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Electrifying Floofy Little Goats!

 
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Lol - Ok, I'm glad that got your attention! We recently got goats, and I'm working on setting up their primary paddocks, and thankfully, am about half done (so I actually stand a chance of getting them both done, before the ground completely freezes, for winter). Next spring, we want to add movable, electric paddocks, so we can rotate their grazing/browsing, more easily. But, I've read in a few different places, recently, that goats must be 'trained' to respect the electric fencing. What I'm NOT finding, is how to train them. Does anyone know how?
 
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Hi carla

I have not done electric fence with my goats so keep this in mind.

So the whole thing behind electric fence is that this type of fence is a physiological fence, meaning they only think and believe they cannot get thru it because when they have in the past they got hit by the shock. So i believe in order to train the goats to the fence you would need to install it in front of a permanent fence where they learn to believe the strands of electric wire mean they cannot go through them.

Otherwise i assume the goats would think nothing of the strands of fence and would try and get out because they haven't learned that they cannot get out(by the physical fence)

Now i would suggest using electric fencing mesh as apposed to using strands, it looks really easy and creates a wall of fencing, which i personally feel better about. Pigs however only need 2 strands lower to the ground.

Did this clear it up for you?
 
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For training, I'd first think of what type of electric fencing you'll be using, and train them to that. If you train them with horse tape, they might not recognise that wire or netting has the same shock.

What Jordan has suggested above is a good idea. To make sure they test the electric fence, place some treats on the other side of it and observe them to make sure they've all had a shock.

I used electric poultry netting for my full-sized dairy goats for a while and found that some of them respected it, but others learned to jump over it. Smaller breeds might respect it better though.
 
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I train sheep and cattle by simply putting up a fence and splitting one field in half.
For the first few days a few poke through but they learn really quickly.

I use one wire for cattle and three for sheep.
Mesh seems like a hassle especially on uneven terrain with lots of corners and long fences.
 
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My first electric charger was 1.2 joule.  One of my very naughty escape artists just about did a backflip the first time he hit it.  After a couple years they got cocky with it.  They need a reminder every now and again as to why they don't want to touch the fence.  Now we're on a 6 joule charger, and even then they push it sometimes.  This summer they stopped caring about the prick of the shock through their fur, so I shaved them.  BOOM.  They didn't touch the fence again and haven't tested it in a couple months.  I know they will try it again by next spring, and I'll have to shave them again to make sure they get the full pop.  
All depends on how fool hardy or smart your goaters are though.  Make it hurt the first time.  They need to NOT want to touch it again.  That's what the fluffy term of "training" an animal on electric fence means.  Heck, training humans too  I can barely bring myself to touch the fence even when I KNOW I shut it off!  Works great on humans, too!
 
Carla Burke
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Oops! Sorry - yes, we are looking at the solar electric mesh fencing, that you can just set up, and go, not just strands of wire. I've used the single or two stand electric fences, before, without incident - but, with cattle, swine, and horses. We did take the first critters into the area, and walk them along the fenceline, then they usually taught subsequent ones that were added to the menagerie. I guess that's part of my confusion? Why (&how) would goats be different? So, maybe try the treats thing, before they're tempted to make a run for it? My goats are little, with the biggest one (the buck) only about 28" tall, at the withers. The does are substantially smaller. To give an idea, the dam is so small, that even when she puts all her weight into it, I can maintain hold on her lead with one finger, lol. The buck requires my whole hand, but only the one hand.
 
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Carla Burke wrote:

Why (&how) would goats be different?

I don't have goats, but my neighbor did. Goats don't need a "why" they just are. I've read elsewhere also that goats need to be treated as if they're a force of nature, better fencing, more to keep them entertained, *not* too rich a diet (my neighbor almost killed hers with too much processed goat food and not enough woody browse) for example. I'm not at all surprised to see people posting that they not only need more "training", but also reminders. The neighbors only had 2 cows and 4 goats and that was years ago now. I don't know for sure, but I suspect they're much more inclined to need a larger social group than cows do.
 
Carla Burke
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Jay Angler wrote:Carla Burke wrote:

Why (&how) would goats be different?

I don't have goats, but my neighbor did. Goats don't need a "why" they just are. I've read elsewhere also that goats need to be treated as if they're a force of nature, better fencing, more to keep them entertained, *not* too rich a diet (my neighbor almost killed hers with too much processed goat food and not enough woody browse) for example. I'm not at all surprised to see people posting that they not only need more "training", but also reminders. The neighbors only had 2 cows and 4 goats and that was years ago now. I don't know for sure, but I suspect they're much more inclined to need a larger social group than cows do.



That sounds about right! They aren't good alone. I've done a lot of research into this - but, goats are still something of an enigma, lol. I also can't help wondering just how much of their dietary pampering is only needed because people THINK it is, rather than necessity. Mine get 1/4 cup of whole, non-gmo grains each, per day. The rest is decent quality hay that's always available, and whatever they can forage - along with plenty of clean, fresh water, always available. I'm not pampering them. I value them too much to kill them with kindness.

I'm looking for things to keep them entertained, too - but, first, I've got to get them contained. My primary plan is contain and entertain to maintain, lol
 
Kate Downham
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Goats love cable spools. They climb on them and play chasings around them.
 
