Maybe this post should be subtitled "Mistakes I've Made Trying to Keep Goats in Fences". Maybe my best advice is "don't have horses on the other side of the fence." I'm going to spill the beans and tell you what has and what hasn't worked for us.
(By the way, when you see photos of my black goats and white goats and spotted goats, like the yearlings below, they were in my first herd. Nowadays I have brown goats, plus Ziva who is black-brown and is in the first photo above.)
|The escaped-again yearlings|
I admit that the goat's personality makes a difference as well. Some goats are happy to stay put, while others are born wanting to explore. If your doe is happy staying in the pen, her kids are more likely to grow up knowing that they are supposed to stay there too.
Barbed wire fencing is a no-no. Don't even think that this will keep goats in. It's an easy matter to climb between the strands, and your goat will tear her ears and her udder on the way out. My neighbor up the road tried to keep his goats in with a 12-strand barbed wire fence - and didn't succeed.
|Welded wire fencing|
Pallet fences work quite well if you have a source for lots of pallets. Drive posts into the ground and set the pallets over them so the posts are inside the pallet, and drive screws through the pallet into the post, and from pallet to pallet. This is a very old and small photo of the pallet fence we put up around our dogs' yard.
|Hook-over feeders are very easy to hang on a pallet fence.|
|This was a really bad place to put the goats' hay feeder. I moved it after taking this picture.|
While the cattle panels don't work well with horses, they do work very well to keep goats in, although young kids can sometimes get through the holes. There are transportation issues because of their length though: getting a 16-foot-long panel home can be difficult. The other disadvantage is that horned goats can stick their heads through the holes but not get back out again.
A neighbor's cows came to visit and "helped" us mow the front yard by leaning over the fence, stretching and bending it, and now our dog Cracker uses that spot to jump out of the yard and go chase coyotes.
I've not used electric netting, electric fence, or chain link, so I can't comment on how well they do or don't work.
In our experience, cattle panels (also called utility panels and stockade panels) and properly-stretched woven wire fencing work best for us. Pallet fences also work well but we don't have a source for the number of pallets we would need. I'm still searching for the perfect fence that my horses can't ruin, will keep my goats in, and that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. If you've had success keeping goats in, please leave a comment to let us know what you use.
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