Goat Fencing 101, Everything You Need To Know
If you are looking for the best goat fencing for your herd I am going to cover three today. Yes, there are more options out there but these are the ones I have tried and my findings with each one. A great guide to help with how to raise dairy goats to keep in your homesteading library.
Goat fencing is an important part of owning animals especially when it comes to goats. Knowing what is out there and what works in each situation will not only help you save money and time but will keep your animals safe as well. One of the most common questions I get regarding goats is what kind of fencing do I need for my goat?
I am going to break the goat fencing mystery all down for you today!
When I first started out I had no idea what I was doing, so I tried different goat fencing options hoping to find just what worked best with my mischievous crew of goats. I wish I had known what the options were and how and why to use each.
Oh, the time I would have saved!
Now, I know there are others out there that are diving into homesteading with little experience or like me, no clue what so ever. Don’t worry peeps, I got your back. 🙂
If you are one of the newbies like I was, this list of goat fence ideas is for you.
Over the last 7+ years, I have tried the following goat fencing options and still use each one depending on the situation. You will not need all of these goat fence ideas to raise your goats, but knowing how and why I use each fence will help you in your decision process.
If you are not quite sure whether goats are a good fit for you, read Can You Have Goats and Friendly Neighbors for some tips.
Now, before we dive in a few goat fencing tips to remember.
Goat Fencing Tip#1
If you think your goats will not be able to get out of a fence…..they will.
Trust me, I know this for a fact.
If for any reason at all they do not want to be fenced in, they will not be fenced in. If you have a goat like this and try as you may they can not be contained, you may need to rethink things.
For example….taller is definitely better. 🙂 It’s true goats can jump surprisingly high if they want to but many will not unless they feel they are in danger. All the years of raising goats we have only ever had 2 that jumped the fences and only one of them continued even after we doubled the height. My advice is to do your best to use a setup that will keep everyone in your herd safe.
Goat Fencing Tip#2
On the opposite side of the coin, not all goats need to be fenced in. I have a couple of goats that I can let roam around with me while I am working. They are so people friendly they will stay with me the entire time we are out. I also let them tag along on walks. These goats are my sweet goats that have a lovely human temperament and just enjoy being around me.
These are my easy to contain goats and not much effort is needed to keep them in a fence.
However, if they are in heat and looking to breed?
Then they are a totally different goat.
They will jump a 10-foot barbed wire fence over a moat with ease to reach their studly buck.
Yes, may be a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point. If a goat is in heat and a buck is in rut you may have a hard time keeping them in unless you have a good sturdy setup in place.
Goat Fencing Tip#3
Do not think your first plan will be foolproof and work perfectly. Always be prepared to change things if needed. Remember the main objective for your animals is to be safe at all times. That means keeping them inside and, at the same time, keeping predators out.
If your first idea doesn’t work as expected, make adjustments or change things completely. There are so many options out there for fencing that you can incorporate multiple ideas to keep things secure.
However, once you do find a successful fencing option and layout, you should be good to go. Any new goats that come in will follow the lead of the herd. That means if your herd respects your fence setup, there is a good chance that any new goats or kids will respect it as well.
Goat Fencing Tip #4
Is there such a thing as escape-proof goat fencing?
The grass IS always greener. I think this phrase was first said by a farmer with goats. For some unknown reason, my goats firmly believe the best grass is on the other side of the fence. And I am just a mean old person that won’t let them have the good stuff.
Because I know this I will always check frequently to make sure there are no gaps or cut lines where any goats can accidentally get through, caught up, or escape to those greener pastures.
It’s important to remember that once those goats get a taste of freedom they are a bit harder to contain. Not impossible but they seem to be a bit more determined.
Goat Fencing Tip #5
If you want to know how to keep goats in an electric fence, keep it trimmed and free of long grass. This is an item that should be on your monthly to-do list no matter which fence you use.
