Among goat owners, there’s a well-known saying: “A fence that won’t hold water won’t hold a goat.”And though that hyperbole mayseemextreme … it’s certainly proven true by the generations of goat-escapees that have tested the patience of their fence-builders.
I think it’s also safe to say there is no one perfect solution for comfortably containing goats. It depends on your land, the breeds you keep, the weather of your area, and the resources and philosophy of your homestead. But there are many, many options.
Whether you decide to break the bank with an entire pasture of chain-link fence, choose electric wire to (hopefully) keep your herd in place, go for old-fashioned wooden fences and their associated upkeep, or create some sort of hybrid system, you will find upsides and downsides to every decision.
Related Post: Raising Goats
There will always be that too-smart doe who will find a way to outsmart the fence, but when you find yourself chasing her down, you can at least know that you are not alone. Goats certainly add a bit of clever spice to daily homestead life, and in the end, as long as you and your goats are safe, happy, and healthy, what more could you ask for?
Goat Fencing Basic Considerations
There are many considerations to keep in mind when choosing and constructing your goat fencing, but there are some universal bases to cover, no matter what material and method you use.
A goat can manage on 250 square feet of outdoor space per animal. Since you shouldn’t have one lonely goat, you need to plan to have (at the bare minimum) 500 square feet fenced outside.
Other sources say that you can keep up to 12 goats per acre. The more space available, the happier your goats will be, but the more they’ll have to forage, the more you’ll have to fence.
Many sources recommend making fencing at least 4 feet high. Goats can and will jump over any fence that’s shorter. For more active breeds like miniatures and tall Nubians, increase the height to 5 feet.
Just because the fence needs to be tall, however, doesn’t mean you can leave gaps along the bottom. Goats can flatten themselves in unexpected contortions and can crawl under fences even more readily than they jump them.
Goats love shoving their curious faces between things. It’s adorable!But if they are horned, this can often be a deadly mistake. Be sure that any gaps, whether they are formed by the spaces between posts, cross-braces, or the squares of a wire panel, are no larger than 4-by-4 inches.
Even then, and especially when you have small, active kids, keep a daily watch on your goats and fenceline. If a goat gets stuck, the clock is ticking to get it free before a coyote takes advantage of the prone meal.
Providing toys, raised platforms, construction spools, and logs for your fun-loving caprines is a wonderful idea, and watching these sure-footed creatures prance, leap, and balance is a joy every goat keeper should experience.
Related Post: Raising Nigerian Dwarf Goats
However, be sure that any raised surface is at least 5 or so feet away from the fence. This includes low-hanging tree branches so that they can’t make a running leap and clear the fence.
Attach the wire panels to the inner surface of the fence post — not the outer surface.This way, when goats inevitably push against it, they will be pushing the hardware into the post, and not slowly but surely out of it. In the same way, hinge gates so they open toward the goat yard, not swinging outward into freedom.
That way, even if goats somehow release the latch (it’s strongly recommended to get a two-action latch to avoid this), they’ll be pushing the gate closed as they lean against it, rather than pushing it open.
Walk Your Fenceline
Make it a habit to walk the fenceline of your property often to inspect its soundness, and check for potential problems like sagging, chewing, or gaps formed from goats pushing against weak points. Sometimes, the best way to stop a tragedy is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Goat Fencing Options
For every option, I will list the basic information, the pros, and the cons. I have organized the options in order of cost from cheapest to most expensive, but it really is difficult to give hard numbers.
Material cost ranges from store to store, installation cost may be a huge factor if you don’t do it yourself, and the amount of area to fence will obviously multiply the cost exponentially. If you feel overwhelmed by all the options and don’t know how to estimate the cost, consider this helpful chart here.Even though these are 2011 prices, it gives you an idea of the factors to consider.
Wooden fences look appropriately rustic and can be made from materials you have on site at the homestead. Be prepared to work hard, though. Driving posts is not a job for the faint-hearted, and maintenance will be constant.Also, you’ll need to use a lot of material.
