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5 acre fencing ideas for 2 horses and some goats  RSS feed

 
Madeline Carter
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Hello I'm new to this forum and really looking for some advice. My spouse and I are in the process of buying our first house in the country. It's on 5 acres of mostly pasture. There is 1 large quonset and a large pole shed on the property besides the house and garage. We move in September and hope to put up some fencing right away. Eventually we hope to have either 2 horses, 5 goats, and some chickens, or 2 mini cows, goats and chickens. We know 5 acres isn't much so we need to plan carefully.

We are small town dwellers so absolutely new to country life. We know next to nothing about homesteading and farm animals. Obviously we have a lot of learning to do. I am including an old picture of the property I found on google. I erased some buildings on the picture that are no longer there. Everything green is pasture area. The land is pretty flat.

Based on a little bit of reading I learned that fencing should accomodate for controlled grazing and a paddock? Can you look at my picture and help me figure out how we should fence the land for best grazing of the horses and goats? We hope to use the pole shed to house the animals. I'm assuming we need a coral of some sort as well?

Also the quonset is a very large building. Do people house animals in quonsets  or is it only for storage?

Thank you in advance for all your help.
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5 acres
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Madeline,
Welcome to permies. I can't believe your question is two days old and no one has answered it yet.  This is a favorite topic among many permies. 
Your new place looks like a fun project, and you have come to the right place for diverse opinions about what might work, and a huge bank of experience, plenty of mistakes may have already been made on your (and others ) behalf.

I think the quonset hut would be suitable animal shelter, out of the wind (unless it channels wind) and precip, but possibly cold for the critters... which you could mitigate, most likely, if necessary.

One thing I think is important is fencing so that you can move the animals around, giving your pasture a chance to rest and regenerate.  Continuous grazing of an area will make the quality of forage deteriorate, rotational planned grazing will improve the soil and pasture, if done correctly.  The 'doing correctly' takes some learning, but there is some forgiveness built in so that learners usually succeed in fine tuning their operation.

Greg Judy is an expert on this.  I don't have a particular talk of his to recommend, but it is a starting place.  Gabe Brown is also an expert.  I think if you start by understanding the soil's and plants' needs and how to address them with multi species "strategic" or "planned" grazing you will have a better idea about where to put your fences.

There are portable electric fences which help with this project.  One supplier of them is Premier 1, I use their products but there may be various others.

If you are totally new to this, you might also want to study up on the "soil food web".  Elaine Ingham is a great source, if you can find her speaking about it.  It is a topic just coming to the surface and there are likely secveral resources on it.

Steve Solomon's book The Intelligent Gardener will dispel the idea that any one theory is right for every soil.

Another topic to get you started: consider where you might want to have trees and shrubbery -- a guild or two-- out in the "pasture".  They will provide shade and shelter, even if the animals are fenced out of them.  (see silvopasture).  Thickets or copses amid pasture provide habitat for songbirds and many insects.  Birds and insects, and diversity of all kinds are your friends and helpers.  And if there are any unsightly things on neighboring properties or within your field of view, you can hide them with your thickets.  Strategically placed thickets also break up the wind if that is a consideration for you.

I'm sure there will be plenty of others chiming in.

Good luck with your project and keep us posted.
 
Terry Darwin
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Just make sure that you have a strong perimeter fence, so if/when any animals you get escape from their pasture, they are still on your property. Goats are known escape artists so do a bit of research on installing a goat safe fence. Always plan your fences based on the worst traits of the animal that it will hold- horse safe, bull strong, goat proof.
Sense the buildings are already in place on your property, plan your paddocks around them so as you rotate through each paddock the animals still have access to shade/shelter/water/hay. My current set up has three small pastures and a large paddock where the shelter and water are. Each pasture opens into it, so all I need to do is switch gates when the grass needs a break.
I hope this helps! Enjoy your new world- sometimes it is easy to get frustrated when projects take longer than you think they should, so make sure to step back and breathe in the awesomeness of what you have done so far and keep the long term plan in mind!
 
