Fencing is incredibly important to goat safety. Below are some fencing do's and don'ts for goats of all sizes.
- Goat pastures should be completely fenced on all 4 sides of the pasture. A wall of blackberry bushes or brush is not a fence line. Goats will eat their way through it in no time at all.
- Good fencing options include 2”x4” no climb field fence, chain link, cattle panels or other sturdy, heavy gauge wire fencing. 3 or 4 rail fencing will also work if it is well lined with heavy gauge field fencing that is securely attached to the rail fencing. New Zealand high tensile electric fencing can also work well with most goats if it has appropriately spaced lines to prevent goats from squeezing under, or dogs and other predators from squeezing in.
- Fencing should be sturdily built and tightly strung. If you are using field fencing, corners of the fencing should all have wooden corner posts. Over time, metal t-posts struggle to maintain tightly strung fencing and the fencing will start to break down and sag.
- Fences, ideally, should be at least 5 feet high. 4 foot high fencing can work with many goats but the taller the better for predator prevention. A hot wire on the top of the fence line is added assurance to keep them in and to deter predators and a hot wire on the outside of the bottom of the fence line will help to prevent predators from digging in. If hot wire is not used, then fencing should be recessed into the ground or you can place a foot wide strip of field fencing, laid flat along the outer fence line and attached to the fence, so that predators can not easily dig under.
- It is a good idea to fence off or wrap fencing around any trees in the pasture with crooks in them that goats can get their legs or necks caught in. Over the years we've heard many tragic stories including this hidden danger.
- Sagging or loose fencing are weak areas predators will use to enter into your pastures or areas where your goats may get out.
- Having a fence line next to any boulders, stumps or hills that goats could use to jump over the fence. Attention must also be paid to the outside of the fence line as well, so predators such as dogs and coyotes cannot use them to jump into the pasture.