Keeping weeds and grass trimmed from the electric areas at all times will ensure an effective fence. We have found that weed-whacking the grass down to the ground buys us more time so we are not trimming things so often.
READ: GOAT FENCING 101. TRIMMING THE FENCE LINE
Okay, now that we have all those disclaimers out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.
Goat Fencing Ideas that you can use on your homestead.
Goat Fencing Option #1. Steel panels
Caution!! If you have goats WITH horns you will NOT want to use this option. Goats can easily get those horns stuck in fencing so unless you have access to fence with very small openings, I would skip this option altogether.
These are 1 piece welded steel panels that come in sheets. These panels are easy to move and simple to use. They are flexible, sort of lightweight can be cut to fit, and if installed correctly can keep just about anything in.
We use these fence cutters to trim or cut our steel panel fencing down to the size we need. They are easy even for me to use.
To install this goat fencing option, drive heavy-duty steel posts into the ground every few feet and attach the panel to the post using wire clamps or thick zip ties. Make sure the posts/stakes are on the outside of the fence to ensure you have a sturdier panel.
The goats will stand on this fence and push with their natural weight simply because they like to be up high. Having the posts on the outside will give extra support to the overall fence.
Steel goat fencing panels come in different sizes.
- Cattle Panels are 4-5′ high by 16′ long.
- Pig Panels are just under 3′ high by 16′ long.
- Goat or Sheep Panels are 4′ high by 16′ long.
Even though there are steel fence panels made specifically for goats, I prefer the taller cattle panels. These come in quite handing when you have a goat that likes to jump. I also prefer these fence panels for containing my bucks. Since they are higher they are better able to keep my boys in even when my gals are in heat.
Another plus to the cattle panels is the spacing is much closer together at the bottom and can easily keep small kids contained as well.
SLCG tip: If you need a taller fencing option and only have the smaller pig or goat panels, you can stack them and attach them with zip ties making a DIY cattle panel of sorts. I have done this in several instances on our goat farm and they hold up surprisingly well.
Remember those does in heat I warned you about?
Well, this is one way to keep the ladies in until you are ready to breed them. The sturdier your goats are the fewer accidental breedings you will have. Remember, it is better to not breed your goats until they are at least 10 months of age but over a year is better.
You can find these fence panels at your local feed mill or you can find steel fence panels for sale on Craigslist.
Bottom Line: A good and inexpensive option that is very sturdy and can be used quite successfully to keep your goats contained. This option may not be the best one if you have a larger area you hope to fence in.
Goat Fencing Option #2. Electric Fence Netting.
This is the fencing I started out with and I still use it today simply because of its durability, ease, and effectiveness. This is a woven electric fence that comes in lengths up to 160′ long. I have several sections of this exact electric netting and it has lasted me 6+ years without any problems.
If you do not have a source of electricity, you can also purchase their electric solar box. The box attaches easily to the fencing by using a steel rod for a ground. We have an older version which still works perfectly, however, they have redone the boxes and they are much nicer looking now.
This is the older solar box that we are using to keep our fence hot. As I said, even after all these years of rain and heavy snow, it still is working great.
An electric fence netting is easy to use and also store if needed during the winter months.
The trick to storing a fence netting without it getting tangled is to fold the fence up by a panel like an accordion and then wrap it around a piece of plastic pipe. We use PVC pipe and find it works great. You can then tie the netting down and keep it in your barn or basement. I have used mine throughout the winter with no problem.
If you choose to keep your electric fence netting out year round you will want to watch for snow build-up. The weight of the snow can apply pressure to the lower strands that can stretch them out and weaken areas that may allow your goats a way to get out.
This netting option is a bit more expensive than the steel panels, but I believe easier to use and more secure at both keeping goats in and predators out. I have even had great luck keeping bucks in rut contained which is a huge benefit to keep in mind. This type of fencing is also easier to move than the other options.
I also found it quite easy to train my goats on this electric netting and it is my preferred method for training my kids as well.
