[Market-farming] Digging Dogs and Feral Hogs, Anyone?

Barking Cat Farm barkingcatfarm at mindspring.com
Sat Feb 23 20:14:11 EST 2013

We're baacckkk.

After submitting our query to this list and several others, we've hit another snag in this seemingly never-ending challenge.  Immediately below is the original question we posted, followed by shortened versions of the responses, the newly arisen problem, and some new questions.  Thank you all for your time and patience.  We've been struggling with this one for a long time, and your help has been invaluable. 

On Feb 1, 2013, at 11:23 AMFeb/1/13, Barking Cat Farm wrote:

> Hello,
> We're embarking on a project to reinforce our farm's perimeter fence.  It is currently 4' field fence, which has worked well on coyotes and other non-deer larger mammals.  However, we have a problem with digging, particularly from the local pack of vicious dogs.  We need to find a way to keep them out, and since I'm modifying the fence anyway, we want to also exclude feral hogs.  We don't have them yet, but they've been spotted in the vicinity, so it's only a matter of time until they find us.  What damaging behaviors and solutions have you experienced with respect to feral hogs?
> More detail:  Our perimeter has a variety of micro-environments, so it may be a hybrid design works the best.  
> - Some areas are heavily vegetative. We don't plan to modify these areas at this time, as the vegetation is doing a good job of exclusion and we say if it's not broken don't fix it.;
> - in other areas we have purposely planted rose bushes and other low growing plants which will do a good job of exclusion once they are more mature. In these areas we might need to do some chicken wire "elled" at the bottom of the field fence and extended out a few inches and stapled down to prevent digging until roses and other plants mature, hot wire not a good idea due to vegetative load.; 
> - and in other areas we have bare ground where vegetation is not growing due to heavy forest shade, for example.  In these areas, not quite sure whether a hot wire or a barrier mesh similar to above is a better solution.  We know mesh works against digging dogs, but not sure about hogs.  Thoughts?
> My question to those who have dealt with feral hogs and fencing is how, specifically, they damage and/or breech fencing?  Do they ram and break it, do they dig under it, or what?
> Note: please don't suggest poisoning, shooting, or trapping.  We have thoughtfully considered and ruled all three out for a variety of reasons.  We feel that exclusion is our best option and are looking for guidance on that specifically.  

- Re: feral hog behavior, join the HomesteadHogs Yahoo! group - DONE, thank you!
- Hog panels nailed down so they cannot be lifted by the hogs (or dogs).  
- One or more hot wires near the bottom of existing field fence.
- There was a debate about trapping and/or shooting the hogs, which was beyond the scope of what I was asking.
- Rosebushes alone cannot be counted on as a deterrent, animals will find their way through the thorns.
- Put down the dogs -- they are being picked off by the neighbors in a piecemeal fashion as opportunity presents itself.  They have killed or injured many goats in the area, have killed at least one deer, and have been observed chasing horses.  We're all for putting them down - distasteful as it is - as these dogs are not hungry, just uncared for and vicious and allowed to inbreed and multiply at will.  Even if they were all put down tomorrow, though, we need a solution to exclude them and any future roaming dogs and hogs from the property.
- Investigate the (apparently burgeoning) demand overseas for feral pig meat.  Turns out there is a local man who will buy all the feral pig you bring him.  We don't yet have feral hogs.  This solution we're now working through is specifically for roaming dogs, figured we don't want to do it again when the hogs find us, so let's do both at once. 

Our fence that we're trying to fortify is set ON the property line, not inside of it (not our choice, there when we bought the land). The fence is attached on the inside of a variety of post types including t-posts mostly with some 2"+ heavy duty tubing and a few 5" wooden posts.  

On the front, whose outside we have control over and where the now immature vegetation is planted, we pulled back the mulch, fastened 2' galvanized chicken wire 1' up the field fence, elled it at the bottom out 1', stapled it down within an inch of its life, and replaced the mulch.  Somebody on the list said 2' was better, and we believe them, but we couldn't go much more than 1' without getting in the way of the frontage and ditch maintenance.  Our main threat on the front is dogs.

On the sides, we decided to run a hot wire 6-7" up on each existing post.  We weren't really thrilled with this design, as we couldn't be sure all the neighbors could/would avoid it.  So we were worried about post insulator and conductor damage and, more importantly, little kids and such getting shocked. But it seemed like the most feasible (time wise and cost wise) solution we could come up with.  We okayed it with the one neighbor who shares most of the fence line with us, ordered all the parts, birds were singing and flowers were blooming, yadda yadda. Got all the parts in and the neighbor decides they don't want anything protruding onto their side, not even 1".  Even though legally we probably COULD do it without their blessing, we don't want to be constantly fixing the fence on that neighbor's side, and like I said earlier we really didn't like the design that much anyway. 

So, what we've decided to do, even though it'll take longer and cost more, is to bury cattle panels 1' or so and attach another 1' or so to the existing fence.  We'll like take 1 4' cattle panel and make 2 X 2' sections out of it.  We may end up using hog panels depending on pricing and dimensions needed, but same idea.

Question to all of you is what kind of tool is there that we can use close to an existing fence to dig a pretty narrow channel that is 1-1.5' deep to bury the panels?  It can be hand-operated, self-powered, or PTO-driven -- although the space we're working in is not that wide, we could probably get our tractor in there. The main thing is to keep it out of our perfectly good almost-brand-new field fence.  Thoughts?

Of course each of the posts is cemented in, so we'll have to cut the panels where there is concrete.  

We really, really appreciate all of your input.  We are not trying to fortify hundred of acres, the fence line in question is only a little over a mile.

Best Regards,
Barking Cat Farm

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