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Carla Burke wrote: Lol - Ok, I'm glad that got your attention! We recently got goats, and I'm working on setting up their primary paddocks, and thankfully, am about half done (so I actually stand a chance of getting them both done, before the ground completely freezes, for winter). Next spring, we want to add movable, electric paddocks, so we can rotate their grazing/browsing, more easily. But, I've read in a few different places, recently, that goats must be 'trained' to respect the electric fencing. What I'm NOT finding, is how to train them. Does anyone know how?



False advertising. I was expecting pictures of electrified floofy little goats, and all I see is sensible discussion. You know, like this, maybe:



But perhaps more Einsteiny? Looking ever so slightly shocked?

-CK
 
Carla Burke
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Chris Kott wrote:

Carla Burke wrote: Lol - Ok, I'm glad that got your attention! We recently got goats, and I'm working on setting up their primary paddocks, and thankfully, am about half done (so I actually stand a chance of getting them both done, before the ground completely freezes, for winter). Next spring, we want to add movable, electric paddocks, so we can rotate their grazing/browsing, more easily. But, I've read in a few different places, recently, that goats must be 'trained' to respect the electric fencing. What I'm NOT finding, is how to train them. Does anyone know how?



False advertising. I was expecting pictures of electrified floofy little goats, and all I see is sensible discussion. You know, like this, maybe:
But perhaps more Einsteiny? Looking ever so slightly shocked?

-CK







Bwahahaha!!! How's this, for a starter? It's Kola (the buck) stretched as tall as he can get, to say, "Oh, HAY, Nommie! How ya duin??"

20191119_222608.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20191119_222608.jpg]
 
Jen Fan
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I keep goats for packing.  I've tried to expand the herd over the years with milkers but have mostly been convinced I will never get along with a goat I haven't bottle raised myself.  My bottle babies are like big, willful. naughty dogs, but they will follow me anywhere, through anything.  They love affection and never challenge me (last time they did was their scheduled castration day...  muahahaha....  they never tried to head butt me again, unintended but it worked out quite nicely).   The goats I've gotten as adults, and the goats I've had born here and dam raised just wanted food from me and just wanted to scream at me when I didn't have food.  They were no better than too-intelligent too-destructive meat animals.  But I'm particular; I want my livestock to have a relationship with me.  If they're afraid of me, don't want to be touched, and just agitate me all the time, I may as well eat em or rehome em!

All that said.  Goat are SMART.  Some goats are smarter than others.  Some can jump 8' fences.  Some that can't jump em know how to go over, through, or under em.  My packers will watch my fingers as I tie knots, put their lips on my fingers and feel my movements... they've learned to untie knots, unlatch gates, and even take collars and harnesses off.  One of them knows how to work a leash/run line/lung line so the clasps twist in a way that they open and he can get off his tie out lines....
They're like working dogs in their intelligence, but they're unlike dogs in that they have no desire to obey or please you.  And if you lose your temper with them, you just invented a GAME.  And they will always seek to play this game with you, because you're funny when you're all riled up and chasing them.  They REALLY like that.  It can be a frustrating mix.  Some goats are notoriously un-fencable.  My goats were until I introduced electric.  They destroyed every fence I put them behind as kids.  They're 5 years old now and have mellowed out quite a bit; but they're also 200+lbs, so they're not as agile and spry as they once were.  One of them used to climb vertical OSB board as a kid...  If they weren't attached to me as mama goat, I would probably hate them, lol.  But, you get a pack on them and put them on the trail and we're all very happy together.  My boys love to work!  I want to get a cart and work them hauling cart loads, they would love it so much!

I've found the best way to keep my goats from testing their pen is to NEVER let them run out of food.  I personally refuse to grain them.  Every goat I've ever given any grain to has instantly started screaming because of it.  They become OBSESSED with grain.  They can think of nothing else.  And once they get a taste for it they're 100% more likely to start escaping just so they can find more.  They will readily kill themselves eating the entire grain bin, or at least come close to it.  I swear it's goat crack.  Whether it's raw barley, mixed grains, store-bought feed, or sweet feed.  Doesn't matter.  When my packing boys get a taste of it they may scream for it for about 10 days before they calm down and 'forget' about it.  I know they never really forget though.   All my non-bottle-babies spent their ENTIRE lives driven mad with longing and addiction to the grain they never got to have (except when they were naughty and broke into it, or when I tried graining my milkers).

I feed strictly grass hay and let them forage.  I've learned over the years how important it is to offer minerals.  Feed a skinny goat as much as you want, worm it as much as you can, but minerals is probably the problem.  I keep a cobalt block, a high-selenium block, and a high-copper loose mineral out for them.  It really makes a difference with their condition, their parasite load, and to an extent their disposition.  If they're lacking in a nutrient they'll, you guessed it, escape in search of it.  So meeting all of their dietary needs keeps them content staying behind the fence on my farm.  Granted they always have a couple acres to roam in any given pen.  A goat in a smaller pen may be more stir crazy.  As someone else suggested cable spools are great!  I also scored some picnic table tops and full picnic tables over the years, they make great goat playground equipment.  

Anyway.  Everyone's got their own idea of how to raise critters.  We've all got unique farms, goats, and experiences.  That's my $.02
 
Carla Burke
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Kate Downham wrote:Goats love cable spools. They climb on them and play chasings around them.



They do! I've seen them, on many farms, and in all the pics in your awesome book! Unfortunately, until I get a truck & find a source, I'm just kinda out of luck. Funny thing is, I've wanted them for years for all kinds of things, myself. 😜

 
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