Related Post: Goat Shelter Basics: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Herd Safe
Particularly in a buck’s area, consider constructing the fence stockade-style, not picket style. Goat hooves or knees can be trapped when they stand on their hind legs to look over the fence. Want a trendy, recycled means of fencing?This homestead made a goat yard from pallets!
Pros And Cons Of A Wooden Fence
Pros: Unlike electrified fences, you never need doubt your wooden fence is working. If it’s standing, it’s “on” and materials are relatively easy to replace.
Cons: If you live in an area with lots of snowpack in the winter, you need to make sure your fence is high enough to still be a protection when a few feet of snow have lowered it. Goats can also chew on wood, and weaken posts easily. Weathering, rotting, and termites can also wear away the strength of a fence, and goats are excellent at exploiting any weak area they can find.
Wooden Fence Cost
Wooden fences are potentially low-cost if you mill the timber yourself, or if you already have an existing fence. Getting a service to pound posts into the ground for you will increase the price quite a bit.
About as “instant” as a fence can get, electrified fencing hedges in animals using a psychological rather than a physical barrier.Unlike many types of livestock, however, you’ll need to put the fence’s charge higher than you may expect –somewhere from 4,500 to 9,000 volts at all times.
Goats are pretty smart. If they know there’s a time when the fence is off, they may figure out how to use it to their advantage.And even if you have a fence at lightning-bolt strength, you may find that it’s not a strong enough deterrent to a determined, stubborn animal. As a remedy, many goat dairy operations use high-tensile wire in combination with electric fencing to keep their goats safe.
Pros And Cons Of An Electric Fence
Pros: Easy setup, affordable, and easy to move if you want to try a rotational grazing method or brush control in different areas.
Cons: There’s a lot that can short out an electric fence.Regular weed maintenance is a must to keep tall grass from rendering it useless. Additionally, electric fences require training. Goats need to learn to respect the fence in order for it to rein them in mentally. Check out this article for some really helpful tips on training.
Electric Fence Cost
Electric fencing is a cheaper option for people who want to try a rotational grazing system but haven’t been able to put a wooden perimeter fence in place. It requires a lot of maintenance to keep it running, so that time invested in fence-clearing is another “cost” to add to the monetary cost.
Woven Goat Wire and Field Fence
Woven wire is a great option for permanent fencing solutions, but be sure to get the goat-specific version with 4-by-4 holes, rather than the typical 6-by-6, 6-by-9, and 6-by-12 weaves used for larger livestock. It will be more expensive — there’s a lot more wire used in the denser weave of goat wire — but it will save you from dealing with the hassle of horned goats getting their heads stuck.
Related Post: What Do Goats Eat?
Field fence is a close cousin to woven wire, and may work with your goats with some caveats. Field fence is really designed for horses and is often constructed of a finer gauge wire.While that makes it cheaper, it also makes it more liable to stretch and be bent out of a safe shape.
Remember, goats are climbers, and they can balance on surprisingly small surfaces. Field fence usually has a much wider weave. It’s a goat head trap waiting to happen.
Note: Install this fence nice and tight. I would recommend having the wire attached to strong posts cemented in the ground. Check out this video of a clever goat defeating a mobile fence with little effort.
If you have inherited a property with a decent field fence and want to keep goats, you may need to install some adaptations to make it as safe as possible. Consider adding electric wire or reinforcing it with some sort of additional layers.
Pros And Cons Of A Woven Goat Wire And Field Fence
Pros: Dependable, strong, and one of the more often-recommended methods for fencing goats.
Cons: The standard size of 4 feet tall may be too short for some breeds. This can be amended by stringing a line of electric wire above the top of the fence or using it in combination with a higher, wooden frame.
Woven Goat Wire And Field Fence Cost
The cost of woven goat wire is the middle of the road — not the priciest, not the cheapest. You can install it yourself, or have it professionally installed. Websites like these will give you a quote to help you make a decision.
