We didn’t do much research before we got a pig, since it was a last minute decision.
But we’ve learned that you cannot just put a pig in any area of your backyard and that they will stay there all the time.
So keeping your pigs in your backyard includes making sure to bury your fence a few inches into the ground, align your fence line with heavy objects or thick fencing, and don’t fill light objects around the outside of your fence.
Read on to find out why you should only do certain things to keep your pigs in
Why you might want to have pigs
There are some many good reasons to want to have pigs.
I’ll list just a few of them here.
First, they will eat up all of your leftover food.
Unfortunately in our house, our kids waste a lot of food.
Especially our 5 year old.
He will ask for a lot of food, but will only eat the good stuff out of it.
You would think we would learn our lesson by now, but unfortunately we have not.
Or you may find some of the food in your refrigerator has gone bad because you forgot about it.
Well, instead of throwing that food away, most of the time you can give it to your pig and they will eat it right up.
This means they won’t have to feed them as much pig feed and can get rid of your leftover food without throwing it away.
(Keep in mind that you can’t give your pigs over spoiled food. Food that has been in your fridge a day or two too long should be fine, but food that’s been in your fridge a few weeks too long is probably too old to give to your pig).
Leftovers that no one ate or will never eat? Give it to your pig and they will be so happy.
Second, pigs are very efficient in the meat that they give you when they are butchered.
When a pig is butchered, about 80% of the pig is good quality meat.
That is quite a lot to give back to you for feeding them your scraps.
Pigs are also good for rooting up the ground in your garden.
When the garden season is over or if you pass the pigs along from one grazing area to another, they are almost always going to root up whatever you have in the ground.
So in your garden, they will get up the plants that you used this year in preparation for new plants the next year.
Lastly, pig manure is a great fertilizer once it has been sitting around for a few months.
So after some time, scoop up their manure and use it for fertilizer.
There are more reasons to keep pigs, but these are probably some of the biggest reasons to have pigs in your homestead.
Why do you need to think about how to keep your pigs in
Pigs are naturally very curious.
They are also naturally escape artists.
Put these both together and you are going to have an animal that gets out of your yard a lot.
Just in the few months, we’ve had our potbelly pig, I’ve had to go get them back into their fenced area at least a few times a week, if not more.
And when you think you’ve covered up the area they are getting out, you’ll find them out of the yard again.
I got tired of getting calls from our neighbors letting us know the pigs are out.
Not because our neighbor was calling, but because I had to go corral the pigs once again.
So you are going to want to take some time figuring out how you want to take care of your fence and putting the appropriate precautions in place.
You’ll also want to check on your pigs regularly.
There are numerous times I’ve gone out at night before our neighbors could call us just to find that our pigs had gotten out yet again.
So take some time to figure out your backyard situation and figure out the best place for your pigs to not disturb your neighbors and to allow enough places for the pig to roam.
So how do you fence in a pig?
1. Bury your fence
They might not look it, but pigs are master diggers.
If you’ve ever watched a pig, you know they can do some crazy things with that snout of theirs.
And they can dig like crazy to get underneath your fence.
So while you typically bury your fence at least 6 inches to keep predators from getting to your chickens, you bury your fence at least 6 inches deep to keep your pigs in.
Otherwise, you’ll have to go walking around your neighborhood to find your pigs.
So before you put your fence it, dig a 6 inch trench where the fence is going to go.
Then put your fence into place.
Once your fence is in place, including putting it into the ground, fill the trench back in with dirt and walk on the dirt to compact it down to give it a good bury.
2. Get a nice tight fence
You really need to keep in mind the type of fencing you are getting when considering pigs.
You will want a fence that will be nice and tight and won’t give too much bend.
A chain link fence might give a good look to your animal area, but it’s not going to be too ideal for your pig area.
Again, pigs are great diggers and if the fence has just a little bit of give, they will take advantage of that to get out.
And chain link fencing is notorious for having lots of give.
Poultry wire might seem like a good option as well.
And the small holes in the poultry wire might seem pretty appealing to keep your pigs in.
But with poultry wire you run into the same issue of not being tight.
You can get a nice tight poultry wire fence put up if you are putting in wood posts, but it might be too much work and not worth it.
The mesh roll fence is another one we have tried, with very little success.
We originally purchased it so we could square off an area in our animal area to keep our pig in.
And we had gotten her cornered just where we wanted her.
But when it came down to it, the mesh roll fence was too curled up and the pig used this to her advantage.
Even though we had buried the fence a few inches into the ground, she was still able to bend the mesh roll fence to her will and get out.
When it comes down to it, what you really want is a welded wire fence for your pigs.
Welded wire fencing isn’t rolled up into a ball and typically comes in 12 to 16 feet long.
And this fencing isn’t going to be as fragile as the mesh wire or poultry wire.
So once you’ve gotten the fence tied to a post and buried in the ground, you should be good to keep your pigs in the yard.
3. What else you can use
In some cases, the fencing might not be enough.
If your pig is like ours, even if you have a tight fence, they might find ways and areas to get out of the yard.
So you might have to put something next to your fence to ensure that your pig isn’t able to get out.
A good option would be something heavy, so it isn’t too easy to move.
It also probably shouldn’t be round, because then it would be too easy to roll away from where you want it to be.
Cinder blocks is a good start.
An 8 inch by 16 inch cinder block is going to weight around 35 pounds.
That weight is probably a good size to keep your pig from trying to move it around.
It is also in a rectangular shape, which means that it won’t easily roll out of the way.
We have about 16 feet of a fence that isn’t very tight and the mother pig gets underneath it all the time.
But when we placed the cinder blocks on the inside of the fence (to remove any access that the mother pig would have at all to the fence), they haven’t gotten out on that side of the yard.
Another good option is a railroad tie.
You can purchase a railroad tie at Lowes and the length of the railroad tie is 8.5ft.
That is enough to cover a pretty long fence.
And railroad ties range from 100 to 300 lbs in weight, with most averaging around 200lbs.
That again is a pretty good weight and placing it inside the fence will keep the pig from trying too hard to get out.
4. What not to put along the fence
We attempted to go the cheap way with keeping our pigs contained in our animal area.
When we moved into our current house, the previous owners left quite a bit of firewood in our yard and garage.
Some of these pieces are firewood are pretty big and would need to be cut down before they could be used for firewood.
But I also thought this meant they would be good for keeping our pigs in.
As mentioned previously, though, you don’t want to have something that is round and the firewood is too round.
This meant that when we put the firewood up against the fence, the mother pig would easily move the firewood out of the way just by pushing it with their nose and then would get out.
Another not good idea for along the fencing is kennel fencing.
You again want to have fencing that is sturdy, tight, and heavy and while the kennel fencing is going to be tight, it is not too heavy.
That fencing is good for keeping non-digging animals in, but when you have an animal that is going to dig and try to get out, kennel fencing is not ideal.
Also, because pigs so much want to get out they will ruin in the kennel fencing in an attempt to get out.
Always keep in mind that your pigs are going to try to get out.
They are very adventurous animals and no matter how much you try, they are going to try to get out of your yard.
So you should try your best to keep them in and then includes burying your fence at least 6 inches into the ground and maybe even surrounding the fence with heavy items which the pigs will not be able to move.
Then it is a matter of checking on the pigs a few times a day and making sure they are staying in where they should be.