Do you have a goat that likes to jump fences? Well, you are not alone. Goats are good jumpers and can often scale heights that would stop other animals in their tracks. If your goat is getting out and running around, it can be a real problem.
Not only is it a safety hazard, but it can also lead to problems with the law if your goat ends up on someone else’s property. In this article, Charlotte Riggs, an expert goat farmer who has years of experience in keeping goats from jumping fences explains the steps to take. Read on for her top tips!
How to Stop a Goat From Jumping a Fence
Owning goats for the first time is a steep learning curve for all involved – and one of the first things you’ll probably notice is that (some) goats can be excellent escape artists! It’s a seemingly endless battle for many goat owners, with some goats seeming to be true escape artists. Houdini would be envious!
Top Tips to Stop Goats from Jumping Fences
No matter how hopeless it might seem to keep your goats contained, this truly isn’t an impossible goal – and you can stop your goat from jumping the fence with a few simple tips and ideas.
1. Make the Fences Higher
Let’s face it – even the springiest goat can only jump so high. As such, making your fences higher is definitely the first port of call to stop goats from jumping fences. A few extra rails or strands of electric fencing may be good options here – however, don’t use barbed wire, as this poses a serious risk of harming your goat.
If you add extra electric fencing, always supervise your goats carefully to ensure they don’t still try to jump (which could get tangled).
And of course, even when you have made that fence higher, ensure your hard work is not undone by removing any potential take-off objects from near the fence. A brick pile or upturned wheelbarrow provides perfect launch points for the determined goat.
2. Flatten the Ground
Goats are amazing opportunists. As such, if they notice – for example – that the bedding or soil is higher in one spot than in others, they may take advantage of this to jump out.
As such, ensuring all ground is flat and even is crucial to prevent goats from using this elevated ground as a springboard.
3. Never Leave Any Fences Weak
Sometimes, the issue might not be that the goat is jumping so much as it is climbing out. I’ve seen in a few instances our goats use their dew claws to scrabble over a bit of loose stock fencing – which indicates that section of fence definitely needs to be tightened! So, always check your fencing is secure and non-climbable.
4. The Grass Shouldn’t be Greener on the Other Side!
Invariably, there’s always a reason for a goat to jump out. I often joke that if there’s no reason for a goat to do something, that’s reason enough, but this isn’t entirely true. Indeed, if your goat is jumping out, there’s most likely a reason behind this.
It could be that they prefer the look of the food on the other side; they’ve run out of food; their herd mates are bullying them, or they’re looking for attention.
Always consider the reasons your goat might be jumping out to help find the most suitable way to stop them – sometimes, putting out a little more hay at night to fill their belly could be enough to stop it.
5. Put a Roof on the Pen
If you have a small pen that your goats are escaping from – such as a pen for bottle kids – you may be able to put a roof over the pen to stop the kids from escaping. Of course, this may be less practical if your goats are escaping out in the field!
A passionate owner and breeder of Boer Goats, Charlotte is ensconced in daily goat farm life at Himmon Boer Goats in the UK. A member of the British Boer Goat Society, she spends her spare time also involved with goats. You could say, and she would admit, she is somewhat obsessed!
Is It Possible to Stop a Goat From Jumping the Fence?
Many people feel like it’s an impossible goal to stop a goat from jumping fence posts and wires. However, this isn’t true; you can absolutely stop goats from jumping fences, but you’ll need to spend a little time considering your fencing situation carefully. Ideally, it’s best to get the fencing right before you get goats; however, if you’ve already got goats, penning them away for a day may help you fix the issue.
The Dangers If You Can’t Stop your Goat Jumping the Fence
At this point, we’ve outlined some key tips and ideas to help. Of course, I should point out here that, since our own goats are Boers, they are stockier, heavy set, and much less nimble than a feral or dairy-type goat. As such, they typically find escaping more difficult – although that’s not to say they won’t find and take advantage of any holes in the fence!
Still, if you have been having trouble keeping your goats, it’s vital to stop this behavior ASAP.
Indeed, while jumping can sometimes seem endearing, your goats aren’t Grand National racing horses. In fact, jumping can potentially put them at serious risk of gorging on foraged food, contracting diseases from other farms, or just going missing.
Alternatively, a badly timed jump could leave your goat getting stuck on the fence – and the outcomes could be severe for this.
So, taking steps to stop your goat from jumping fence posts and wires is vital. Don’t leave this to chance!
Few things are more frustrating for a goat keeper than seeing their goats in a field they’re not supposed to be in – yet again! However, while this can be frustrating, you can absolutely stop your goat from jumping its fence with a few simple tips, ideas, and strategies, as we have outlined today.
Hopefully, these will help you find out more about the different options available to you – after all, no matter how determined they might seem to escape, even goats have a limit to what they can escape (just about).
But, if you still can’t stop your goat from jumping the fence, it’s worth asking that potentially painful question – is it the right goat for you?