Trimming the fence line – keep goats inside

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If you want to be sure your goats stay in your pasture, you will need to do a bit of maintenance. And the most important is, trimming the fence line. Another tip to use in your goat fencing setup.

When researching goat fence ideas, doing what you can to ensure your setup holds up is important.

trimming the fence line

Nothing is more frustrating than getting a phone call from a neighbor letting you know your buck is out again. This tends to happen every spring as the weather begins to warm up, that is when our animals get adventurous.

If you have a homestead, I am sure you understand entirely.

My to-do list in the spring is quite impressive and not in a good way. Hubby and I have so many things that need to be done that instead of having one massive list of projects, we make a list for each month of the year. This breaks things down and removes the stress an overwhelm that a large list can bring.


So after the 3rd call regarding our roaming buck who swears the grass really IS greener on the other side of his fence, I knew it was time for a fence inspection to find out just what was up.

a Nubian goat buck standing in a pasture

When you have livestock on your homestead, this is an important chore that simply should not ever be overlooked. We had no idea how necessary this chore was until we began having goat buck escaping issues.

How do you inspect a livestock fence?

Fence inspection is relatively easy and will all depend on your setup and the type of fence you have.

#1. Electric Fence Netting: Every few weeks, walk the fence line and inspect the netting for andy holes or tears in the wire.

#2. High Tensile Fencing/Electric Tape: Every few weeks, walk the fence line and look for slack wires or holes dug under the lowest line.

#3. Steel Fence Panels (non-electric): Every few weeks, walk the fence line and look for loose panels or fence stakes. Also, check to see if any holes have been dug under the fence.

After a few escapes from our buck, we walked the entire fence line and found the grass had grown up in some areas to a point where it was grounding out the electric current. We have since learned that a monthly walk, at the very least, is important to ensure our herd is being kept on the right side of the fence where it is safer for them and our neighbors.

This may sound like an obvious and simple task, but when I first started out I did not realize 2 major things.

#1. If you do not trim the grass around the base of your electric fence, it grounds out and will be completely useless keeping anything in a pasture, let alone a determined 180-pound buck.

Goat fence line trimming must be done or your electric fence won't work properly

#2. Trimming a goat fence line, especially when you have quite a bit of fence, is a pretty time-consuming task. My advice? Enlist some help.

Goat Fencing 101-Trimming the Fence line

Let’s take a look at the two most common electric fencing options for goats and what you can do to ensure the current stays strong.

Electric Net Goat Fencing

Electric fence netting is a woven, prefabricated, portable fence that you can purchase in sections that are around 160 feet or longer. They can be hooked together, creating a much longer fence that is able to be electrified.

Step #1  Move the fence

If you use an electric netting fence, you will need to move the fence off the line so you can cut the grass more easily. One of the perks of netting is you can move it quickly and quite easily making this project one you can do without outside help.

  • Move your goats to another area or lock them inside your barn until you have finished.
  • Be sure you have the electric turned off.
  • Pull the stakes out of the ground and move each section off to one side. We just lie the fence in the grass until we are finished.
  • About 5 feet should be enough space.

Our fence netting was purchased from Premier One, but you can find the same fence at the same price from Amazon. I love this fence so much that I now have 4 of them, including one for my chickens.

Poultry netting is the only thing I have found that will safely keep my chickens inside where they belong. It also works well, preventing daytime predators and allowing our flock to range safely in a bigger area.

a rooster on one side of fence netting with hens on the other side

Step #2  Cut, mow, or trim the grass

Once the fend is moved out of the way, mow a 5-10 foot ease way along the path of your fence line. Try to take the grass down as low as you can. If you haven’t done this in some time you will need to start higher and make a few passes lowering the deck each time.

a man mowing the grass near to a fence line

We also like to make a wide easeway along the fence line to give our goats a pathway to walk down when moving around the pasture. This is helpful when the kids are out as I cn see them more easily in the mowed areas.

I now even go so far as to mow a border around the base of our shade trees and a few paths throughout the pasture. The paths are perfect for the entire herd, but especially for my goat kids, as they tend to get lost rather quickly in the tall grass. The mowed areas help them to stay near to the older goats and I can see them playing together in the shady spots.

A path for the goats away from the fence line has been carved around this tree using a lawnmower

Step #3 Return the fence  

Once the grass is trimmed you will want to put the fence back into place. As you replace your fence, take the time to check the condition of your netting as you go. This is a really good habit to get into.

I always try to stay one step ahead of my goats; if there is a tear in the netting I would rather find it myself than have them make me aware of it by getting out and into the neighbor’s garden.

A goat fence line that has been mowed as close to the fence as possible on both sides

Let me jump in here quickly to say that if you are brand new to homesteading and just thinking about getting animals, this may all be new to you. Read my post on Goat Fencing 101 to learn the different types of fencing and the pros and cons of each.

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High Tensile Fencing

Another fence option is high-tensile. This is a permanent option but one that works great if you have a collection of different animals on your homestead.

Step #1  Mow down the grass

Before you begin, be sure to turn off the power to your fence. Start out by using a mower to cut as much of the grass as you can reach under the lowest strand. This is the easiest way to get rid of most of the grass and weeds, but be careful there is a chance that you can get hung up or tangled in the wires with the mower deck. Go slow and watch the clearance so you do not create a bigger issue.

Also, it is better to mow the grass on your fence line from both sides as this will give you a wide area that your goats can use to walk around the pasture.

goats walking the mowed down path along the fence line

Step #2  Take it down to the ground

To ensure you do not need to do this chore more often than necessary, use a weed whacker to cut the grass under the lowest wire all the way to the dirt. I know this step seems like a lot of work, and it is! However, you will buy yourself an additional 2 weeks before you will need to do this project again.

To keep your goat fence line working, trim all the way to the dirt
A close-up look at good goat fence line trimming

Step #3  Inspect

As you are working, take the time to check the condition of your goat line fence. Look for slack areas, kinks, or even areas where animals may have dug under the lowest line. If you can find these issues and correct them, you will ensure small. Again, staying on top of things on a homestead is a good thing, especially when you are raising livestock.

You can check the condition of the fence while you trim along the line

Trimming the fence line may seem like an obvious chore, but it is an important one that you do not want to postpone. The purpose of an electrified fence is not only to keep your herd in but to keep predators out. Keep this chore on your routine list so your fence is able to do the job effectively.

It can be easy to overlook the obvious and before you know it you have a huge problem on your hands. Get goat fence line trimming on your monthly to-do list so it is a task and not a day-long chore.

More Goat Care Resources:

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