Joshua Parke
Posts: 117
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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You could look into the paddock paradise by Jamie Jackson for your horses.  I had learned about it years ago and at some point as I was looking it up, I had learned that just allowing the horse to wander around on the property will encourage them to move more than the paddock paradise setup.  As I recall, it was 40 acres where they "tested" this out and learned that horses move more if just allowed to roam around.  BUT, the beauty of the paddock paradise is that the horse has a constant track they can move on and you have multiple paddocks to do rotational grazing with.  The technique is something I'm going to use to experiment with as a fire barrier around my property.  The track goes around the property perimeter, and I'll lock them in the track so they will eat all the grass along the perimeter and create a bit of a fire break.

The suggestion about getting the proper fence for the animal.....for horses I'll say that I've been happy with HorseGuardFence.  They're online.  I went with the bi-polar fencing...the one that doesn't require a ground rod, because in my area the ground is quite dry.  And choose brown fence for your horses.  They see brown much better than white.  I think that study is in an article on their website somewhere.

Testimony to the horse guard fence. I brought home an arab filly a couple months ago.  She was pawing the ground with her front legs near the fence for the first few days as she was settling into her new home. She got her leg over one of the fencing strands, and pulled back as any green horse would, but not a single scratch to her.  "I had to tighten the fence up, afterwards."  But if that was an actual wire fence of any kind, it likely would of cut the buhjeesus outta her hoof between the fetlock and coronet band.  I sure like how forgiving the horse guard fencing is.
 
Jane Reed
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Location: Fair Play, Northetn California
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I have no experience whatever in creating paddocks but for years I have read about the experience of others and problems they encounter.

One thing that stands out to me is the need for a way to get your large animals into a small corral with a shute.  From time to time you will have to move a horse or cow off your property. Perhaps one will be sold, perhaps one will have to be taken to the vet. Perhaps the vet will come to you and require a very small space, like a loading shute in which to examine or treat the animal.

You are asking for trouble if you think you can doctor an injured animal by expecting it to stand still in the middle of a pasture, at the end of a halter.  Your own safety as well as that of the animal requires the animal have no space to make any movements that could lead to harm.

This calls to mind that woman who designs spaces for animals.  I've forgotten her name, she is autistic, and is an expert in large animal behavior. Someone chime in here with her name.  Reading a bit of her stuff or watching a YouTube vid will give you a notion of something you can build for yourself.

 
Bernard Welm
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Location: Minnesota
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The long term solution I would suggest is setting up a GOOD perimeter fence around your property. Now since you are thinking about getting goats this means an even better fence. What I have done is purchase "woven wire fence" (get something close to 48 inches or as tall as you can) which is EXPENSVIE it is the most expensive type of fence you can purchase but it is also the strongest and a PHYSICAL barrier. But since goats can be hard on the fence and can (depending on temperament) try to get over/around the fence you should also add in some high tensile electrical fencing. Depending on the temperament of the goats you will need between 1 and 3 strands. In any case you would want one strand 6 inches above the woven wire fence. Then if the goats are pushing against the fence you would add one or two wires (on longer insulators) on the INSIDE of the fence one at eye height and the other at mid to lower body height. These extra wires would keep the goat a bit further away from the fence.

An additional benefit to the woven wire fence (if you get a fence that starts out with horizontal wires that are close together) is that it can help keep your chickens in your property.

Now this all just gets you the perimeter fence. In addition you will need to create paddocks as the other people mentioned. The paddocks can be done in many ways. The quickest/cheapest would be to use high tensile wire to split areas off (for goats you would need at least 4 wires for this). Paddocks would go where ever you have natural breaks in your property. So that is more dependent on what you have going on or planning on doing.

I hope this helps you.
 
Kevin Young
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Jane Reed wrote:
This calls to mind that woman who designs spaces for animals.  I've forgotten her name, she is autistic, and is an expert in large animal behavior. Someone chime in here with her name.  Reading a bit of her stuff or watching a YouTube vid will give you a notion of something you can build for yourself.

Temple Grandin is who you are thinking of.

