Fencing for goats | Living the Country Life

Fencing for goats

Keep those little Houdinis from escaping

Anyone who raises goats probably has a few ornery ones who think they have the run of the place, and manage to escape from every pen they’re put in. A goat will take every opportunity to get over or through a fence.

Melanie Barkley is an extension educator at Penn State University. She says electric fencing is a good option to prevent escapees.

"A lot of folks will use high tensile. They will put 5-6 wires, and the bottom wire and the third wire up are often electrified, and usually the top wire then also," says Barkley. "Now, they can also use woven wire fence, but if the goats have horns, they tend to get stuck in the fence. One thing you can do with that is put one strand of an electric wire on the inside of the fence to keep them from pushing up against the woven wire fence."
You could run an electric wire parallel to anything a goat sees as a challenge to jump over. After the first zap or two, most goats will respect it with no problem. But, she says they’re also very good at noticing when you unplug the fence and there’s no electricity flowing through the wire.

Some people pen in their goats with a chain-link fence or livestock panels. Goats love to climb, so another option is fencing with vertical bars so they can’t stand on them.

Barkley says the most important detail of any fencing is the height.

"Most goats are able to jump very well so you need fences that are going to not only keep them off the fence, but also be high enough to keep them from jumping over," she says. "A board fence will work fine as long as it’s high enough. I would do it at least four-feet, 48-inches."

No matter what method you choose, be sure to not scrimp on quality, equipment or planning. If there is a flaw in your fence, your goats will find it!

Learn more:

Good fences make good neighbors: Fencing laws can be complicated. Here's a primer on who's responsible for what.

General overview of meat goat production: Here are the basics on raising goats, including information on housing and fencing.

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