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The most resource efficient natural goat fence

 
Rob Irish
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Location: Estonia, Zone 5/6
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We have goats. They love finding new food. Their favourite food is things we don't want them to eat.

We built a goat paddock / fence last year using roundwood poles with 6' high metal wire fencing. This was awful to put up. I take it the metal rolls are meant to be put out by a tractor.

The goats out grew the paddock pretty quickly, and in hindsight we picked a poor spot. The world punished us with blehing sounds everytime we walked outside.

This year we're going to have to build another one, bigger and better, and I'm looking at natural methods, e.g. willow fences.

I saw a few good ideas in this video:



I thought the type where it is like multiple a-frames overlapping with the logs sitting on top (the one he does in the mini demonstration) would be the most resource efficient i.e. use the least amount of wood + time. But I don't know.

The willow style fence with the straight poles into the ground with a wall of smaller poles seems like it might be easier, although take longer. I don't think this is ideal for a goat area more for creating a wall.

We've been doing a lot of forest thinning this year so we have a lot of wood of just about every size. We want the paddock to be big enough so that the goats (11 of them) don't get bored of options.

The split rail fence I just came across as well. This actually looks like it would be the fastest (minimal amount of wood to use, simplest construction). I wouldn't split the logs personally, but I would use birch that is already this size since we have an overcrowded forest that needs thinning. I know birch doesn't last so long when wet, but the bottom ones would just rot and over time new ones added to the top. A little axe notch either end and I think it would be pretty decent.



What is your preferred fencing method?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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goats are climbers, as well as escape artists. Everyone I know that uses fences to keep their goats where they want them to be uses 2'x4' x 5' high metal wire fencing. I am building a living fence with Osage Orange trees, it will be fairly goat proof as far as them getting out and they will love to eat the leaves. I am planting these seeds 12" apart so the hedge row will be very tight in a couple of years.
 
Rob Irish
Posts: 223
Location: Estonia, Zone 5/6
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goats are amazing escape artists!

The osage orange tree fence would be awesome. What an idea
 
Sarah Yao
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Yeah, I could totally see a couple of my bucks climbing that split rail in a heart beat.
 
Kate Barnwell
Posts: 27
Location: Sunny SC, zone 8
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I've yet to see a natural fence a goat (or sheep) couldn't go through. They are nice and pretty but when you actually want to keep your animals in, 100% of the time, go with electric fencing. And you can move it everyday so your goats aren't yelling at you when you come out the door! Instead happily busy eating.
Premier fencing will always keep them in. Sometimes the one strand cheap stuff will, but if they are wooly they can go under the wire without getting shocked. But the netting will keep anything in (even crazy sheep that hurl themselves at it) www.premier1fencing.com
Another avenue you could try is doing a "pretty" natural fence and putting an electric fence on the inside, where you can't see it, if you want the best of both worlds.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Yeah, I agree with what Kate said.

There is a reason all of those old field boundaries you see are made out of stone. Rams lend their name and likeness to siege instruments for a reason.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Landon Sunrich wrote:Yeah, I agree with what Kate said.

There is a reason all of those old field boundaries you see are made out of stone. Rams lend their name and likeness to siege instruments for a reason.


I will add;

Not all electric fencing is created equal. Do not put a cheap electric fence inside a living fence. It will do nothing but short out and cost you money and possibly start a brush fire if conditions are right.

Please don't get in over your head in pasture management. Start small and get ambitious from there.

 
Geoff McPherson
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Hi,

We've had goats for years, and I think the first thing is to dispel the notion that you can build any fence that will keep a motivated goat in 100% of the time. You can keep bred females in with a single strand of electric wire sometimes, but animals that are ready to breed will wriggle under/climb over/bust through anything you can think of. My neighbor has a yearling buck who gets at the hay in a loft by getting a nice running start and scaling straight up a 12 foot wall.

All fencing has advantages and disadvantages. Natural fences look nice, can be edible, and can be cheaper. They are also more work to install and maintain. They often aren't truly barriers either, for the goats or for predators. Wire fences are more secure and last longer, but they also require more petro and chemical inputs. Horned animals can get stuck as well.

We use electric netting as others have noted above and have found it to be effective for trained animals. Nimble goats can simply jump over it or take the shock and walk through it, especially if there are members of the opposite gender within eyeshot or earshot.

Keeping the animals' nutritional and "entertainment" needs met where you want the animals to be is the key to keeping them where you want them. We find daily rotations to new areas work best.

Hope this helps.
 
Elizabeth Raven
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For my application I have found that 47" high field fencing on 10'-12' spaced pressure treated posts has been the most efficient form of fencing for my goats. I don't know that a fully natural fence could hold them in. All the fences shared in the video, while beautiful and intriguing for other applications, would not slow my goats down for a second. I also don't know how "resource efficient" they are since they require far more wood (which I do not have on site) then the post and wire variety.

I am hoping to make an efficient osage orange fence in the future, using the trench method and staking and interweaving the saplings at least 5 or 6 times to get a solid weave of stem as they develop. I imagine it will take about 6 years for the fence to be animal tight and even then, I have doubts as to its ability to contain a determined goat. Fingers crossed lol
 
jimmy gallop
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If you can throw water through it,a goat can get through it
 
Rhys Firth
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We have dairy goats who can get through deer fencing 10 feet high... with the bottom wire buried underground... they can learn to scrape with their hooves to locate the bottom wire and wiggle under if there is something they want to go and see.

Do NOT put a house near the fence.
 
Katie Brown
Posts: 3
Location: Wyoming
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The only natural goat fence that I know works happens to be a 30 foot cliff in one of my pastures.

Two words for adult goats: Cattle Panels!!
 
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