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The Fence Post

Goat Fencing

September 30, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

The Right FenceAdult and baby goat in pen

Protecting Your Herd

Barnyard or backyard, goats may be a source of comic relief or the creators of mayhem. So much depends on the enclosure you provide for your herd. Goats interact with fencing and will test its limits. Your herd of goats will find a fence's vulnerability and capitalize on it for their own exploring and ravenous ends. 

To begin with, a 4 foot high high tensile woven wire fence with 4" x 4" openings is the rule. Goats are strong and smart and your fence has to be as well. Tough and flexible woven 12.5 gauge wire with strong stiff stay knots is imperative. This combination of factors will stand up to the roughhousing that goats bring to the party.

Let's break down some of those terms--

  • Woven Wire--A woven wire fence's linked yet loose structure allows for a large amount of bend, twist and pull without breaking -- a perfect design if you have livestock to contain.This makes for secure mesh, strong enough to hold together well when impacted by a demanding goat. This also adapts to variable terrain.                                                                                                                                                                           
  • 12.5 Gauge--a thickness of wire with a minimum of 1,350 pounds breaking strength, which you'll find plenty strong for your goats.                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  • High Tensile--means higher carbon steel wire, roughly twice the strength of low carbon wire yet lighter due to the higher grade of steel, the payoff being easier handling. Safer than barbed wire for your goats and can be electrified. Standard Class 3 galvanizing protects the wire and extends its life. With proper maintenance it can last up to 40 years.                                                                                                                                     
  • 4" x 4" Openings--goats can't get their heads and horns through, avoiding injury. It's smooth wire; again, reducing injuries.                                                                                           
  • S knot, (also known as Square Deal): This knot is used insquare deal fence knot making non-climb 4" x 4" mesh sheep and goat fence. The S knot prevents the fence from buckling or sagging. It also provides extra vertical strength and rigidity while at the same time allowing flexibility. These knots add to the fence's adaptability to hilly terrain. One-piece vertical stay wires, attached to line wires--with a crimp--prevent slippage. 

A Goat's Ways

Add an extra strand of electric fence wire at the top of the fence to ensure safety, especially for more ambitious goats. Yet, no matter what system is in place when keeping goats: vigilance is required. A break or defect in the fence and your goat will take advantage of it, resulting in runaway goats. Straying goats will munch a rose bush over a clump of grass. When goats are limited to a grassy enclosure, the incidence of worms and parasites goes up. They are known as browsers in their style of feeding--leafy fodder above the ground is of particular interest and they will use a fence to find ways to get at bushy shrubs and the lower growth of trees--or happily climb trees. If you've got a goat that makes a practice of finding new and creative ways of escaping, it may be time to enhance your enclosure for Ms. or Mr. Gruff, upgrading your existing fence. A rebellious goat will readily tutor other goats in your herd with its pillaging tactics.

 

If you're desiring a backyard goat, remember that cities and towns may have size and number limits. Consider your neighbors as they can be noisy. You must have space--you cannot share your yard with a goat as your yard won't exist after a goat has its way. As omnivorous as they seem they will not eat what they've peed on so their fodder must be kept off the ground in a raised feeder. 

a black and a white goat in gated entry

Shedding and Fence Stress

Seems to be that shedding is going to be one of the stressors on your fence. Shedding? Yes, this is why a woven wire fence comes in handy; it flexes with the strains of a goat using it to rub off its warm winter undercoat that comes off in spring. You might give your goats a good brushing to prevent wear and tear on your fence. 

Goat Facts:

  • First and foremost--goats are social animals and being isolated is stressful for them.
  • They walk immediately after being born and are weaned around 3 months.
  • Birth occurs in spring, after 5-6 months gestation, producing 1 or 2 kids.
  • A male goat is known as a billy or a buck; if castrated, they are called wethers.
  • Females are does or nannies. They are generally ready to breed once they have reached 80 lbs.
  • Lifespan of domesticated goat: generally 12-18 years and varies with the breed.

