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Fencing a jumping goat...

 
Tiffani Wilson
Posts: 24
Location: Woods of Northern Indiana
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We have three Nigerian Dwarf goats and have been running them through our woods clearing the extra brush. They were doing well at first, but once we got the third goat we started to have trouble with fencing. We have Premier electronet poultry fencing. First we tried the 42" and she jumped it with no trouble, then we bought the 48" version and it took her longer but now she is jumping that too - and as an extra bonus has taught one of the other goats to jump it too.

Anyhow, their permanent corral with their shelters is made of cattle panels (50" tall I believe) and has kept them in. We have been trying to figure out how to get these goats back in the brush eating (the reason we got them!). We would rather not tether and we are still in the midst of cleaning up and changing an overgrown woods into a place that grows food (nuts, berries etc) and feeds animals (silvopasture) so permanent electric fences are not an option this year as we have had to get some equipment back there to dig a pond etc. I was reading on here about fastening four cattle panels together with snap clips (not sure what those are) to make a moveable pasture and that is what we are currently thinking of trying. If that doesn't work I'm not sure what we will do!! I'm so jealous of geoff lawton's video with his Boer's happily clearing his woods, surrounded by electronet and looking as if they'd never jumped a day in their life. My husband would like to get rid of the jumper, but she is our best milker so I'm hesitant to pursue that option just yet...

We are very new to permaculture, trying to learn as we go (and going rather slowly) so this may be a newbie question... but all the same, we appreciate any wisdom you can pass along! Thanks!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Snap clip http://smile.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_kk_2?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Asnap+hook&keywords=snap+hook&ie=UTF8&qid=1434156211

Four cattle panels are a small area for three goats, you may need to move them quite often. You can get 60" tall panels with 4" holes, they are the best. You can get some with even smaller holes, but they are really heavy. Still easier than dealing with electric mesh IMO. I hate moving that stuff. I use it around the garden and places I want to keep things OUT all season.

 
Tiffani Wilson
Posts: 24
Location: Woods of Northern Indiana
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Thanks for the reply! Yes, it would be a small area and would probably need to be moved daily. Our 164' electronet lasts 4-7 days before we need to move them (depending on the area they are in) and I would've suspected that maybe their favorite plants were gone and they were jumping for that reason, BUT the last time we moved the pen it was in a place that they would go snack when they had previously gotten out and they weren't there 5 minutes before escaping. We haven't moved forward on the cattle panel idea just because my husband isn't sold on the idea yet - mostly because they are so troublesome to move. However, I'm thinking that four big panels would be better than carefully gathering up the mesh (in the woods it is a pain!), staking it all out, pulling up and whacking the weeds that touch, going around and adjusting to make everything tight and then testing the electric only to have them jump out!

I haven't seen the 60" tall ones. The ones we get at TSC or Big R are 50" tall. That's good to know if I need to find some! And thanks for the snap clip link. I had been looking at the caribiner type clips (only the ones at lowes that are used with chains and are heavier duty) so it was a relief to know I was thinking in the right direction!
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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http://t.tractorsupply.com/en/store/utility-panel-5-ft-x-16-ft

They call the ones with 2x4 grid "horse panels" they are awesome as a permanent pen for goats (no getting heads stuck), but are heavy and awkward to move.
http://t.tractorsupply.com/en/store/horse-fence-panel-5-ft-x-16-ft
 
Laurel Robertson
Posts: 4
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I've had success using metal binder clips for holding cattle panels together for temporary fencing. They're quick to connect and hold the panels together firmly. They do rust after a while in the field - but they're not expensive to replace and are recyclable.
 
Deborah Niemann
Posts: 72
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Hi Tiffani,

We're neighbors! I'm in Illinois! It was so funny to hear you mention Big R, as they are not a national chain.

Using four cattle panels or combination livestock panels does work. Years ago, someone bought four NDs from me, and that's what she uses because they only have a couple of acres. She said she has to move them every day or two, but she can do it by herself. Her goats have nothing but grass though, so yours might last longer if you have brush for then to eat through. Here's a pic of her set-up: http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/forum/topics/movable-pens

Jumping does tend to be a problem with only some goats. I have one doe line that has had a few jumpers. Otherwise, it's only bucks who jump when there's a doe they want.

You said you have poultry netting, which may be part of the problem. It sags a lot because it has vertical strings instead of plastic struts. We have only used the ElectroNet, and we've never had a ND doe that jumped it, but we did have a la mancha that would jump it.
 
Tiffani Wilson
Posts: 24
Location: Woods of Northern Indiana
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Thanks so much for the reply, Deborah! Very helpful!

You are right we DO have trouble with the poultrynet sagging. It takes careful staking to help with that. I did not realize the difference between that and the electronet. I bought the poultry net because the lady who sold us our sheep (and told us about the electronet) had a lamb die because it got caught in the net and was shocked to death. We also have chickens that we are pasturing so I thought with those reasons together the poultry net was the one to get (smaller holes so babies wouldn't get caught). However, you are right the sagging is definitely a problem! Now that I think about it, if we had just made sure the kids were trained to the shock that would be a non-issue. Once our little doe tested it with her mouth she never bothered it again.

