Okay, let’s talk about fencing. I’m going to spread this out over the week so I can cover everything in as much detail as possible. So firstly here’s a list of considerations for where to locate a paddock or pen for your pigs;
1. Are you farming free range or are you just running them in a pen. This is important because it relates directly to paddock size and the amount of materials you will need. From our experience pigs are happier in paddocks then pens. They do less damage to the paddock the bigger it is, and as long as they are well feed they won’t try to push out of the paddock.
2. To minimise materials, pick as flat a piece of ground as possible, small pigs will take advantage of any weakness in your fence and undulating ground provides many.
3. Make sure it is close to a water supply or somewhere you can run water to.
4. Ensure there is shade in the paddock. Remember shade moves and changes through out the day, so check the area you are putting your paddock during different times of the day to ensure there is always shade available.
5. Make sure it is close to power, solar energisers are good but prolonged wet weather or a break down can get ugly if you don’t have a backup plan.
6. Keep your paddock close to your loading/unloading facility, vet crush and sorting yards – it’s probably best having them integrated.
7. Better to build the fences for the smallest size pigs you are going to have first. So if you are planning on breeding your pigs, it’s important to start by building a fence that will keep the piglets in and the predators out.
8. You’ll need to use electric fencing; there is no other option – honestly.
9. You need to identify an area to isolate any sick animal – you can use temporary fencing like sheep panels for this. But again it will need shade, water and electricity. Isolation paddocks are best located at the front of a property were access is easy and people, like vets, who may need to see the animal don’t have to come into contact with healthy animal and risk contamination.
10. Although a flat area is best ensure the area you pick has some drainage and is not located with in a flood plain or an area that runoff drains into a dam or creek. The high level of nutrients in the soil can cause problems, like algae blooms, for you after big rain events.
11. Pigs can cope better with the cold then they do with the heat, so it’s very important if you live in a place which has regular temperatures over 25 degs in summer to have a wallow. Wallows also help with the control of parasites and other skin conditions. We live in an area were lice are a real problem and the only way to control them with out chemicals is if the animals have access to a wallow.
Please feel free to ask any questions.