GOAT FENCE

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Topics: goat, woven wire, high tensile wire, 12.5 gauge

Goat Fencing Materials Considerations vs. Born Free

March 14, 2013 | by Debbie Page

goat portrait 

You’ve Got My Goat

When my son Daniel was 11 he announced he was getting goats. “You’re doing what?” I exclaimed. We had recently moved to a house on four acres in Massachusetts. He was looking at about two acres of grass to cut and being an entrepreneur at heart, he was determined to figure out the fastest solution to getting that job done. After much discussion, we headed to Crystal Brook Farm in Sterling, MA so Daniel could apply for a job. Ann Starbard the goatherd hired him. How could she resist when he blurted out “I want to work for you and you don’t have to pay me.” That was the beginning of our life with goats and it all started with twins: Mr. Tumnus and Sherlock Holmes. Of course, before he brought the goats to their new home he needed a shed and a fence to keep them in.

Seven on the run

Then Ann gave Daniel a female goat for his birthday and no one bothered to tell me that she was pregnant! And true to many goats she had triplets: Amos and Andy and Abigail. And then there was Roo. Twelve years later we still have the original twins. Fencing them in and keeping them in has had its challenges through the years. Goats do roam and love to do it. They ate all my David Austin roses, our nice big strawberry patch, and my holly bush with the most berries ever one Christmas. We found the weirdest streaks on our truck last winter: they had been licking the salt off the truck! I came home late one afternoon to find them playing in my neighbor’s front yard. Have you ever tried to get seven full-grown goats home? Without the neighbors hearing you? Not an easy feat. To a goat, the grass is always greener on the other side, especially after a New England winter.

White Goat Eating Grass during Daytime

And why should you fence goats in? There are two things you must accomplish with fencing in your goats:

  • Keeping the goats contained so you don’t lose your roses (or your neighbors' roses!) or expose them to potentially harmful shrubs such as rhododendron.
  • Keeping your goats safe from predators: coyote

Things to Consider:

  • Type of fencing
  • Land area you want to fence
  • Size of your herd
  • Terrain
  • Your budget
  • Do it yourself or hire someone

What are the choices for wire mesh fencing materials?

  • Fixed Knot
  • Electric fence, best used in combination with other fencing
  • Barbed wire
  • Welded wire stock panels
  • Stay-Tuff's Goat-Tuff™ fence

Are you thinking about getting goats? Do you already have goats in your life? Just remember one of the important things Daniel learned: A good secure fence is a necessity.
Debbie Page signature   Debbie Page picture

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Topics: goat, panels, fixed knot

Sheep & Goat Fence - 4"x4" Woven Wire Mesh

May 20, 2009 | by Duncan Page

white sheep on green grass in front of herd

Galvanized and Flexible

Stay-Tuff Sheep & Goat square deal knot Fence is made right here in the USA. This strong wire fence features galvanized 12-1/2 gauge high tensile class 3 wires woven into a 4"x 4" mesh. Vertical and horizontal wires are joined by strong stiff stay knots. Woven construction gives the fence some flexibility, making it easier to erect on uneven ground.  

Containment, Safety, and Protection from Predators

Sheep and goat fence is strong enough to safely contain your animals. It also provides protection from predators. There are no sharp edges anywhere on this fence to cut animals or people. Galvanized finish resists weathering, has a long life and is available in the heavier class 3 finish, and is an economical choice, lasting much longer than the standard farm fence. The 4"x 4" squares are the perfect size for containing sheep and goats. The strong mesh design provides safe confinement and discourages animals from putting their heads through the openings. It is said that if a goat can fit its head through an opening, the rest of it will follow.  The fence is flexible and minimizes the potential for injury by flexing on impact.

Heavy Use

Goats use fences. As a goat sheds its thick winter coat, a fence is used to rub off that fur--repeatedly. And let us not forget that a goat will assist with trimming all of your garden back so a fence is mandatory to protect the rest of your garden. As for your seemingly lethargic sheep, don't underestimate their ability to find their way past your enclosure. They are can be destructive and determined, so an appropriate fence is imperative.   

What About Size?

Rolls come 48"x 330'. Sheep and goat fence can be stapled to wood posts or hung on studded T posts. It can also be used for dog runs as well as yard and boundary fences. 

To finish, here's something for the those who are romantic about keeping goats.

 

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Topics: goat, sheep

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