February 28, 2014

Providing Adequate Fencing for Your Goats

By Cheryl K. Smith from Raising Goats For Dummies

If you've decided to raise goats to green up your lifestyle, you need to provide good fencing to keep them in and to keep predators out. You can also use fencing to protect your trees and shrubs from goats. Adequate fencing means different things in different situations. If you have kids and adult goats, you need to make sure the kids can't get through the fencing and the adults can't get over it.

Goats love to rub on walls and fences. If you put in new fencing, make sure you set your fence posts deep enough. Wooden posts need to be at least two feet deep. If you're using metal T-posts, make sure to pound them in past the V at the bottom that holds them in the ground.

If you have an area with existing fencing, walk the fence line and

  • Inspect the fence for holes in or under it: Patch holes in the fence and fill or block holes under it.

  • Check each fence post to make sure it's solidly set: Replace, add a new post, or solidify the weak one.

  • Measure to see whether the fence is high enough: A 4-foot fence is adequate in most cases. If it isn't, add a strand or two of electric wire or fence it higher.

  • Determine whether any trees need to be fenced out or around: Keep goats away from trees you don't want eaten or that are poisonous.

If you need to put in new fencing or replace fencing, you have a variety of fencing types to choose from:

  • Field fencing: Field fencing, or woven wire, attached to metal T-posts is probably the most common type of fencing for goats. It's moderately expensive and is sturdy if installed properly. A four-foot-high field fence will keep miniature goats in but isn't high enough for a determined bigger goat. A strand of electric wire along the top and 10 inches off the ground usually keeps all goats in.

  • Cattle or hog panels: Galvanized cattle panel with graduated spacing makes excellent fences for goats. The panels are 50 inches high. You can add a strand or two of electric wire along the top for larger goats. To keep in miniature goat kids you may need to reinforce with chicken wire or woven wire along the bottom.

  • Electric wire: Electric wire is an excellent addition to any of the other types of fencing. The wire and insulators are inexpensive; the biggest cost is the charger and ground rod. A strand along the top helps keep predators out and goats and livestock guardian dogs in.

    Use a 4,000-volt charger for goat fencing. If your fencing isn't near a power source, get a solar charger. Place the grounding rod in a location that is as dry as possible. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for grounding and charger placement.

Avoid using barbed wire or wood fences for goats. Goats can get injured by the barbs.

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