Cattle Panels/Stock Panels/Goat Panels
These solid, metal panels are a great option for creating a strong barrier. Even if they are too expensive to use as fencing, consider them for making quick work of sectioning your barn for different uses — especially during kidding season!
Pros And Cons Of Cattle Panels/Stock Panels/Goat Panels
Pros: About as solid and bend-proof as you can get.These 16-foot sections of panel will make a fantastic perimeter that won’t rot and won’t warp out of shape.
Cons: Expensive! Also, kids will escape from these “as is.” Prevent runaway babies by installing an extra line of something like chicken wire or hardware along the bottom portion of each panel.
Cattle Panels/Stock Panels/Goat Panels Cost
Cattle panels are strong but expensive.A 16-foot feedlot panel will run somewhere around $20 apiece, and this price does not include any of the wooden posts that would be used to install it. The problem is, panels have spaces that are designed for cows, not slippery goats. They’ll require some augmentation to work. Specifically-designed goat panels will run you upwards of $60 apiece.
Chain Link Fence
Though chain link fence may be among the most goat-proof of fencing materials, it is probably the most expensive option — so expensive that many resources won’t even list it.
If you have a very small herd, however, and the luxury of being able to afford it, chain link is worth considering for long-term, permanent goat housing. Even if you can’t afford it for the whole herd, it may be a viable option for containing your bucks.
Pros And Cons Of Chain Link Fences
Pros: Solid, sturdy, long lasting, and good for keeping out predators.
Cons: Stinking expensive.
Chain Link Fence Costs
This website estimates 200 feet of fencing (with installation) will run you somewhere around $3,000.
Special Notes About Bucks in Rut
I’ve not yet had to deal with this directly, but I have visited several farms with breeding bucks and heard plenty of stories about their hormone-induced antics.
For long-term planning, a buck and a wether may be best for small homesteads, because bucks are still herd animals and don’t want to be alone. If you decide to keep bucks on your farm, you need to have an extra sturdy plan for him once he turns into a raging breeding machine.
Related Post: My Goat Is Pregnant, Now What?
Don’t place your buck’s area right next to the does. If they share a fence, he will get over it somehow (or even impregnate the does through the fence). If you can splurge on fencing, do it for the bucks first!
My final advice for those beginning to build their goat infrastructure comes from Julia Shewchuk of Serenity Acres Farm:
“Buy the best fence and materials you can afford one pasture at a time.”
Don’t scrimp on your goat fencing and build a cheap version of what you really need. Your goats will test it, and you’ll likely find yourself spending even more money fixing the lame fence than you would have spent to build it out of stronger materials.
Escapee goats are a danger to themselves, a threat to your gardens and orchard, an annoyance to neighbors, and a potential hazard if you live near a busy road. So do them and yourselves a favor. Do your research and try to get it right the first time, even if it means keeping fewer goats at the outset.
