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Tennessee Potbellied Pig Association

Housing and Fencing
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Panel Fencing
panelfencing.gif

Fencing:

 

A safe and secure fence is extremely important. Not all fencing is suitable to keep pigs. Plain barbed wire strands for example, is not a suitable fence for a pig and should not be used. Neither is chain link, unless it is re-enforced at the bottom all the way around. The best fencing for keeping potbellied pigs is called cattle panels or hog panels. This type of fence can be purchased at most farm or feed stores and comes in 16 ft long sections. It is easy to use and is put up with T-Posts. It is also a great fence because it is very easy to add to your pasture or yard in sections as you like, and is also good for using as a safety divider when you are introducing new pigs to your herd. This type fence is also heavier, which prevents the pig from lifting it from the bottom with their nose, and getting out.  It has many uses and is very versatile. For adult pigs, cattle panels are fine. If you have a very small piglet, hog panels would be better as the squares on the bottom are much smaller, to prevent the piglet from squeezing through the squares. Whatever fence you use always remember that the most vulnerable area of the fence to the pig is the bottom. So always make sure the bottom is tight, strong, and re-enforced. Pigs, even very young piglets can lift a fence with their nose very easily and get out. If you already have an existing chain link fence, you can still use it providing you re-enforce the bottom all the way around with cattle panels. An inexpensive way to do this is to buy several cattle panels and cut them in half lengthwise, thus making two long 16 ft sections out of one. Attach them to your existing chain link fence at the bottom, all the way around.

Woven wire fence is also another option, and you can purchase a roll that will fence 330 ft at a time. This type fencing must be put up correctly though, or will not be secure enough for a pig. In addition to T-Post, there must be stretching posts set down deep in cement at all of the corners to keep the fence tight. This type fence must be put up by someone experience in installing farm fence for it to be secure enough to hold a pig. Cattle and Hog panels are still the best way to go. Even though pigs are short in statue, you still want a fence that is tall enough to keep predators out, so remember that when selecting a fence height.

As to size of your pasture or yard, it is best to start out with a pasture or yard at least 50 x 100. This gives the pig plenty of room to graze and roam without having to graze where it uses the bathroom. Pigs won't eat where they waste. So make sure your pig has a nice large, securely fenced yard. Doing this right from the start will save you and your pig allot of hardship down the road.

 

Housing:

 

You need a dry, structurally sound barn, extra large dog house, or shed.  A private stall in a barn is ideal, but if you don’t have a barn, you can get an extra large dog house. Make sure it is large enough for the pig to turn completely around in.  Also, make sure it is big enough to accommodate a pig that is growing. 

Many pig parents that are handy with building, also like to make their own little “pig condo”. They are easily made of of plywood, inexpensive, and you can make them as plain or fancy as you like.  Some even make a little covered porch on the front.

The most important thing to remember is to make sure that it is dry.  Face the door away from prevailing wind and rain, and use an old heavy throw rug to hang over the door .

If you are going to be putting a little heat lamp in it during the winter, also make it tall enough so the lamp is at least 3 foot above the bedding area.

You can find many great books at farm stores that have easy to follow plans on how to make a variety of animal housing projects.

For bedding it is best to use straw during the summer months, and hay during the winter months. Hay is heavier and warmer, so it makes a good winter bedding. Try to stay away from using old comforters though, as pig tend to tear and shred their bedding, and can choke on the stuffing or even worse, swallow it and get an intestinal blockage. So be cautious about blankets and comforters for safety reasons. If you want a cover, a tarp works well. They are warm and easy for the pig to cover themselves up with, and they won’t shred them up like they do blankets.  Pigs will usually scoot underneath a tarp or blanket, and cover themselves up.

For safety reason, it is not good to let your pig share a barn stall with horses or goats. Horses may kick them, and goats tend to "butt" them in the sides, which may cause internal problems.

Pig Condo
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