I agree with the post that says to learn first about the health of the soil. Support the soil, which will support the plants, which will support the animals, which can in turn support the soil. Just choosing the animals carelessly risks hurting the plants and damaging the soil. If it were me I would start with just chickens or just mini cows and chickens, since to me the dynamics of working with them, moving them, etc seem easier. You could try using the Quonset hut as a "raken house."



Congratulations on getting such a lovely farm!!
 
Kevin Young
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Sorry, here is a better video about housing chickens and rabbits together. I don't know why the title of the other one included the "raken" (rabbit/chicken house) in the title but hardly discussed it.
 
Thomas Vincent
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Welcome to the forum and congratulations. Four years ago my wife and I embarked on a similar adventure. We now have two horses, six ducks, six chickens and a very laid back dog. So I feel well equipped to address your question.

Some general stuff first:

Generally speaking, all fencing tends to be
a. Direction specific
b. Animal specific

That is to say, a. Fences are usually geared either to keeping a given animal in, and/ or, keeping another animal out. And b. In my experience Fencing that works for one animal often doesn't work as well for others.

Case in point. First thing we did when we got our property was to put up an electric perimeter fence.Three strand Electrobraid with a solar charger. Works well to keep the horses in, but doesn't come close to keeping out deer or coyotes. So I put up a seven foot plastic deer fence around my garden and a secondary fence around the chicken yard. It took the bunnies about five minutes to chew a hole through the deer fence and a hungry eagle swooped down and mangled one of my helpless hens.

I think you see where I'm going with this. Definitely do your due diligence, just be aware that every time you add an animal to the menagerie, you will likely need a different fencing infrastructure to keep them in and to keep the things that want to eat them, out.

Lastly let me say that if you can swing it, track paddocks are a real boon for giving horses a chance to move around without being on grass all day. We put in a perimeter track paddock and the horses use it all day.

Best of luck on your new adventure!
 
Madeline Carter
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Wow all your replies have been so informative. I really thank you. I've been taking notes and reading more on all these subjects. I have a couple of more questions I hope you can help me with.
I looked up track paddocks and they seem like a great idea especially for small acreages like we'll have.

1. Do goats benefit from a track paddock too or only horses? Cows?

2. Does the woven fencing appropriate for goats also work as perimeter fences for horses? Since we plan to have both Animals in the pasture I'd love a fence that would keep both in.

3. Could I do a perimeter fence now for goats and add a track paddock later when we get horses? Would it be a difficult thing to accomplish?

4. Anyone with children do the electric fencing? I have 4 kids but the youngest are 2 and 4. I don't expect to leave them completely unattended but should one wander to the fence while I'm not looking I'm worried of the danger it may pose to children? We'll teach them that they are not to touch the fence but as kids tend to do; sometimes they don't listen. Any advice?

Thanks again!

 
Thomas Vincent
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I really don't have any experience with goats so I'm hesitant to comment. The purpose of a track paddock is to give hoofed animals the ability to move around during the day to get exercise and thus stay healthier than if they were kept in a small enclosure so I imagine it would be good for goats as well as well. The reason we opted for the track paddock was because our two horses are both on low sugar diets. They can't be on grass for more than a half hour a day with a muzzle on. Thus a track paddock with gravel, sand and dirt is a way for them to move around freely without being on pasture. What little I do know about goats is that they can eat pretty much anything, so a track paddock might be superfluous?

I also don't have any experience with woven wire fencing except that it is hugely expensive. Again, we opted for electric fence - actually a combination of electrobraid and horse guard - because it was inexpensive and easy to put up. Horse guard in particular is super simple. Lotsa labor but you don't need much skill.

I'm sure you could do a perimeter fence for goats and make it into a track paddock later, but woven wire fencing five acres might be a tad pricey. Others can probably comment more on this.

As for electric fences and kids, our son is 34 and an attorney in California. If he touched the fence we might get sued I guess. 🙄
Seriously, electric horse fencing is pretty serious. It is set up to pulse electricity and give a horse enough of a jolt that they learn not to touch it again. I have touched a live fence more than once and while the shock is painful enough to make me drop an f bomb it definitely is not enough of a shock to permenantly harm you. That being said, the section of electrobraid surrounding the pasture that lies between us and the neighbors with small children remains disconnected. I like my neighbors. 🙂 their two year old daughter is a sweetie and her mom bakes really good pies!