What type of fencing is best for goats? ›
Woven wire is preferred by most goat-owners; however, it is more expensive but most often used for smaller pastures. This fence keeps each opening in place, is sturdy and can withstand pushing, climbing, and general goat rowdiness. The fence needs to be pulled tight or goats may push the fence over and escape.What is the best height for a goat fence? ›
In areas where jumping is likely, such as over a fence that is meant to protect a garden or to separate bucks from does in heat, make sure the fence is tall enough to prevent the goat from even attempting to jump over. A 4- to 5-foot (1.2–1.5 m) fence is satisfactory for most goats.What is the best fencing for Nigerian dwarf goats? ›
The most effective fencing that we've found for small goats is electric fencing. You can set it up easily with electric wire. It's much easier to put electric fencing up when your land isn't exactly flat either.What wire do you use for goats? ›
So woven wire is the best choice for goats; NOT welded wire. Woven wire is a great perimeter fence that is most likely to keep predators out. This would work well in the country, if there will be a large herd of goats, or if the goats will be used for breeding and kids in the herd are a possibility in the future.How do you make a fence for a goat? ›
One combination that works well is sinking 4×4 wooden posts into the ground—secured with concrete—with mesh livestock wire strung in between. If you go this route, use smaller mesh such as 1×1 or 2×2. Goat hooves can easily fit into the larger mesh holes, thus allowing your animals to climb the fence.How do you put up a goat fence? ›
building a goat fence - YouTubeCan a goat jump a 5 foot fence? ›
Most goats can jump anywhere from 4 to 12 feet high. This becomes the main concern when you're building a fence because you don't want to put in all that hard labor for nothing.How many wires do I need for a goat fence? ›
Fence wire for goats should be closely-spaced, starting low to the ground and placed high enough to prevent jumping over the fence. We recommend using 5 to 6 wires spaced to an overall height of 40” – 46.” High-tensile or T-posts combined with aluminum or steel wire are both excellent fencing options for this purpose.How high of a fence can a goat jump? ›
While the actual height a goat can jump will vary by size and breed, you will find, on average, goats can jump between 4-5 feet (1). While a four foot tall fence may serve for keeping in other types of livestock, it might not cut it for goats.How many volts does a goat fence need? ›
Your fence charger needs to stay at a minimum of 5000 volts at all times to keep your goats contained and keep predators out. The voltage level of your fence can be impacted by a lot of things such as the length of your fence, the kind of wire you are using, and any vegetation that may be on the wires.
Is barbed wire fence good for goats? ›
Barbed wire fences do not effectively con- fine goats, if higher grazing pressures are applied to the fenced-in area. Goat-proof barbed wire fences require at least five to six wires with the spacing on the bottom starting at 3 inches and increasing to 5 inches at the top.Can you use chicken wire for a goat pen? ›
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.How do you stop a goat from escaping? ›
3 Reasons Why Your Goats Keep Escaping - YouTubeHow do I stop my goat from jumping the fence? ›
Space them eight to ten feet apart and bury them at least two feet deep. If you're using T-posts, pound them in past the V at the bottom that holds them in the ground. The corner posts must be on the outside as goats will climb up a fence support in the blink of an eye.
The best goat fencing
In our experience, the cattle panels (also called utility panels and stock or stockade panels) and properly-stretched woven wire fencing work best to keep goats in their pen. Pallet fences also work well if you have a source for the number of pallets you need.
1 The height of the fence shall be at least 1.5 m. 8.6.How do you build a wire fence? ›
How to Build a Wire Fence | The Home Depot with @This Old HouseHow much space do you need for 5 goats? ›
Eight to 10 square feet per goat is desirable for open housing. Other references suggest 51⁄2 square feet per goat. Goats also like to be in or near a shed during the night hours. If the facility is part of the farmstead, so much the better because nearness to human activity plays a role in predator control.How do you jump a 5 foot fence? ›
Top 5 Ways to Climb a Fence - YouTubeWill goats stay without a fence? ›
How I Keep My Goats in WITHOUT a Fence - YouTube
What gauge wire is best for goats? ›
The recommended height to safely contain sheep and goats and keep unwanted animals out is 48 inches. Red Brand has a specific fence style designed to meet these needs. Sheep & Goat fence construction starts with a substantial 12-½ gauge wire that can't be chewed or broken.How much ground do you need for a goat? ›