READ: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR GOATS ON ELECTRIC FENCING
Here is a training tip to use if you have young kids you want to train on electric netting. When training young kids you will want to sit right next to the solar box. Here’s the thing little goat kids are super curious and sometimes they will try to stick their heads through the netting to nibble at the grass on the other side. My goal when training is to give them a quick zap on their nose. When this happens they usually pull their heads back out immediately giving a loud yelp as they do.
The reason why you want to be near the solar box is that sometimes a kid will panic and push through the small hole rather than pull back. In that case, they can get stuck in the fencing and the zapping will continue. If you are right next to the solar box you can quickly turn it off so the zapping will immediately stop.
Goats are very smart, even the kids so it usually only takes one zap to teach the little ones to stay back. Every now and then I have a goat that needs a few reminder zaps but usually, 2 is the most I have ever had to give.
I now have several sections of this net fencing and I now use it to section off my pasture for rotational grazing. I also use it for my bucks so they can graze away from my does reducing the risk of accidental breeding’s.
New this year is a poultry fence around my garden that is working brilliantly and also keeps out deer and rabbits as well. Bottom Line: A perfect electric fence solution for the hobby farmer that does not have a large amount of land or animals. Easy to move, set up, and train on. This is the perfect way to contain many breeds of animals.
Bottom line: Electrical fence netting is an easy fence to move and store. Perfect for containing animals both permanently and temporarily.
Goat fencing option #3 High tensile wire.
This is a permanent method of fencing and works well with large sections of pasture. This, I feel, is the most secure fence option not only with goats but many livestock if you happen to house them all together.
We installed our first high tinsel four years ago and I am beyond happy with its effectiveness. We paid to have our fence installed to ensure it is done correctly and lasts our intense winters and snow here in Pennsylvania. In our area, this type of fencing adds to the value of your home, which is a good thing to keep in mind. Even though it is a high-cost investment knowing you will make your money back if you sell is a good thing to keep in mind.
Yes, you can install it yourself, but I would not recommend it unless you know what you are doing. The trick is to get the lines tight so they stay that way and you need special equipment to do this.
You will also need to invest in a good gate so you know your setup will last for years to come. You will want to have the lower line about 9 inches above the ground to ensure you are able to keep the goat all in safely from adult to kids.
Bottom line: A good option for permanent fencing that is sound and secure and will house goats, horses, and cows alltoghether safely. A more expensive option that will contain an animal of any size.
MY TOP PICS FOR GOAT FENCING
- Electric Netting
- Solar Energizer Kit
- Steel Panels
- High Tensile Wire
GOAT FENCING TOOLS
So many people have heard stories of goats and how hard they are to contain. Don’t let this rumor deter you from getting your first goats. Goats are funny, loving, entertaining, and very rewarding. I love my goats and can’t imagine my life without them.
The trick to raising goats or any animals for that matter is to start out small so you grow with your herd.
Do your research so you are not jumping in unprepared and set your property up so you can house your animals safely and effectively.
The purpose is not only to keep your goats in but other animals out as well.
Now that you know the 101 on Goat Fencing what tips can you give to help others on their goat journey?
This was a great read and thanks for the information. I just adopted two Nigerian dwarf male goats and now a third! They come next week. I am having a 6’ dog eared fence put around the entire property plus building a goat pen for them when I’m not home. I am using 4×4 poles in cement for my base and 4’ high 1”x2” wire so they don’t get their little horns stuck. I’m trying to make it really cute because it is my backyard .
The electric net fencing is great for cleaning up brushy areas. We use it a lot to clear sections of the property that aren’t fenced but could use a good trimming. However, one of our goats thinks nothing of popping out to get to that green grass on the other side. She is also the reason I have heavy 4′ high woven wire goat fencing and a top hot wire around my main pasture. That top hot wire would be my one additional tip, it will keep them from climbing the fences too much and keep a bouncy goat in.
That is a great tip!!!