Hope all this helps.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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2. Does the woven fencing appropriate for goats also work as perimeter fences for horses? Since we plan to have both Animals in the pasture I'd love a fence that would keep both in.
------ what I consider "horse fence" is  woven wire with 2 inch by 4 inch rectangles for the openings (taller in the vertical direction) and 5 feet high.  This is what I have used for perimeter fence on my property and for my goats secure pen.  When I leave the goats in someone else's care for a a day or more, I want the goats in something secure.  I don't want to ask the helper to set electric fence,they may not do a good enough job, the goats may get out,  they may look at the remaining vegetation and decide the goats don't need to be moved.  I rely on this horse fence for any time I need to be sure of their security.

4. Anyone with children do the electric fencing? I have 4 kids but the youngest are 2 and 4. I don't expect to leave them completely unattended but should one wander to the fence while I'm not looking I'm worried of the danger it may pose to children? We'll teach them that they are not to touch the fence but as kids tend to do; sometimes they don't listen. Any advice?

------ I use portable electric mesh fencing with a solar charger.   You may not have 'Premier1'  products in New Zealand, but you can look and see the type of products they make.  They have a note on their website that one time a child died -- ~2year old got his head stuck in the opening (and I think it was the opening size that was the lethal element, rather than the shock).  My experience with visiting children has been that they only need to touch it once to decide they want to leave it alone. 

I tell them I don't like to get shocked and avoid it if I can.  If they are curious or don't believe me, or disrupt any and all conversations by going too close to the fence putting their finger out (looking at their parent to see if their parent is watching), I tell them they should touch it and see if they like it or want to touch it again, and then make their own decision.  The level of shock is not lethal, it's just uncomfortable, therefore IMO, a decision they can live with the consequences of, and may be allowed to make.

Hope this helps
 
J. Adams
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Great replies here already, I'll just add:

1. We could not keep our ponies in with solar electric fence. They took advantage of any tiny, brief moment where undetected vegetation drained too much energy from the fenceline. Many people have had great luck keeping all kinds of animals in with it... I think we just had naughty ponies. But some animals tend to remember a shock once and never challenge a fence line again. Ours would challenge it each day until they found an opportunity.

2. As a child growing up around electric fences, I hated them and they scared me. But I did learn to respect them.

3. If you're going to use field fencing of any kind, you might want to look into the no-climb field fencing meant to keep goats, horses, etc. from getting a hold with their feet and pushing the fences over, and then down.
 
Ian Pringle
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Location: Central VA
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Few thoughts, sort of jumbled... I own two horses and a pony, and we keep a third pony that is someone elses. I also work on a farm that has 10 horses, 6 goats, 2 sheep, 4 mini cows, and other stuff. My wife now manages our horses and uses them for lessons in addition to being a farrier but she used to train horses on a 50+ horse farm.

1. A fence for a horse and a fence for a goat are two different things. A horse fence is all about strength and psyching the animal out so they do not believe they can get through it. In reality, you are not going to build a horse-proof fence. I own and ride horses and besides some of the TOP tier thorough bred stables I've visited in KY, I have never seen a horse fence that was truly horse-proof. What I mean by this is that a health adult horse will be able to jump over any fence you build. The key is that the horse has to have that desire and they generally are very anti-jumping. I wouldn't even bring this up, but 5a is a bit small for a horse and if they get spooked, say a dog gives chase, they don't have enough land to just run out the terror and they could jump. My wife had a client who had a similar sized pasture for three horses and the horse jumped the fence.

2. For horses you just need a two or three board fence constructed with poles sticking 5' out of the ground every 8'. Goats will laugh at such a fence. A goat probably needs welded or woven wire, which would work for a horse, but unless you get it professionally installed a horse can just go through it if they so desire.