Each goat requires an area about 30 to 50 square feet for grazing. Goats should also receive supplemental foods, such as hay and grain, if they cannot get enough fresh grass each day.How many blocks high can a goat jump? ›
Goats are the only neutral mobs that don't attack you when you damage them. Goats flee when damaged. Goats can jump ten blocks high. After a goat does a high jump, it has a cool down rate of thirty to sixty seconds.What angle can a goat climb? ›
My research indicates that the steepest grade climbed is by the Ibex where the gradient is close to 90 degrees. The mountain goat can climb cliffs with pitches exceeding 60 degrees: The Ibex is a species of wild goat.Is chain link fence good for goats? ›
Perhaps the best method of fencing for goats is Chain Link fencing. With chain link fencing, you can be almost 100% certain that your goats will never get out.Which wire is best for electric fence? ›
Aluminum wire is the best for carrying a charge. Aluminum conducts electricity four times better than steel wire. While it will cost more, aluminum wire does not rust like un-galvanized steel wire.What size fence charger do I need? ›
As a general rule for multi-wire fences, divide the charger's distance rating by the number of strands, then select a charger with a mileage rating that meets those needs. Always increase power needs when adding additional wires.Is 2000 volts enough for electric fence? ›
That said, most sources recommend a minimum of 4,000 volts for hard-to-control species, and a minimum of 2,000 volts for more docile animals. Anything greater than 8,000 volts is considered more than necessary (some sources say 6,000), and more likely to cause injury.Is electric fence good for goats? ›
Using electric fencing to confine goats can be a convenient way to pasture the animals where they can keep grass and weeds clipped in hard-to-mow places. Electric fencing also affords the flexibility of rotating grazing areas so that goats are moved frequently to clean ground and fresh grass.Will goats eat a wooden fence? ›
Goats can also chew on wood, and weaken posts easily. Weathering, rotting, and termites can also wear away the strength of a fence, and goats are excellent at exploiting any weak area they can find.
What do goats need in their enclosure? ›
Goats need plenty of space where they can browse, exercise, climb, investigate, explore and play in safety. Their environment needs to be clean, comfortable, offer suitable protection and be interesting.What do goats need daily? ›
Each goat needs about two to four pounds of hay per day (3-4% of body weight in pounds), which can be fed free choice or twice a day. If good range isn't available, dry grass forage of a horse quality is acceptable. Goats require additional hay, which is roughage, for their rumen to function properly.What are 3 things we get from goats? ›
Goats are excellent farm animals. They are easy to maintain and can be raised to produce milk, meat, and mohair.Should a goat pen have a floor? ›
Greatmats for your Goat Barn Floor
It is important to understand that goats need at the very least a 3 sided shed or shelter, as they need a way to escape weather elements. Goats do not like puddles or mud, so putting mats down in their space is an easy and affordable way to keep them clean and comfortable.
- Keep your Property Clean.
- Install and Secure Fencing.
- Provide your Goats with Shelter.
- Get Livestock Guardian Animals.
- Install Solar LED Deterrent Lights.
- Clean up After Kiddings.
- Keep Young, Old, Sick, and Injured Goats Safe.
5. Wood Chips/Landscaping Chips. Wood chips, just like other bedding materials, are effective in insulating the goat pen and also prevent moisture from building up in the ground. Another advantage of chips is that they can be stored outside, so they are easier to handle.What do goats hate? ›
Goats are herbivores and have a voracious appetite. Thankfully, there are certain scents that will keep them away from your plants and desirables. Goats hate the scent of certain herbs like lavender, sage, hydrangea, cayenne pepper and also detest animal dung and peppermint oil.Do goats need to be put away at night? ›
You'll need to shut your goats up securely at night, especially when your goats have kids. An enclosed shed or barn should be well-ventilated though, even in winter. Screened openings high in the walls will help to keep varmints out, as well as prevent drafts that would blow on your goats and their babies.How do you stop a goat from being aggressive? ›
The best method to train a goat to stop being aggressive towards others is a squirt bottle. Goat's hate water, especially when its sprayed right in their face. Be sure to use the squirt bottle as soon as you see the aggression rising or about to happen.What do goats like to jump on? ›
Goats' natural inclination is to jump and climb wherever their hoofs take them. Domesticated goats are incredibly sure-footed, probably a taxonomic evolutionary trait from when they lived in mountains.
