|They are MUCH Happier Loose!|
The problem was discovered very quickly: the electric fence was malfunctioning. It took us several minutes to find the fault. The pigs seem to have pulled or knocked out one of the insulators, and the electric wire was sitting against a tree, grounding out the whole system. With no extra insulators on hand, we had to improvise. Mr. Farmer was not with us, and we were using my car, not the tool-and-part-filled van. We opened the trunk and dug around to see what we could use.
Young Master Farmer fashioned a new insulator out of 2 plastic forks and some foil from our "party box" (a case full of paper goods, salt & pepper, and all the other little things needed for a picnic on the fly). He used the foil to hold the two forks together, intertwined the tines, and put the wire between the tines. The fork kept the wire off the tree, and the zap returned to the electric fence.
I'm proud of Young Master Farmer MacGyver. He chased the escape-artist feeder pigs back into their part of the enclosure where they could eat in peace, and I tested the fence for my self for the first time (it doesn't hurt much). So long as the breeders leave those forks alone, the homemade insulator should hold until Mr. Farmer gets back from the store with a proper replacement. Who has a son who knows how to fix an electric fence? I do!