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Electric Fence Keeps Pigs In!

26 September 2010 4 Comments

I finally got to install my electric fence yesterday morning, and we haven’t had any more trouble from the pigs.

For the electric fence energiser, I bought a Thunderbird BD-20. This is a neat little 2 km “strip grazer”, powered by 4x D-cell batteries.

I don’t have mains power near the pig pen because it’s well away from the house, so a battery-powered energiser was required. Most of them use alligator clips to connect to a 12-volt external battery, but I needed something weatherproof – the BD-20 holds the batteries internally. Perfect. It can also connect up to a 12-volt external battery or mains power, for full flexibility.

Because the fence we built has chicken wire on it that might contact the electric wires, and the star picket fence posts aren’t all turned in the right direction, it was easier to just install the electric fence on new star pickets inside the existing fence. That also has the benefit of putting it out of reach of children!

I chose to use the white tape-style electric wire, figuring it would be more visible to the pigs. They really don’t seem to have very keen vision. The tape has a higher resistance per metre than other types of wire, making it unsuitable for longer runs, but my fence is well under 100 m perimeter so that’s no problem.

The bottom wire is about 15cm off the ground, so the pigs will bump it if they try to root around near the fence. The second wire is about 25cm above that, which will catch them on the side or rump if they brush against it. When they get bigger I’ll install a third wire another 30-40cm above that (I ran out of insulators, so left that one out for now).

To make access more convenient, I bought a gate kit. It’s basically a hook with an insulated handle, with a big spring that stretches across your access point. You simply unclip it to walk through, and clip it back on behind you.

The pigs are very curious, so it didn’t take them long to investigate the new fence. It only took a couple of zaps each to teach them what it was all about! They now stay well clear of it, and we’re all happy.


  • Anna said:

    I’m so glad you’re making the mistakes for us. I’ll have to remember to start with electric fences right away when we have our pig adventure.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Anna: Glad to be of help (and amusement!). It’s definitely worthwhile to design the fencing up-front with electric in mind. Another benefit of electric fences is the ability to move them, so you can put your pigs onto fresh ground once they’ve dug up the old area. It’d be an awesome way to turn a fresh bit of ground into a vegie patch!

  • Loretta Rayford said:

    I love what you guys tend to be up to. Such clever work and reporting!

    Keep up the great works guys I’ve added you guys to my own blogroll.

  • Dog Containment Fence Repair said:

    […] Once in place, you have to go through a training regime with your dog to teach it not to linger near the boundary. The audible warning tells the dog when it’s close, and if it continues toward the fence it gets an electric shock from the collar. One or two hits from that, and they stay well back – just like pigs with electric fences. […]