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As per Ferrier1987: You are supposed to post pictures when you post about your baby goats. Its a rule here. I just made it up as a rule, but its now part of the forum rules I have decided.
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Post by Farrier1987 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:56 am


Jan 24/16

Four people said I should maybe write a little more about goats. And as far as I know, only one of them was my mother, but she is known to have several accounts, so I am not sure. Anyway, I will expound on my goat experiences a little more.

Fencing and goats. An ongoing war, that sometimes one side is winning, sometimes the other. The following may give you the chance to be on the winning side more often than not, though you will lose some skirmishes.

So why do you want the goats fenced in? Why not let them run free like they were meant to? That is the goat’s philosophy. Then they can chew the bark off of trees, climb your car, trash the garden and go over to the neighbors and do the same. It is so cute. But cuteness only goes so far when longevity is concerned. Goat stew anyone?

Before you ever get goats, get your fences in order. There is an old story: Build the best, tightest fence you can that you think will keep the goats in. When you are finished, get a bucket of water. From about three feet back, throw the bucket of water at the fence. If any water goes through, the goats can get out.

The number one reason to fence in your goats is for the benefit of the neighbors. Good neighbors are important. And I am not talking about the neighbors in the next house. I am talking about the people in your house that should be good neighbors to the ones over there. And to be a good neighbor, you must keep the goats out of their garden, killing their trees, making their dogs crazy and stuff like that. Not to mention that goats actually prefer to climb on the neighbors car. It is more challenging and new. They can climb your car any time they want.

You must have good neighbors to have goats, and the way to do that is to do your best to not let the goats roam. They are cute and cuddly and amusing, but they are also worse than any group of six year olds allowed to run rampant. You can’t prevent them from being goats so you must to adjust to them. You are not going to be able to have a stern talk with them and change their behaviour. They will listen to a scolding, and hang their heads and swear they will never do it again. But they are liars. They will do it again.

So the fence. I used posts every eight feet. One railroad tie three feet in the grouund, (a regular tie is 8 ft., so 5 ft is above the ground) and one steel, alternated. My gates are only six inches above the ground. Goats will try to go under. Made of old barn boards about 5 ft high, boards vertical, spaced about 4 in apart. The gate opening between posts is 5 ft wide, but the gate is 5 ft 6 and opens inward, so that it hits the other post when closed.
The goats love to climb up and look over this gate. Three stout hinges on a 5 ft gate seems overkill, but is good insurance, because they will try this gate all the time. And put a latch/chain or sort mechanism that fastens from the outside, or they will figure out how to open it.

Wire. You need either 4 in square page wire, or I like hog wire with the graduated sizes smaller at the bottom than at the top. Five ft high minimum. New can be a little pricey. I used mostly chain link. I found a fencing contractor that was tearing down an old school fence and replacing it, and bought it from him on the cheap. Some is five ft, some six. New or used, this is not a place to go on the “it’ll do” side. Just because heavy poultry netting is on sale, don’t do it, its false economy and they will destroy it. The wire you get will determine if you even have a chance of keeping them in.

When you hang the wire, it should be touching the ground. Goats love to push on it and eat the grass growing underneath. They push and push to get that next blade of grass. And they get their head under, then their shoulders, and it gets uncomfortable, so they just worm on out and are on the other side. The neighbors restored 1927 Dusenberg is next and he really wants to take it to the show and shine tomorrow. And his dog is going crazy. And they have stripped the bark off the young apple tree. And all of his peas in his garden have been pulled up, even though few were actually eaten. And the flower beds, Goats love flowers. Make no mistake, there was a resason that in the middle ages goats were considered akin to the devil.

So you have built good gates with complicated latches, got good wire and the posts are in firmly and you are ready to hang the wire. Ground level. Stretch it pretty good, so it is fairly snug from each end, then staple the middle posts. Lots of staples. Posts on the outside of the wire, so the push goes against the post, not the staples.

This part is not 100% necessary, but I got some cable from a friend that was replacing the winch on his 4/4. I ran it along the top of the wire, snug and stapled, and then wired to the chainlink at the top half way between each post. This is because the bloody goats will climb on the fence, and if it has enough slack, it will lean over some, and they will climb it and be on the other side. The cable is an extra layer of security. Not too tight, or it can pull the corner posts over.

After building this fence, the chickens and dog couldn’t get in or out, causing some anguish. So I cut out a square next to one of the posts about 1 foot high and 6 in across. At ground level, and put a steel stake down the cut edge. It allows the chickens and dog ingress and egress at will, while mostly keeping the goats in. They will try to push out, and pretend they are stuck and cry pitifully, but it mostly works. Do not make this hole too big. Goat kids will get through it. I had to put an extra steel stake in the ground right in the middle for a couple months till they were too big.

Goats ae naturally a browser, not a grazer. This means they prefer twigs and leaves and shrubs. They do graze, but if you want a manicured lawn type look, get sheep.

A tree or two are great for shade in a grazing area. But the goats will kill trees because they want to. I have two wallnut trees in my pasture area that is not quite as big as a football field. Before I got the destroying goats, I took some chain link and wrapped it loosely around the trees, wired it shut. The trees are still alive several years later. With diamond shaped chew marks in the bark. So later on, one of my adjustments was sliding some old boards down between the chainlink and the tree so they can’t chew the bark through the mesh. Make sure the chain link is not too tight, to allow that insertion and not to strangle the tree. No staples in the tree. And on the ground, and a little away from the trunk. Goats will eat roots and strip the bark off them too if they can.

Build this fence before you get your goats. It will have flaws and defects that you will discover and adjust to as required, but if you start with poor fencing and try to patch as you go, you are doomed and bad neighbors and you get rid of the goats.

I have not tried it, but electric fencing is a possibility. I am thinking seriously about it for next summer, so I can move them around a little more. I also stake them out, using a chain, not rope. The buggers will eat the rope. Then its on to the Dusenberg or whatever.

So, to sum up. Make good fences. It will not work absolutely, but the goats gettting out and causing mayhem will be minimized. More often it will be you forgetting to latch the gate or some such. That you can fix. The neighbor’s Dusenberg? Not sure, don’t want to find out.

Next subject: Horns or no horns? They can be hard on fences. More on that my next post.
Farrier1987. South of Chatham on Lake Erie. Chickens, goats, horse, garden, dog, cat. Worked all over the world. Know a little bit about a lot of things. No incubator, broody hens.

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Post by ross » Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:07 am

Great read man & goat droppings roll downhill if floor slanted in house . Keep it comin man yu got the basics for a good book . Luck

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Post by kenya » Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:35 pm

Ha! Ha! You obviously know your goats, lovely animals but devious!

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Post by Robbie » Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:39 pm

Enjoyed your post!

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Post by Killerbunny » Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:13 pm

Great post!
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Post by Silkie Sue » Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:17 pm

I can hardly wait for the "horns" "no horns" discussion..... I am also at that stage lol

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Post by windwalkingwolf » Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:47 am

Love your writing style, keep it coming!
P.S. I'm not Farrier's Mom

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Post by Ontario Chick » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:58 am

Very enjoyable post. :coolguy:
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Post by The Goatlady » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:53 pm

Many thumbs up....ya got her nailed about those devil's!!

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Post by scottishpet » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:20 pm

Again...great info!

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