Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Aspiring Farmer Blog
A few weeks ago we wrote on our blog about the great piglet escape and the eventual even greater piglet capture. In summary, four 15-20# weaner pigs escaped on our 85 acres of tall grass and wooded areas and we spent four long days chasing and trapping them. We put them in an electrically fenced area, but the little pigs just went right under it. After the capture, in order for them not to escape again, we took eight pallets and screwed them together, added various other reinforcements and then put the electric wire inside so the pigs could learn not to mess with it. Since then the piggies have resided in their pallet pen homes.
Turns out the pallet pens work really well. Pigs don’t get out. They touch the wire and get zapped and we don’t have to chase them around and worry about coyotes eating them. But how long can that last? We want them to be on pasture and in the woods foraging. Eventually we have to take them out and put them back in an electrically fenced area and pray that they don’t escape again. How do we know when?
If they were bigger I would’ve probably tried already. Since they’re still so small I’m a little reticent. They’re extremely flighty, even though I get in the pallet pens with them nearly everyday and scratch their little heads while they eat. I also get in to change water regularly, feed them hay, feed them scraps, and feed them whey. I was hoping they might warm up to me a little more than they have. They’re certainly more friendly than a couple weeks ago, but not enough that I’m certain they’d stick around and come to eat when I called them.
So at what point do we let them out? I’ve been waiting for them to get a bit bigger, thinking that their increased size would give them more confidence and hopefully lead to them settling down in their paddocks without trying to run away again. Age might also take a little bit of their restless piglet-ness out of them. The first day we let them go was their first day without mother’s milk, so they were a little stressed out and I don’t blame them for running away. Hopefully now they know this is home.
A couple options we’re debating: 1.) Make the pallet pens bigger and wait a couple more weeks, 2.) make the pallent pens bigger and fence off half of it electrically and see if they cross the electric part, 3.) Let ‘em go and see what happens.
I’m leaning toward #2. Any more ideas?
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