3. Probably need two levels of fencing. A traditional 2 or 3 board fence on the perimeter of the property with woven/welded wire on the OUTSIDE of that fence, ie facing away from your property. It's ugly but a horse could pull woven/welded wire out of a fence simply because it is BORED (highly likely on such little land). And then the goat will capitalize on the boredom of the horse. The second level of fencing would be electric and this would be for the goats.

What I'd do is keep the property fenced as I said in point 3. Then get two full sets of electric fencing. One for horses and one for goats. In addition to this get a few extra runs of this fence for easier pasture rotation. Rotate the horses through the pasture FIRST and then move them out, wait one rotation, and move the goats IN. Here's why: horses are ALWAYS the first to get into a pasture because they eat grass to the dirt. You don't want them to do this so you put them on the freshest grass so that they don't kill your grass. If you had cattle and or sheep I would keep them exactly behind the horses. But since you have goats I'd wait a week. In absence of that grass your weeds are going to sprout up and goats will devour the weeds that horses will simply not touch. By waiting that week you are allowing the goats to get some fresh weeds plus giving the grass a chance to recover because goats are also very destructive grazers, but out of boredom as opposed to horses which are out of hunger. I'd also get chickens and keep them with the goats. Goats, as opposed to pigs, won't kill the chickens so the chickens are safe. The chickens will pull apart the horse manure and eat the bugs in it plus spread it all around. This saves you the effort of going and dragging your pasture every week to pick up the manure so that the grass doesn't get burned.

Last thought: no matter how cute, how much your SO begs, or how much your child pleads, DO NOT GET A PONY until you have spent a few years with horses. Horses are easy going and lazy. They are happy to sit in a fenced in pasture and eat grass and hay. Ponies WILL try to escape. They WILL figure out how the gates open. They WILL figure out, like someone else said, when the fence isn't as electrified and exploit that. Ponies are hard work and temperamental to boot. Start on horses and if you like them, in a few years get an easy going shetland that has been sitting in someone's backyard for the last few years. I'm serious, when my wife worked on the horse farm she'd regularly have to go catch pony escapees. Never a horse, even the one time some client came to visit and left the gate open all night. The horses stayed in the pasture, only the ponies left.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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My experience with horses is so different from Ian's, that I had to go look again to see if I misread it.  Ian, I wonder if your observations are related to the breeds you are most familiar with, as are mine.   It brings us back to the idea that solutions are specific to the situation, including the horses we know.  We had horses and ponies when I was a child, and the ponies were pretty well behaved and respected the fence as much as the horses, even the shetland stallion.

And I wonder if you noticed the OP is a female.  Maybe the exhortation needs to read no matter how much your husband begs (or threatens? or how strongly he decrees, commands?)  .....

Ian Pringle wrote:

Last thought: no matter how cute, how much your wife begs, or how much your child pleads, DO NOT GET A PONY until you have spent a few years with horses. Horses are easy going and lazy. .
 
Bernie Farmer
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I have 11 goats on 5 1/2 acres. We have the woven goat fence 48" around the perimeter and dividing paddocks. Electric fencing does not work with goats at all. They learn to get around it or they are immune to it...haven't figured it out. We had 3 different goats who would just flop right over there top of a fence electrified and all. The only thing we've found that works is to run wood posts with a top rail and attach the woven fencing to the top rail, make sure to stretch the fence well, too, and stake the bottom edges. If they can't get over they will try to go under.

All that said if you manage paddocks well (we have 3) the goats won't even try to get out so electric fencing is way over the top in our experience. Since you don't even have the animals yet I'd just run a perimeter fence and one around what will be all the paddocks. You can divide the space later as you add to your herd. Just realize that most goats don't graze like cows on grass. They like trees and brush to eat. Also they don't like to be out in the open or where the wind blows on them. But they also freak out if they are totally shut in a barn. A 3 sided shed is best though a barn with open doors works too.

Main thing to remember is if you think you've built it strong enough, amp it up a few more notches. Goats are tough on everything...feed buckets, water troughs, doors, gates, fencing panels, and sometimes even our patience.
 