Will goats stay in high tensile fence? ›
Goats can be controlled with four to five strands of high-tensile electrified wire. The wire spacings can vary from 6 to 8 inches near the ground to 8 to 12 inches for the top strands. Perimeter fence height should be at least 42 inches tall.› goat-fencing-breakin... ›
Goat Fencing: Keep Your Goats From Breaking Out
Goat Fencing - Tips and Tricks
How I Keep My Goats in WITHOUT a Fence
These compact animals may not seem like they can jump high. Even though they're extremely short, you can still expect these animals to jump over a 4-foot-tall fence. They also enjoy leaning, standing, and chewing on fencing.Will goats stay in high-tensile fence? ›
Goats can be controlled with four to five strands of high-tensile electrified wire. The wire spacings can vary from 6 to 8 inches near the ground to 8 to 12 inches for the top strands. Perimeter fence height should be at least 42 inches tall.Will goats stay in a barbed wire fence? ›
Barbed wire fences do not effectively con- fine goats, if higher grazing pressures are applied to the fenced-in area. Goat-proof barbed wire fences require at least five to six wires with the spacing on the bottom starting at 3 inches and increasing to 5 inches at the top.Is chain link fence OK for goats? ›
Perhaps the best method of fencing for goats is Chain Link fencing. With chain link fencing, you can be almost 100% certain that your goats will never get out.How do you stop a goat from escaping? ›
3 Reasons Why Your Goats Keep Escaping - YouTubeWhat angle can a goat climb? ›
My research indicates that the steepest grade climbed is by the Ibex where the gradient is close to 90 degrees. The mountain goat can climb cliffs with pitches exceeding 60 degrees: The Ibex is a species of wild goat.Can goats climb between rocks? ›
They use their specialised hooves, made up of two-pointed toes and rough hoof pads, to scale nearly vertical terrain. No matter how good you think you are at rock climbing, this lot are definitely better (they don't even use safety ropes). Photo: Jornal Ciencia.How do you stop a goat from getting its head stuck in the fence? ›
Use PVC Piping
As a result, many goats wind up stuck in fences because their horns got trapped between the wires or the posts. Some homesteaders avoid this problem by affixing PVC pipe to their goat's horns, usually with duct tape.
How many volts does a goat fence need? ›
In some areas, goats may be attacked by predators such as wolves, coyotes, or stray dogs, requiring your fence to also deter predators. A minimum of 5,000 volts on the fence line is required in this situation.How high of a fence can a goat jump? ›
While the actual height a goat can jump will vary by size and breed, you will find, on average, goats can jump between 4-5 feet (1). While a four foot tall fence may serve for keeping in other types of livestock, it might not cut it for goats.Will goats eat a wooden fence? ›
Goats can also chew on wood, and weaken posts easily. Weathering, rotting, and termites can also wear away the strength of a fence, and goats are excellent at exploiting any weak area they can find.How do you keep a goat without a fence? ›
How I Keep My Goats in WITHOUT a Fence - YouTubeCan goats use underground fence? ›
A: The Invisible Fence was originally designed for dogs, and it works in a manner that coordinates with the way dogs learn. With that being said, the Invisible Fence has been used successfully with other species including cats, pot-bellied pigs and goats.Is chicken wire good for goats? ›
Chicken wire will NOT keep out any predator that seeks to attack a goat, except, maybe, a domestic dog. Nix any ideas of using chicken wire to pen in even miniature goats or their kids. The only place I use chicken wire for our goat herd is to cover the top of the nursing and quarantine stalls.Is electric fence good for goats? ›
Using electric fencing to confine goats can be a convenient way to pasture the animals where they can keep grass and weeds clipped in hard-to-mow places. Electric fencing also affords the flexibility of rotating grazing areas so that goats are moved frequently to clean ground and fresh grass.How much space does a goat need? ›
Most sources say that goats need ten feet per goat of indoor space. If you keep the goats in a dry lot (no pasture, you bring in all the hay), miniatures do okay with about 200 square feet per goat.