Our difficulties with raising backyard pigs has been no secret. I’ve complained many times about how they have escaped from their pen and damaged one garden or another. Well, now we are building a pig pen with hog panels. Something we hope will hold up much longer and with less drama.
It would be fair to say that our first mistake was not properly training the pigs in a very tight area to fear electric fencing. Instead we immediately put them inside of electric net fencing – something many people have success with – and our pigs promptly found ways to break out of the enclosure.
Problems with Pigs
The pigs have been frustrating us so much. For Jared it usually came in the news of the pigs being out and in a garden, or coming home to find a pig in a garden, with any amount of damage imaginable having already been done. They’ve even taken baths in the fish pond, tipping over the flower pots of moss for the bees and rooting up around the pond. For Jennifer it usually meant having to get the pigs back inside of the fence while Jared was still at work.
We were so tired of it that the decision was made the butcher the pigs. We were done with swine and all their heartache.
The decision was made to wait a month until our local deer processor was open. However, when that time came, we found out that they are only permitted, by law, to process wild game, not farm raised animals. Apparently it didn’t matter that the meat was for our own use and not for sale.
Our next piece of news came with one of the sows looking quite pregnant. This would be her 2nd farrowing and unlike the first one this seemed to come on very suddenly. One day her teats seemed very full and she seemed much larger than the other sow.
Building a Pig Pen with Hog Panels
Well, we may be fed up with the pigs but we weren’t about to butcher a sow that was about to give birth. So, the decision was made to make a solid non-movable pen for her to farrow in and to let the piglets grow and wean.
We don’t have poultry on the property right now so we decided to re-purpose the chicken coup as a pig shelter. On the outside of the coup we added a 16 x 32 foot area. The inside covered area (the old coop) is about 6 x 14 feet, or so.
The timing of this move couldn’t have been better. As soon as the sow was placed in this new enclosure she started to nest. She was moving flakes of hay around and rooting out a hallow to lay in. The next morning – 9 new piglets: 6 boys and 3 girls.
So, here we are, for at least the next 2 months we’ll be growing out pigs again. We will be butchering the male and waiting to see if the 2nd sow is pregnant as well. More to come!
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