Electric Fence for Goats: Effective Method for Containment?

Have you ever wondered whether you could contain your goats with electric fencing? It’s not always easy to answer the question, “will electric fence keep goats in,” since this depends on many different factors. Fortunately, our experts are on hand to help you find out more about using electric fencing with goats, including how this works and the benefits and drawbacks this might offer. Hopefully, this may help you find the most effective solutions for your beloved goats.

Will Electric Fence Keep Goats In? 

An electric fence is, unfortunately, not guaranteed to keep goats in. In most cases, a well-maintained electric fence should be enough to keep most goats in; however, goats are often troublemakers, and this means that they often attempt to escape. As such, it’s not uncommon for goats to attempt to escape from electric fencing, and some goats may simply climb through it. 

Moreover, if there are any weaknesses or breaks in the electric fence, you can be pretty confident your goats will discover it at some point. After all, their penchant for escaping really is legendary!

What is an Electric Fence and How Does it Work?

An electric fence, as the name would suggest, is a powered form of fencing that features metal wires throughout the length of the fence. These metal wires are incredibly conductive of electricity, which means that when an electrical current is applied to the fence, it becomes charged.

Touching any metal strands within the electric fencing will cause an electric shock, which is a strong deterrent. As such, it’s important to consider that electric fences require a stable power supply to keep them working effectively. In addition, if the power supply is broken or interfered with (e.g., earthed out by surrounding grass), it may not provide a powerful shock or an electric shock. This will stop it from working as normal.

Why are Goats so Prone to Escape?

Goats are, by their nature, very curious animals. Unfortunately for goatkeepers, this often means that their beloved four-legged cloven-hooved friends have a particular tendency to escape and causing mayhem. As such, strong and secure fencing is vital, especially if dealing with goats you know are likely to escape or attempt to get out.

Can I Keep a Goat Behind Electric Fence?

If your goat is respectful of an electric fence, you can potentially use an electric fence to contain them. So long as the electric fence remains powered at all times without being earthed out, your goat should stay contained, but this is not always the case.

For one thing, it’s important to note that electric fences are usually quite thin. As such, it is possible for the electric fence to snap, preventing it from working effectively.

Furthermore, there is always the potential for your goat to get incredibly hurt with electric fencing. An electric fence won’t necessarily turn off just because something is touching it. As such, if your goat gets caught up in the electric fencing, the results could be dire. This is even more of a concern for horned goats, which may be more prone to getting stuck in fencing, but any goat – horned or otherwise – is at risk of getting stuck.

Finally, it’s worth considering that, since electric fencing doesn’t have much strength in its own right, it’s impossible for your goat to simply ignore it. It’s not unheard of for goats to just climb through electric fencing – squealing as they go if it’s on – so this may represent a welfare issue for your goats. As such, this is crucial to consider as part of your decision.

Tips for Maintaining Your Electric Fence Correctly for Goats

In order to keep your goats contained with electric fencing, you should always carry out regular maintenance of the fence. This should always include checking that the fence remains taught at all times and that there is nothing touching the electric fence that may earth it out.

In addition, if using an energizer for your electric fencing, you’ll need to ensure that the battery has plenty of power to keep it running effectively. There’s also always the possibility for mains electricity to suffer a power outage, so it’s worth keeping spare batteries and energizers to hand to ensure the electric fence has a “back up” just in case something goes wrong! 

How we Use Electric Fence with Goats

In our herd, we do use an electric fence with goats, but we don’t tend to use it exclusively. While we have never had an issue with goats “fighting” electric fencing, we just don’t trust it entirely! With this thought in mind, we use electric fencing alongside post-and-rail fencing and stock netting. 

The electric fencing helps prevent the goats from trying to stand on or climb the stock netting or getting their heads through the stock net; meanwhile, the post and rail and stock netting provide a strong physical barrier to stop the goats from just pushing through.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been wondering, will electric fence keep goats in, this really comes down to your individual animals and the quality of your electric fencing. In theory, in most cases, a well-maintained electric fence should keep goats in. However, goats are incredibly curious little troublemakers, so relying on electric fences alone may be risky. In addition, you should always make sure your goat knows what the electric fence is before leaving them alone with it; otherwise, they may get tangled and panicked while you’re not there to save them, which could prove deadly.

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