Published 21.12.2022

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Fence for free-ranged and organic pigs

Understand the rules and get useful pieces of advice for setting up perimeter and inner fences for organic pigs and other free-ranged pigs.

In Denmark, paddocks for free-ranged pigs must be fenced by two types of fences: a perimeter fence and an inner fence.

The perimeter fence has two functions:

  1. To prevent unauthorized persons and animals from gaining access to the herd area. The fence should be installed so that predators such as foxes are prevented from entering the paddocks. Setting up a hare-proof game fence with small meshes at the bottom can reduce the risk of brucellosis being transmitted from hares.
  2. To ensure that the pigs remain fenced even if they escape from the enclosure of the inner fence.

The inner fence has one main function:

  1. To divide the field into smaller parcels, e.g. individual farrowing or gestation paddocks. In the latter, sows are commonly grouped according to their physical characteristics, age, time of cycle or other criteria. 

Keep the pigs separated by the inner fence

The inner fence must consist of at least one current-carrying wire. Some producers choose to set up two wires to prevent piglets from different litters from mixing. Nylon wire rather than steel wire can make the management of the fence easier.

Photo: Jesper Truelsen

Photo: Heavy vegetation around and under the wire will divert the current in damp periods. Further it makes it difficult for the pigs to see the wire. The vegetation around the fence should therefore be cut.


Tip: Fences may be installed in a way that allow tractors driving cross the wire. In this case it is recommended to drive diagonally over the fence to prevent the vehicle from getting stuck in the wire.

The perimeter fence must be fox-safe

The perimeter fence should be installed so that predators (primarily foxes) are prevented from entering the paddocks. It is recommended to set up seven wires, with every other wire forming an earth connection. Inspect the fence before a new group of farrowing sows is let into the paddock – every time. Once foxes learn to enter the paddock, it is very difficult to keep them out. The fence must therefore always be intact.

Ensure that there is always sufficient voltage on the fence (more than 3,000 volts). It is recommended to use a powerful voltage transmitter with a good parching effect on grass. Otherwise, the lower current-carrying wire will often be overgrown by grass.

Be aware that a hilly terrain requires more posts to ensure that the fence follows the terrain and prevents passage holes under the fence.

Photo: Tove Serup

Photo: A hare-proof game fence can be set up with large meshes at the top and small meshes at the bottom to avoid brucellosis being transmitted to the pigs from hares.

An electric wire is installed at the top of the game fence. The game fence can be combined with an electric wire placed outside the fence 20 cm from the game fence and 10 - 15 cm above the ground. The game fence can also be installed so that the lowest 20 - 30 cm is placed horizontally on the ground surface.

Rules for fencing free-ranged pigs

The fence must be built in one of the following ways and consist of either:

  1. an inner and a perimeter fence that are placed at least five meters apart,
  2. a perimeter fence with at least three current-carrying wires applied directly to the fence and a permanently activated alarm which is triggered if the voltage drops in the current-carrying wires, or
  3. a fence which has been approved by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration by application to ensure that the security level corresponds to point 1 or 2 above.

It should be ensured that the fence is not damaged and that it is impossible for the pigs to escape. Access roads to the field must be kept closed. Fences for wild boars must be at least 1.5 m high.

Signs on the fence are required. They must clearly show that feeding the animals is prohibited and that it is forbidden for unauthorized to enter the fields and paddocks.

Signs for the fence can be ordered here

Signs for pig fences can be ordered at the Danish Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture & Food Council

More information about the rules (in Danish) may be found at