Article Index "Fencing" Article Index

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By: "Goat Handbook, United States, 1992"
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1) There are many different types of fencing at a great variance in initial cost. The selection of a specific type for a certain size or sex of dairy goat, can be very important.

2) For large pasture areas in which the mature milking herd resides, the less expensive 48" high sheep and cattle fencing ++++MISSING DATA++++

3) Stock Panels
Another very durable fence in areas of high stress or to confine strong bucks is the stock (or hog) panels. They come in 52 inch heights, 16 feet long, with the horizontal stay rods 3 inches apart at the top. The vertical rods are 6 inches apart. These panels are more costly but they will outlast all fencing.

4) Picket Fence
There are other types of fencing on the market. The following, may be less suitable: The single or double picket lawn fence is a heavy-duty fence that withstands weather (rusting out, etc.) for a greater number of years than the sheep and cattle fence; but the staywires on it are not as tight and goats soon learn that they can play with the fence and get it to slip, eventually making holes in it that they can simply walk through.

5) Snow Fence
The wooden picket (snow) fence, although probably the cheapest in cost, should not be used unless for a temporary situation. Dairy goats eat right through it in a matter of a few months.

6) Welded Fence
The one-inch by two-inch spot-welded fence has a tendency to loosen at the spot welds quite fast and therefore is not recommended.

7) Electric Fence
The electric fence with the use of one or more strands of electrified wire has been used successfully by some dairy goat breeders, but each animal must be introduced to the shock.

8) Although this fencing may work to confine the introduced dairy goats, protection against stray predators and dogs may be minimal. Fencing serves two purposes, first, to keep dairy goats where you want them and, second, to protect them from predators.

9) Four strands of electric fence, the second from the bottom preferable being a barbed wire, seems most effective. The bottom wire should be about six inches off the ground, just high enough to clear the power lawn mower under the fence. Tall grasses must be cut to prevent shortening-out of the electric fence. An average charge unit is usually best, but it must be well grounded in moist ground six to eight feet deep. Barbed wire can be used as goat fence if many strands not too far apart (6-10 inches) are used, very tightly strung on 6 feet high posts. However, if there is attractive pasture on the other side of the fence and the goats especially kids are hungry, then they will squeeze through, especially under the bottom wire.

10) Turkey Wire
Just plain turkey wire makes good fence but again it must be tight and the posts no more than 10 feet apart.

11) The best fence from an animal behavior standpoint can be found e.g. at Laurelwood Acres in California. It consists of vertical pipes with horizontal and bottom pipes, posts and bottom edge in concrete. Certainly not cheap but very effective for dry-lot operations, long lasting, easy to maintain, and easy to run the herd back and forth to the milking parlor. In the absence of horizontal strands, goats have nothing to climb on.

12) When installing fencing, it is necessary to brace the corner posts either by wires to stays on the outside or by posts placed diagonally on the inside, or embedding the corner post in enough concrete to keep it from moving as the result of the tension of the wire.

13) Gates
Gates can be varied in size. Large aluminum or steel gates are good to use in areas where a vehicle such as a truck or tractor needs to pass through. Smaller gates can be chainlink or woven wire. In areas where there is snow in the winter, those smaller gates should be raised off the ground almost a foot to insure use while snow is on the ground.

14) Locking gates around goats, especially metal, can be a problem. They are intelligent and can figure out how to get out fast. The goats will push and work at a gate, trying to get out, if they can start the smallest of cracks. It is important that the gate be closed tightly and securely. Two successful locks are: a nylon snapline with a brass weather-resistant snap to fasten; the other is a nylon collar (goats will chew through leather collars) buckled tightly with the strap placed under the extra ring on the collar. By using these, the gate can be drawn tight preventing play that leads to caught heads. Kids especially, like to get their heads caught. The properly fastened gate is double-fastened with the top one as high as you can put it.

15) Portable Fence
Lastly, there is a type of portable fencing that comes in handy when one needs a pen in a hurry - to isolate an animal or for a temporary gate, or as a separator inside the truck when hauling kids and bucks. This is a product sold by Sears and is available in sections 44 inches high by about 42 inches in width and is connected by rods so that one can make up whatever size pen is needed. The fencing is sold for use as portable pens for young children to play in and can be folded accordianstyle to store and also used as a separator or hay rack when going to a show.

About the author: Extension Goat Handbook - This material was contributed from collections at the National Agricultural Library. However, users should direct all inquires about the contents to authors or originating agencies.
A. J. Miller; Furlong, PA
D. L. Ace; Pennsylvania State U., University Park

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