. So, I got inside the pen and shoved them forcefully away from it. Of course, by the time I could get out, they were back. So then I gave them some fake food (straw) in their bowl. That lured all but the blond away (I have three red-heads and a blond). I was able to ward him off and then crank it up. Right away he came over and sniffed it with his nose. Now, for those of you who don’t know, electric fence is not always on…it pulses about once every second. Well, for a moment, the little pig got to sniff the wire, and then BAM, Squeeeeeal! He ran away and stared at the fence, then he came back to it and BAM, Squeeeeal! Then one by one, they came. Each one taking their turn at learning. As I walked back to the manse, I could hear squeal, silence, squeal, silence, squeal, silence. By the next morning, they wouldn’t come within four feet of the fence. Quick learners.