How to move pigs
Here is my disclaimer. We have a breed of pig that is smaller and easier to work with. We raise American Guinea Hogs. They are naturally friendly and happy little pigs! I have not attempted to move really large pigs. The larger breed of pigs get to go in one very secure pen and don't get out until they are on their way to freezer camp, if you know what I mean.
Last summer we moved American Guinea Hogs all over our land because they love to graze! We are trying to improve our pastures for our cows and the soil disturbance from the pigs rooting around, along with their hooves disturbing the ground have been really good to bring up new seeds of grass. This was our second summer of moving pigs around on our old worn out hay field that we bought, so we have learned a few things. Pigs are very motivated by feed. So we let them out and make sure we have a low pan of feed that they try to get. Make sure you can walk faster than them and they will follow you. I tell you this because it does not work to chase them around the yard. The only one that gets tired is you! And your kids will start throwing pitchforks at the poor little piggies.
Make sure you don't choose a path to lead them that goes by the garden or any other really enticing place! It really helps to move pigs when you have withheld their feed a few hours past their normal feeding times. Did I say they are very motivated by the feed? Don't get too far ahead of them or the stragglers will get lost. By the way, these pictures are of American Guinea hogs that are a few months old; sometime after we had weaned them. We had 2 sows that gave us 10 piglets each last summer. Yeah Baby! American Guinea Hogs are known for being good mothers.
If you have pigs trained on a hot wire (aka, electric fence), they need to have a gate that is wooden so you can open it and then lead them through. I can not tell you how much time we have spent trying to get pigs to go across where there had been a hot wire. That would be embarrassing and show you that we are slow learners! Pigs are creatures of habit, once they are trained on a hot wire they refuse to go across. Trust me. Put a gate in. Once you get those pigs into the area that you want them to be in, make sure you have enough feed in there to keep them there while you shut the gate or turn on the fence!
We have found it pretty easy to section off a pasture with temporary fencing then put the pigs in half of the pasture. Let the pigs graze it down, disturb the soil. When we want them to move unto the other side, take down the temporary fencing during the morning chores. Move their water to the side that you want them to be on, and wait till they accidentally start crossing over on their own. Some pigs refuse to cross over an area where they remember a very hot wire that would get them! That evening, put feed on the new side of the pasture. If they already haven't all traveled to the new side, this should bring the last of them over.
Put your temporary fence back up and make sure it is hot. Every now and then you might have a desperate piggy that thinks they must make it to the old side. He might just charge through that temporary fence. Then it might be best to wait another day before putting up the temporary fence. By the next day, they should have all agreed that the new side is so much better. Put the temporary fence back up. Make sure you get that fencer plugged in fast. Hopefully they will all stay on the new pasture now. If not, you might have to check your fence to make sure it is not grounded out by dirt or sod that the pigs like to push up onto the fence.
If you go too many days without checking the perimeter of your fence for grounding out; your fence could keep getting weaker. Good job for a kid to do every day!
I hope this post was informative for you! Hopefully, it will inspire you to utilize these humble, hard little workers for your benefit!
I feel so spoiled to be able to raise our own pork! Plus that, I know our pigs were raised under a beautiful sky and their time on my farm was happy!