Ian Pringle
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Bernie Farmer wrote:Electric fencing does not work with goats at all. They learn to get around it or they are immune to it...haven't figured it out.


Yeah they definitely require work, but electric can work for most situations. I volunteer at a non-profit community farm and they keep their goats in woven wire usually and then have electric fencing and electric netting for pastures. The trick is it needs to be 4' tall, and if it is fencing then 6 wires spaced evenly apart and stretched tight. With netting it actually works a lot better in my experience because it freaks them out after the first time they get tangled in it and they don't even try to touch it again. Either way you want that thing at 5k volts minimum because a goat's coat prevents them from feeling the shock so it needs to be high, also they are just horribly stubborn creatures.

Thekla,

That's interesting. I've never met someone who found ponies to be as easy to manage as a horse. When we just had horses we had a nice, simple gate with a nice, simple latch. We got a pony and within a week he got out after figuring out how the latch works. So now we latch and chain the gate. He's also got into the feed room, tack room, let one of the horses out of the stall, and tipped the water trough over.

The ones where my wife worked would get horses separated from the herd and then beat them up. They would also find tied up horses in the stables and beat them up to. But I guess you guys lucked out with some good ponies.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Ian, I guess you are right about the pony.  If I had an unusual experience, how would I have known?   Also, having grown up in the west, there was not much of a hunt or jumping crowd, more "western pleasure" riding,or gathering cattle.  The horses did not jump fences, or anything else...

And I agree with you about electric fencing for goats.  They need to encounter it at high voltage.  I try for 8k when a new goat is going to encounter the mesh for the first time, or when I am letting kids into a netted electric fence for the first time.  Then I watch and wait to see them encounter it, some of them take two or three tries, before they quit.  After that I know they'll stay inside.

Except for this:   you can't fence a hungry goat.  They are not going to starve to death because a little electric fence stands between them and life.

The first goat I ever had went over a 5 foot horse fence (woven wire 2x4 inch spaces).  And she was a nigerian dwarf.  I sold her.  Also bought a nice doeling who had no respect for the electric fence. For some reason she took a fancy to me, and would run through and break down the portable electric fencing when ever she saw me outside.  I took her back to the seller because IMO if you get a behavior like that in the flock there is no ending it.

So, with so many things, what fence will keep goats or horses in depends on the individual human(s) and their systems and habits, as well as the individual animals and their flock/herd culture history habits and shared experience.
 
Madeline Carter
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Wow with all these responses you're really making me rethink the goat idea. We'd really like some milk but we don't have enough land for a cow. Any advice? Would it be better to get sheep for sheep milk?
 
Ian Pringle
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Location: Central VA
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:The first goat I ever had went over a 5 foot horse fence (woven wire 2x4 inch spaces).  And she was a nigerian dwarf.  I sold her.  Also bought a nice doeling who had no respect for the electric fence. For some reason she took a fancy to me, and would run through and break down the portable electric fencing when ever she saw me outside.  I took her back to the seller because if you get a behavior like that in the flock there is no ending it.


Just wanted to highlight and commend you on this! Ill behaved or undesirable behavior in one animal ought to be dealt with before it transfers to the whole herd. If our trouble pony was more malicious rather than just curious and if he weren't an investment (he's being trained in order to sell) I'd have him removed from the herd, especially because the only other pony is much better behaved.

Just this morning one of our 16 week old roosters was chasing another rooster and attacking him. The aggressive one is due for the menu next week because I will not tolerate an animal which is interested in attacking another of my animals (even if the other is a rooster, I have put 16 weeks of food into their bellies and I expect to get my investment back when I want, not when another rooster decides to end its life).

Madeline,

A Dexter could live on 5 acres. Probably more than enough milk for a single family, so maybe a Dexter and a horse. You want to give the cow a friend. If you only have a horse that horse will herd with the cow, but if you have two horses then the horses will not treat the cow too well. A horse, maybe a quarter horse, and a Dexter cow would do just fine on 5 acres. But you will need to bring in much of their grass requirements as 5 acres probably won't be enough pasture (since part of that has a house, a drive way, a yard, a garden, etc. it's even less than 5a). But if you are willing to bring in hay you should be fine!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Madeline, you could succeed with the goat.  You might need a local goat mentor to help you find one that is right for you. Goats are not impossible but they do require some attention, some observation and some problem solving skills.   I agree on the idea of a Dexter, but what ever the species you decide upon, you are going to face these same issues, and are going to encounter the situations that cause people to cull.

