Hog Fencing

hog fencing

Although many people say that goats are the most challenging animals to keep fenced in, I find pigs much more challenging. It only took us a couple of years to figure out how to keep goats in their pastures. However, we’ve had pigs now for thirteen years, and we still have problems with them escaping. They are ridiculously smart and seem to continuously come up with new ways to escape.

The most recent—our boars lifted a pig panel high enough that they pulled the T-posts out of the ground, effectively knocking down the fence. The T-posts were in the ground eighteen inches deep. Normally this type of fencing works perfectly for pigs, but the ground just happened to be soft enough for this to work because we had recently had a lot of rain.

Pig panels are usually a surefire method of keeping pigs where you want them, so I’m not telling you this story to discourage you from using them. You should know that pigs are smart and motivated and will always be looking for a way to escape, regardless of how long any particular method of fencing has worked for your pigs.

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hog fencing
Pig panels are made of very thick and rigid wire, so they usually do an excellent job of keeping pigs where you want them.

The other type of fencing that works great with pigs is electric. We had been struggling with keeping our pigs fenced in when I visited a friend with Red Wattle hogs. I saw her thousand-pound boar grazing happily behind a single strand of electric fence. The first time we had tried electric, we had put a single wire next to a woven wire fence, and the pigs buried it when rooting, so we gave up on electric. If you use a single strand of electric, with or without any other type of fencing, it needs to be high enough off the ground so that the pigs can’t bury it and short it out when they’re rooting. There is also temporary electric pig netting, which I have not used, but I’ve heard others say that it works great.

Woven wire does not work with pigs. Because it is loose and flexible, they can simply lift it with their hard noses and walk right under it as it folds up like an accordion. We got lucky with our feeder pigs for a couple of years and had been able to keep them in our walnut grove without any problems. Then one year we bought six piglets that quickly learned how easy it was to lift the fence and go wherever they wanted. That’s when we added the strand of electric, which would have worked if we had placed it at pig head level.

Welded wire does not work for pigs. We had originally placed a welded wire fence between our front yard and the chicken yard. It was put there to keep the chickens from digging up the flowers in the front yard, and it worked great for that. But then I decided to put the pigs in the two-acre space that the chickens occupied, because there was a one-third acre pond that I thought the pigs would enjoy on hot summer days. I was right about the pond. They loved it. However, when fall came, acorns started falling in the front yard, and once the pigs knew there were acorns, they busted through the welded wire fence one night when we were all sleeping. They easily broke through the welds and created a huge hole in the fence.

This is an excerpt from Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living, second edition. 

I used to think I would never want pigs, but here’s why I changed my mind and four reasons to add pigs to your homestead.

pigs inside a fence

5 thoughts on “Hog Fencing”

  1. I raised American guinea hogs a few years ago and had to move, so I butchered them early. There was a flavor to the meat that I did not like compared to regular hogs which we have raised for number of times. Is the flavor of the American guinea hog different than normal hogs?

    • It’s a little different, but everyone I know who has had it, including chefs in several large cities, love it. Did you butcher intact boars that had been kept with sows?

  2. Hi, I currently raise Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats and am considering adding American Guinea Hogs to our homestead. We have never kept pigs before, and I’m wondering if they can ever share a pasture with goats or if it wouldn’t be safe for the goats? I know they are supposedly more gentle than other breeds, but I still worry.. And if they can’t share a pasture at the same time, would it be okay to have pigs in my pasture rotation with the goats, or are there diseases or parasites pigs could bring in to my goats? They would only be sharing/rotating pastures with my adult bucks and wethers, not with does or any kids. But I have a very happy and healthy herd right now with few parasites or other issues, so I really don’t want to make a mistake bringing pigs in if it could change things. It’s been difficult for me to find information on this so any help is appreciated so much! Thank you!!

    • Parasites are species specific, so goats can NOT get infected with pig worms and vice versa. In fact, if a pig eats larvae from goat worms, they digest it. When you hear a word like “roundworms,” that is a huge classification which includes thousands of different types of roundworms. For example, barber pole (haemonchus contortus) is a roundworm that only infects goats and sheep — not pigs or horses or people.

      Male pigs do get large tusks, which can wind up slicing open a leg (human or goat) if someone just gets too close during feeding time and the boar turns his head quickly towards you. For that reason, I wouldn’t put goats with boars unless they were quite young and hadn’t grown tusks yet. (BTW, having the vet trim tusks is a waste of time and money! They grow back SO fast!) Sows do not get tusks.

      In general, AGH are VERY friendly pigs. They are gentle and friendly and get along with all livestock. I have a picture of my boar sleeping with chickens walking all over him. I also have a picture of piglets trying to nurse on a boar who is laying on his side trying to sleep! LOL!

      Having pigs follow the goats works best because they will eat grass down to the dirt, and it’s not a problem for them. You want to move the goats when the grass gets down to about 6″ because the worm larvae is on the lower 4″ of grass.


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