When we think of wild goats, we immediately think of those gravity-defying animals that seem to scale the side of sheer cliffs effortlessly. While your backyard goat might not be quite this crafty (hopefully!), it’s nevertheless the case that many goats have a reputation for being escape artists – and for a good reason! With this thought in mind, today, we’re looking at some of the key things you need to know about fencing your goats. Good goat fence ideas should help keep them contained and (critically) safe; however, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that your new fencing is 1) goat-proof and 2) safe for the goats to be around. After all, not all fencing is goat-friendly, and considering this can help you find the right goat fence ideas for your four-legged friends.
Why Reliable Goat Fence Ideas are Important
Goats are escape artists, and if you don’t want them to get somewhere, it can sometimes feel like they’ve made it their life mission to get there solely to frustrate you! Indeed, I often joke, “if there’s no reason for a goat to do something, that’s reason enough.” So, just because you don’t see why your goat would want to escape through that tiny hole in the fence, don’t trust them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to goats. And in many cases, they seem to be better at finding weak points in fences than we do ourselves.
5 Goat Fence Ideas You May Have Considered
So, you now know why goat fence ideas need to be strong – but what options are there? Well, there are numerous different types of goat fence ideas you could try, but the following are among the most common (or potentially the most “up and coming”).
Electric fencing is one of the most common modern goat fencing ideas, and the appeal is easy to see. It’s cheap, lightweight, easy to move, and easy to install. You won’t have to spend hours banging in poles or trying to straighten our stock fencing – but it may not be as reliable for goats.
Now, most livestock will respect electric fencing. Some goats will, too. Others… Well, if reports online of goats getting here, there, and everywhere are anything to go by, others aren’t as respectful of electric fencing.
As such, if you decide to try electric fencing, you should ideally stay with your goats, to begin with, to see if they’re likely to respect it or not. It is also vital to remember that electric fencing can be dangerous – if your goat gets stuck in electric fencing, the results can be severe.
Another common type of fencing that’s widely used for goats is stock fencing or stock netting. This is potentially excellent for goats that don’t have horns, but it’s not uncommon for horned goats to get stuck in the large squares of stock fencing and unable to free themselves. Moreover, even some disbudded goats could still get their heads stuck – so, if you’re using stock fencing, be cautious of this potential. Always ensure the fencing is suitably sized so that your goats can’t get trapped.
For our herd, we usually use stock fencing with a strand of electric fence above and below to keep them away. Usually, it works – but there’s no guarantee!
Barbed Wire Fencing
Barbed wire is another common fencing option for goats, but it is not one I’d personally use (considering the tendency of many goats to try and jump fences). Barbed wire is cheap and easy to put up, but it may risk injuries for your goats, so this is always a decision that you should make carefully. Using barbed wire alone may not be enough to keep your goats contained, either, and they may injure themselves while climbing out. The grass is always greener on the other side, as they say!
Post and Rail Fencing
Post and rail fencing can be an excellent option to keep goats contained – provided that you have multiple rails kept close enough together to prevent the goat from trying to clamber out. You’d be amazed by the tiny gaps a goat can escape through, so when investing in post and rail fencing, ensure you have plenty of rails to narrow the gaps. Don’t forget that your goats will likely also climb post and rail fencing, so ensuring it’s strong and well-built is possible to withstand the weight of the goats.
GPS “Virtual” Fencing
As a final option, you may have heard of specialist GPS fencing. GPS fencing is only just being introduced but offers a new way to contain goats to a specific area without a physical fence. Instead, GPS virtual fencing (often called “geofencing”) gives out a small electric shock to encourage the animal to retreat. While this technology is new, it may be rolled out one day for goats – but its efficacy will, of course, depend on individual animals and whether or not they can be trained to use the GPS virtual fencing collars.
Goats – they’re troublemakers. And, in fairness, it’s part of what we love about them. But oh, boy, can it also be frustrating! One of the biggest challenges many goat keepers face is the seemingly endless fight to keep a goat contained and where it is supposed to be – which is where we hope that today’s goat fence ideas may have helped. But, of course, this often comes down to individual animals and your own personal preference. So, always do your research and planning before erecting any of the goat fence ideas we’ve outlined today; not every fence is suitable for every goat.