Updated: Jan 28
Whenever one of our pigs touches the electric fence, and lets out an impressive heart rendering squeal, Anne and I, in perfect unison, cheerfully proclaim “fence works!”. Our friends look at us in horror, and I guess it probably does seem a bit callous, but anyone who has spent an afternoon trying to retrieve a wayward pig understands our enthusiasm. A little zap on the nose seems like a very small price to pay, to remind the little wanderers which side of the fence is theirs.
Pigs, in general, are hard on fences. Their constant rooting of rocks and dirt, shovels debris on top of the bottom wire, shorting out the electrical charge and rendering the fence basically useless. When it’s just adult pigs in the paddock, we can raise the lowest wire to keep it out of the dirt. But if there are piglets around, and we raise the bottom wire too high, the piglets can slip underneath it- which they happily do for no other reason than that they can, and that it clearly annoys me.
Since we always have piglets around, I spend an inordinate amount of time each day, trying to keep the fence suitably electrified. Sometimes a short is obvious, like a fallen tree or an uprooted stump, but more often I need to retrace the pig’s steps, following the fence line, looking for uprooted rocks, a broken insulator or a snapped wire.
Yesterday, I had to hop over a stream where 5 inches of rain, from Hurricane “Henri” had buried the bottom wire in storm related debris. Hopping over the stream was easy enough, but I slid on the muddy bank, into the fence. I grabbed the metal post, as I slid by, which indeed kept me from falling, but completed the circuit just the same. It’s true the shock really wasn’t that bad, but I still bellowed out in pain, and I swear in the distance, I heard one of the piglets enthusiastically yell “fence works!!!”