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What Type of Fencing Do Goats Need?

Are goats hard to keep in a fence? Wondering what is the best goat fence to use? There are some standard requirements for goat fencing and some additional things to consider:

  1. •Fencing should be a minimum of 4 foot tall, with the smallest openings possible (more on that below)
  3. •Your goats will need a large enough fenced in area for them to be able to run around, jump and play. If they are not going to be on pasture, their fenced in area should still be big enough for them to run around a bit and get exercise. A healthy goat needs exercise.
  5. •From their fenced in area, they should have free access to and from their shelter (i.e. the shelter should be in the fenced area) so that they can get out of rain and/or mid day storms.
  7. •Your goat's fencing is as much to keep them IN as it is to keep other things OUT. One of the top killers of goats is roaming dogs.
  9. •Woven wire fencing needs to be stretched TIGHT so there are no gaps underneath. If they can get their noses under, and its loose, they are likely to shimmy under it and get out. The open "squares" in standard field fencing are big enough that baby dwarf goats can go right through. You can purchase Goat specific woven wire fencing but it is more expensive. Very young dwarf goats can still get through the 4"x4" squares of the goat specific fencing. No climb horse fence has the smallest squares on the bottom, but its pricey. If thats not in the budget or you are working with what you already have, you can ziptie some plastic poultry netting over the holes (I do this to the bottom 2 feet).
  11. •Picket fencing can work, just make sure it is tall enough, and pickets are all the way to the ground and not spaced too far apart (think about tiny babies!) If its not all the way to the ground, and a baby can put their head in between two pickets and the space at the ground, they will then lift their head and be stuck by the neck in between the pickets. A small 1/2" x 1" trim piece attached to the bottom can fix that issue.
  13. •Welded wire, versus woven wire, wont hold up. After a couple of years, they will have pushed all the welds apart and it falls apart
  15. •Some people swear by the electronetting made for sheep and goats, but I've also heard stories of livestock getting tangled up in it and being killed. I've never used electric so can't offer personal experience here, just do your research before deciding to use electric.

If you are working with fencing you already have, inspect it closely for any gaps or loose areas. If all you have is strand fencing, its not going to work. You'll need to add some wire to it. You can use welded wire for simplicity if there is enough structure behind it to support it (as in 5 board fencing). Goats put all their body weight into fencing and rub their bodies against it to scratch themselves, so they do put a good amount of strain on the fence, which is another reason it needs to be tight! Welded wire fencing won't hold up if there isn't adequate structure to support it. Think ahead about where you will need gates and don't forget gates big enough to pull in your tractor, riding mower or what ever you may need to get into that area. If you use livestock tube gates, you will need to wire or weld on some goat panels (can be purchased at any livestock supply store), to keep smaller goats from going right through the bars. :)

Are Goats Really Escape Artists???

Well, not normally, but they can be! Especially if you have intact bucks in rut and girls in heat!! Thats where your fence building skills will truly be put to the test! Other than that, I believe most escapes are incidental. Like they could just so happen to be nibbling on the grass on the other side of the fence from a gap under the fence and then notice the fence is kind of loose so they proceed to take advantage of the opportunity.


Would you like to read more about Goats and Goat Care? Check out the Articles/Posts Index.

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I live on the side of a mountain with 65 goats and 4 dogs. I make 100% of my living from my homestead. My purpose is to "Inspire, Encourage & Empower".
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