Toward the beginning of our serious-about-getting-pigs talks, I expressed concerns about them getting out of whatever yard we'd construct for them. When Princess and her friends lived at our neighbor's last summer, they occasionally broke through their fencing. They didn't cause much trouble when they were out but I knew how I hated it when a chicken or two of ours gets out and meanders into our neighbors' yards. I know they say they don't mind but *I* mind. And, I didn't like imagining a giant pig roaming the neighborhood with me chasing it with my broom and a bucket of scraps.
Well, I didn't quite have the right picture in my head of how it would be set up. Jamey installed real fencing and, then, using re-bar and these nifty yellow extender things, attached the electric fencing several inches inside the real (post and wire) fencing. For a child (or adult, for that matter) to get shocked, they'd have to deliberately reach through the regular fencing and touch the electrified wire.
The current on the kind we purchased is pretty low (and cheap) - intended for smaller animals, like chickens even. The pigs don't like it either. We felt so bad for Spock the first day we turned it on. He was already a jumpy and nervous pig but once he touched it a few times, he went a bit crazy- running all over the yard, accidentally bumping into it in other places only to yelp and run again. Thankfully, it only took him (and the other pigs) a day to learn to stay away. When they see us approach the fences now, they first get excited- thinking we've brought scraps- but they stop when they see that yellow wire and come no further. We are able to feed them scraps and have easy access to them through the barn.
Another benefit of using electric fencing is that we can section off the pig yard easily with it by repositioning the re-bar stakes. This allows us to limit their access to one part of the yard so the rest will grow up. The idea is to transfer them to a new section once they've depleted the first section's food supply. Imagine a funnel with the narrowest part being where the pig yard meets the barn. They'll always have access to the barn and water at the narrowest part but the upper, larger part of the funnel (pig yard) is what is being divided.
In the picture below, I'm standing inside the barn looking out. Just beyond the large tree to the right, the electric fence cuts straight across to the left (hard to see), sectioning off part of the back of the pig yard.
Jamey has tried out the fence- a couple times on purpose and a couple not. It gives a nice little jolt but nothing too terrible. So he says. I've decided to take his word for it and always make a point to tell our guests not to touch the pretty yellow wire inside the pig yard. That's a mild trade off for not having to chase after pigs so I'll take it.