Fence For Goats: 7 Tips for goat fencing success 

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By Jessie Villanueva

fence for goats

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I’ve spent countless hours looking for my escaped goats, bringing them back into their fences, and fixing the fences they’ve damaged. Whether it’s sawing through panels or receiving surprise visits from my neighbors holding my goats, the struggle has been real. A functional fence for goats would take care of this.

There are two main reasons that I wasted so much time solving such problems. Firstly, when I began fencing my goats, I was clueless about both goats and fencing, learning the hard way through trial and error. Secondly, goats don’t believe that fences are meant for them. 

But, you don’t have to spend hours and weeks learning from your mistakes as I am here for you with all the lessons and tips that I learned so that you can make your goat fencing successful. 

Benefits of having fence for goats

Having a solid goat fencing setup can bring you several benefits:

  • It acts as a physical barrier, containing your goats and guardian animals within the designated pen or pasture. This provides peace of mind, knowing that your animals are secure and safe from wandering off into unwanted areas.
  • While not foolproof, goat fencing serves as a deterrent to predators. It adds a layer of protection against potential threats by making it more difficult for them to access your goats. However, it’s important to remember that some predators may still find ways to breach the fence, so additional precautions may be necessary.
  • You can maintain healthy relationships with your neighbors. Good goat fencing not only keeps your goats inside their pasture or pen, but it also stops them from getting into your neighbor’s favorite yard or farm field and causing any damage, or even into the road, which could lead to harm to the goats themselves.

Fence for goats requirements 

While the type of fencing can vary, there are some common specifications and components all fencing systems should use:

  1. Fence Height: Standard goat fences typically range from 35 to 48 inches in height. This height helps prevent goats from jumping over and escaping.
  2. Fencing Material: There are various materials you can use for goat fencing, including high tensile smooth wire, woven wire, welded wire, or other options. Choose a material that suits your budget and preferences.
  3. Bottom wire placement: The bottom wire should ideally be placed a few inches above the ground and be barbed wire and with the next part of the fence placed about 6-7 inches higher than the barbed wire. This barbed wire at the bottom will help preventing predators from digging under the fence. It will also prevent livestock guardian animals from digging and getting out of the fence. 
  4. Fence Posts: Their spacing depends on the type of posts used. 
  5. Gates
  6. Electric / Energizer

Choice of materials and maintenance

The choice of the appropriate material depends on the type of fence desired: is it a fixed or temporary fence?

Fixed fences

For fixed fences, there is a wide range of materials for fence construction. The choice of materials depends on personal preference, topography and available budget. According to Extension Foundation, a fixed fence must always be electrified. Strand fences are the most common. For a minimum height of 90 cm, at least three high-quality conductor wires should be used. We recommend a height of 105 cm, with coverage by at least 4 strands. The lowest strand should be mounted at a maximum of 25 cm from the ground to prevent large predators from passing under the fence.

To tension the strands optimally, you need strong wooden posts in the corners. On straight planes, lighter plastic or wooden posts can be used. The distance between posts should not exceed 8 meters. In the event of irregularities, a corresponding number of additional posts must be provided.

Temporary and mobile fences

For temporary fences, current-conducting nets or mobile strand systems are particularly suitable.

In this case, attention must be paid to the quality of the material – in particular to the number of metal conductors in the strand. Especially in the construction of fences, the adage “cheap is always too expensive” applies: poor material quality can quickly lead to defective current flow and thus to low protection quality. Splinters and defective material are the result and must be repaired at great expense.

To ensure that strand fences and nets are completely stable, the corners must be guyed with wooden or spring steel posts.

So-called “plus-minus” nets (horizontal strands always alternating plus – minus) offer a very high protection status. If two strands come into contact simultaneously, the electric shock is significantly more intense, which increases the deterrent effect. In addition, the lowest strand is also provided with metal conductors and can be used as additional grounding, which is particularly effective in dry conditions.

To increase the visibility of the net or strand fence, it is possible to attach blue and white floating ribbons to the upper strand, every 5 to 8 meters. Animals in general see contrasting colors like blue and white much better than orange or red.