I finally figured out that they will #1 almost always pick the same place to jump over and #2 don't mind getting shocked in order to knock the fence down a bit into jumping height. They always seem to pick the portion of the fence that is closest to the trail pointing towards the house. They don't seem to like jumping over into brush. So that helped me come up with a plan today... We had tried the stock panels and they figured out a way to get out. So before I revisited that one I decided to try putting several of the black posts along the panel they like to jump. At first it was working. She jumped several times and couldn't make it. The fence would be a little saggy by then so I would fix it and keep watching. Finally, I stopped watching and came in. I was JUST sitting down to reply here when I heard the familiar "goats are out" call. I went to check and when I saw the non- jumper out and heard a cry sprinted to the fence where I found my young jumper completely tangled. I got the electric off and untangled her and was in a dilemma of what to do. She was pretty scared and panting, but after comforting her and giving her lots of pets and love she seemed back to normal. I decided to put them back in, reinforce everything and sit and watch. So we did... for a long long time. Now I just check every 5-10 minutes. Yes, I guess I'm paranoid! I don't want to do this everyday - and can't, but am hoping that that scared her enough to not try again. So far she hasn't tried to jump.

The thing that bothers me is that they were so content to just munch away until we bought the jumper goat. Now they pace the fence like that's all they can think about is escaping. I wonder if they will ever settle back down again...
 
Deborah Niemann
Posts: 72
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It's really important to introduce kids to Electronet when you have an hour or so to hang out with them. Generally kids will only get shocked once, and they won't go near it again. But it's important for you to be there to rescue them in case they get stuck. It is also good because if you see one about to go through the fence you can wave your hand in front of their face to slow them down, and then hopefully they'll just get shocked without actually going through the fence. That's the best case scenario.

I actually think kids can get far more tangled in the poultry netting because of those vertical strings. The plastic struts don't bend much.

Another thing worth mentioning is that bottle kids are much worse on fencing than dam-raised. When kids are raised by mom, they have a great herd instinct and unless they're starving, they stay in the pasture with the herd. Bottle babies think YOU are their herd, so they will test fencing far more than their dam-raised counterparts because they want to be with you.
 
Tiffani Wilson
Posts: 24
Location: Woods of Northern Indiana
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Hmmmm... That is good to know! Our baby is dam raised. That probably explains why she only tested it once. I'm glad to know all of that about the kids. I SO wish we had electronet!! Ha! At least we know now. Thanks so much!
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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as someone who has dealt with crazy goats for many years this is my point of view... don't keep jumpers that you cant get to stay in the fence within a month. they will teach the other goats and soon you will be chasing a herd instead of a goat. we had standard dairy goats and I can tell you from my own eyes that goats can and will jump things VERY HIGH. our fence varied from 5ft to 9ft tall. the 5ft was only where it was very steep and the goats couldn't get a run start or anything to jump that section. and we still had issues when the goats got board that one goat will work down a section of fence and hold it down while the whole herd jumps over and then herself jump out.
I have seen with my own eyes a dairy goat jump a 7ft fence with almost no head start and barely touched the top of the fence.

not only is it a problem for the owners and neighbors if the goats eat their yard/garden. but any does that are in milk can rip open their udder on fencing. been there and done that with milking does several times. it is not a fun time milkin out a goat who has a 5 inch gash down her udder and teat!

so, my opinion is to try and train them to the electric by walking them up to it and making them get shocked. do it several times. if it/they get out then put em back in and make em go up and get shocked by the fence again. I know it sounds terrible but goats are very stubborn and extremely stupid and extremely smart. they need the lesson very hard way to learn it once they start with that.
 
Tiffani Wilson
Posts: 24
Location: Woods of Northern Indiana
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Thanks Kadence. That's kind of what I've been wondering. This new goat has taught a younger goat to jump who previously never showed any signs of even wanting to get out. She is also a bully and hogs all the hay and will sometimes charge the other goats for no apparent reason. We've had her for just over a month now and, while we are thankful for the extra milk it's such a pain to keep trying to find new fencing ideas. I kept thinking... well when they get their chain of command in order, things will settle down, but she has had a month and hasn't settled down. She has gradually become more friendly with us though. Ironically her name is Sweet P - ha!

So for now, she just doesn't get to go out on temp fencing. I don't want to take any more chances of her teaching her wily ways to anyone else. My husband wishes we had not bought her and would like to sell her, but I'm the one who keeps thinking we can reform her or work around her naughty habits. The previous owner told us that when she bought her the previous owners had her and another seven or so goats staked out and she was in very poor condition, skin and bones. She is definitely a healthy girl now (if athletic jumping ability, girth and head butts are any indication of health, lol). So I guess I feel sorry for her because she was mistreated and have been trying to gain her trust. I just also feel bad for the other goats who have to put up with her ill temper towards them. One plus is that when the others are out in the woods she seems to be just fine and content by herself!
 
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