Good quality pig fencing is essential for any hogs kept outside, regardless of the breed. Whether you have a Kune Kune, or Middle White, or even a Micro Pig – it’s essential that you get your fencing right, thereby minimizing escapees and other possible problems.
The strength and height of your fencing can vary to a degree depending on which breed of pig you plan on keeping behind it. Keepers of larger breeds may choose to support their fencing with a form of electric fencing as an extra barrier to help prevent escapes (this will be covered in another article).
Our easy to follow pig fencing guide is primarily aimed towards owners and keepers of the small pig breeds – such as the Micro Pig, Kune Kune, Pot Belly, Berkshires, etc. This guide has tips and ideas for all pig keepers, whether or not you keep your pigs on farm land, or in a garden. Any fencing you plan to use when keeping pigs has to be good quality, and robust enough to withstand your damage, and wear and tear, from your pig(s).
All pet pigs, once fully grown, have a lot of strength so your fencing will have to able to deal with them. Some breeds are worse than other for trying your fencing – the path you choose, regarding fence design and materials used, will vary depending on the pig breed you choose to keep behind it.
What Fencing Should i Use For Pigs?
Your fencing should be free of any holes which your hogs might be able to squeeze through and escape (especially when dealing with small piglets). Your fencing will also have to provide a physical barrier between to good enough to keep any potential predators out – like dogs, and in some countries coyotes.
Pigs have more of tendency to go through or under fence wire as opposed to going over it. They will use their fleshy nose to pry under things, so make sure that the bottom of any fencing is against the ground and not a couple of inches in the air. A pig may pull and swing on fencing; therefore, it has to be robust enough to withstand these types of forces.
If you are using your fence to keep the sexes apart i strongly recommend that you reinforce your fence with electric strand fencing. Sometimes this can be the only way to stop un-castrated boars from trying to get to sows; a breeding boar will swing and pull on a fence in an attempt to get to a female, and they can cause considerable damage in the process.
If you are using wire fencing in a breeding setup it is a good idea to regularly inspect the fencing for damage. Pigs are clever animals, if they find a weak spot in your pig fencing they will work at the area until they can get out. Pigs have sharp teeth and strong jaw muscles, they may try to chew through your fencing, so selecting wood panels or a wire gauge thick enough to withstand this is essential.
Pigs do not burrow, however, they can wear away the ground by constantly walking on it, or rooting. Keep a watchful eye on any fencing situated on soft ground; the surrounding ground can wear down, therefore creating an escape for a hog. This is especially so for breeds of pig which are more prone to rooting – like Gloucester Old Spots. Continuous rooting will mean there is a greater chance of the pig wearing the ground down and creating an escape under your wire mesh.
Galvanized Wire Netting For Pigs
The most common types of pig fencing used with smaller pig breeds are wood or wire mesh fencing. I find cattle/sheep fencing to be sufficient and the most cost effective. The strands on this type of fencing are usually in the region of 2.5mm to 3mm thick. You can use a smaller gauge of fencing such as woven, or stiffer type, but these types of fencing are usually a lot more expensive.
Please be aware that chicken wire mesh alone is not adequate enough for fencing for pigs. It might be able to house piglets, but an adult pig will easily be able to get through it, or even rip it. Use 5ft long wooden fence posts with wired fencing. Each post should be dug roughly a foot into the ground. Your posts should be a minimum 3 inch in diameter. I prefer to use 5-inch diameter posts as they are a sturdier and will last longer. Your fence posts should be situated approximately 5‑6 yards apart. Additional fence posts might be needed if you building on bumpy, or hilly ground.
Extra fence posts should be placed in dips or hollows to help pull the fence down and against the ground. Corners of your fencing will need to be reinforced with diagonal post fixed into the ground, or metal posts cemented into the ground. The corners of your pig pen will take most of the stress. The corners of the pen will be pulled inwards by the tightness of your wire fence. The diagonal support posts are designed to counter and resist this force. When building your fencing make sure the fencing is pulled as tight as you can get.
If your fencing is loose any pigs you keep behind might be able to escape underneath. If you are building your fence on land where there is other livestock (i.e. horses, cows, sheep, etc) you may want to run a single strand of barb wire an inch or two from the of the fence posts. This will help prevent animals such as sheep from jumping over the fence; it will also help keep predators such as wild dogs and coyotes out. It will also stop horses and cows from itching their necks on the fence and damaging it.
Wooden Fencing For Pigs
If you raising pigs in a backyard, allotment, or something similar, you might consider using wooden fencing as an alternative. When using wood for fencing, care needs to be taken to use wood strong enough to resist any damage done by your pig. Remember, pigs have sharp teeth and can chew easily through thin wood. The wood you use needs to be thick and strong enough to take damage like this. Also, the wood has to be treated with a wood preservative to help prevent it rotting. Certain breeds of pig will need stronger fencing than others, so bear this in mind and do your research before you go out and buy your fencing materials.
I find that 10 feet X 3” X 1” wooden rails are suitable and cost effective for use with smaller pig breeds. These should be used with either 3” to 5 “ diameter fence posts (I prefer to use 5” posts due them being more durable). Four rails should be used per fence post section, the height of the top rail needs only to be 2-3 feet from the bottom.
As stated previously, pigs tend to go through or under fencing, not over it, so your fencing shouldn’t need be usually any more than 2-3 feet in height. Just like the wire fencing, if you are building your fence in a field with other livestock around consider running a strand of barb wire a few inches below the top of the fence posts. This will prevent damage to the fence by other livestock in the surrounding field and also helps keep predators out. The great thing about wood for fencing is that it can be cut and contoured to suit your needs and the shape of your property. It also doesn’t require additional manpower or vehicles to get it tight and rigid. Done right, it can also look really nice and can be painted to suit your field/garden/yard. Just make sure you use a non‑toxic paint which is safe to be used around animals.
If you are housing small piglets behind a wooden fence you might want to staple a layer of chicken wire to it to prevent them squeezing through any gaps. Chicken wire/mesh is fine to used as long as there are strong wooden panels or rails behind it.
For those interested in a portable electrical fencing for pigs, please check out this tutorial on how to setup and electrical fencing for pig and hogs.
What are you thoughts on pig fencing? Share them in the comments below.