Electrical appliances

To ensure optimal protection against the escape of grazing animals – or the intrusion of large predators – a minimum pulse energy of 3,000 volts is required. The fencing device should be chosen based on the length of the fence and the quality of the material used. If the fence is near a courtyard, it is possible to use a mains energizer. For mobile fences or fences located outside the yard, you should invest in a good quality 9 or 12 volt device.

In addition to being a good energizer, grounding the fence is of utmost importance. Rust-free metal stakes, placed at a distance of 2 to 3 meters, guarantee a high guarding capacity of the fence.

Inspection and maintenance

All types of fences must be maintained regularly: this is to control the wear of the materials, but also to prevent grasses and weeds from invading them, in order to be able to guarantee optimal current flow at all times. 

Daily monitoring of the impact force of the energizer along the entire length of the fence is one of the obligatory daily tasks during grazing, as is visual inspection of the fence installation.

Protection of herds against large predators

In principle, a fence height of 90 cm with an electrification of at least 3,000 volts is considered minimum protection against large predators. Pastures are considered well protected with a fence height of at least 105 cm and electrification of more than 3,000 volts.

Some useful tips for goat fencing success

Tip#1 – Not all goats want to be fenced in

Goats are artists in escaping. Knowing this before you select a fence will help you to be prepared enough for their shenanigans. If they do not want to be fenced in, they will try their best to look for a way to get out. Your main aim with fencing is to prevent that from day one.

For example taller is better when fencing for goats. Goats can jump surprisingly high if they are determined to do so, but luckily many will not. Unless they feel that they are in danger most goats will stay put. In many years of raising goats, I had only ever had four goats that jumped the fences and in order to keep them in there, we increased the height of our fence. My advice is, if you have a jumper, do your best to create a setup that will keep every goat in your herd safe. 

Tip#2 – Not all goats have to be fenced in

On the opposite side of the coin, not all goats have to be fenced in. Some of my goats are so friendly and attached to people that I can let them roam around with me while I work. 

These special goats feel more like pets than livestock. They love being around people and happily stick by my side wherever I go. It’s a joy to have these sweet companionship without the need for fencing them in. 

Tip#4: Don’t mind being flexible

It’s important to stay flexible. Your first attempt might not be perfect, and that’s okay. The priority is always the safety of your animals. 

If your first idea doesn’t work as you hoped, you can always make adjustments or change things completely. The good news for you is, there are so many options out there for fencing you can mix and match with different options to bring the best protection system to life.  

Pro Tip: If you’re planning to bring in new goats and are worried they will not easily understand your fence setup, don’t worry your herd will teach them where the boundaries are. If the existing herd respects your fencing setup, the newcomers will likely follow suit. This natural behavior helps maintain the integrity of your fence system without extra effort on your part.

Is there such a thing as escape-proof fencing?

You know that saying about the grass being greener on the other side? 

For some unknown reason, some goats believe the grass on the other side of the fence is the best. And because of that they will try to find for weaknesses in the fence providing them a chance to get out. Every few weeks, take a walk along the fence line and give it a good once-over. Look for any gaps, broken lines, or sneaky spots where a goat might wiggle through.

And here’s the thing: once a goat gets out, they’ll remember how they did it. So, fix any issues pronto. 

Tip#5: Keep the grass maintained

If you use an electric fence, you will need to keep the grass in the ground trimmed. Weeds and grass can interrupt the electricity. Whatever type of grass you are having, trimming it must be on your to-do list. 

Tip#6: Provide your goats with proper space

Goats need plenty of space to graze and roam. If your goats feel restricted or don’t have enough grazing space, they may be more likely to find methods to escape. The amount of space that your goats need can vary depending on factors such as their age, breed, etc.

Ideally, each adult goat should have at least 200-250 ft² of outdoor space for grazing and exercise.

Tip#7: Put out enrichment items to satisfy curiosity of your goats and keep them entertained

Anything that can be safely pushed, rolled, climbed, kicked, or chewed on will keep goats happy. Those items will be great for deterring boredom behaviour.

Key Takeaway

Reached the end of this article? Congratulations, I am sure that after reading this article you will not have to waste precious time of your life in learning through trial and error as now you have all my tips and knowledge. So, make the best use of it to build your own customized fencing system and save your goats from escaping.