When I have a goat that is not working out, even if for no other reason than I do not like her, I try to see the behavior or trait as a neutral attribute, then I try to think of what the situation would be, in which that behavior will not be problematic, and when I am selling the animal I try to find that situation for them.

I once thought a doe had NO REDEEMING VALUE.   I advertised her as such, appropriate on ly for slaughter or companion animal.  She was sold for slaughter and that buyer was a no show, the back up buyer was a woman who kept milk goats.  She bought the goat and took her home and milked her.  I saw the owner at the county fair the next year, and they LOVED her, thought she was perfect.

It's a good idea to be ready for this personality thing in what ever animals you bring to your place.  It takes some adjusting to get things right, as the animals are not like dimension lumber and any 2x4 the right length will fit your needs.  They are animals who have been living in association with humans for eons, and the individuals you bring home will have their quirks and the social dynamics of the group they have been living with -- both animal and human.  Even flavor of the milk in a lactating animal depends on the individual.  Flavor and character of milk is something that is  related to breed and ALSO to individual,  Flavor of the milk runs in the family, like eye color and hair color in humans. 
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Posts: 1826
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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One more thought:

When ever I lose a crop-- as in the apricots are lost to early bloom and late killing frost,
When the predators take all my chickens
When the bear scatters my goats and I lose half

I say to myself "I am a real farmer now".

Farming is an interactive pursuit where we try to fit our endeavors with circumstances that are entirely out of our control, we try to understand the variables, we hope for luck and inspiration, and we give it our best shot.   And sometimes we don't get something we recognize as success, sometimes it's a learning deficit in ourselves, something we don't quite understand yet, and many times it has nothing to do with us, our management practices, our skill levels, our anything.

So, I just figure when I face a loss, that I am one with the millions of farmers in the history of humanity who have lost something, or the harvest did not come out as expected.  Which just makes me a "real farmer".
 
Bernard Welm
Posts: 80
Location: Minnesota
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As Thekla said you can still raise goats.

I have some really mild mannered goats, they don't really try to get out of the fence (and I have a poor quality fence even in comparison to what I told you to get). I am sure it is just their temperament.

My fence ended up being (Interior so it is not too risky) about 20 inches high of 2"x4" fence and then 2 1/2 electric wires (there are 3 wires but 2 of them cross at a point and are close to the height of the fencing at the bottom). This was all that I had when I expanded the pasture/made a single/main paddock for the goats. I think I have seen a (baby) goat on the other side of the fence 3 times in the 3 years I have had this fence in place. I definitely wish I had a much better fence but it is what I have right now. The goats get about an acre of grass to graze on, the chickens generally stay in the fence (I really don't like the bard rocks because they travel all over my property) and the cows we borrow eat the grass on the other side of the fence.

I currently have 2 milking does (one in milk), 1 buck, 1 castrated buck, and 2 babies. We get about 1/2 a gallon of milk every day from the one doe, the babies likely get about a gallon a day from her as well - I separated one of the babies last week and got about a half gallon from one teat. The boy goats are separated from the rest by some cattle panels (held together by rope - I suggest using wire). They get out once and a while but generally stay in their (small) area. Their area is inside of the larger paddock described above, this is not ideal but it is what I have to work with right now. The chickens have their winter coop inside the larger paddock as well. All the animals have access to the barn for food, shelter, and water.

So as we all are saying you can do goats, just make sure the perimeter fencing is as good as you possibly can make it as they can test it. Also find some goats that are mild in manor so you can work with them easier.
 
Bernie Farmer
Posts: 17
Location: On a Farm
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Yeah, goats are great to have. Of my 11 only the 2 Billy goats even try to get out. The does and castrated boys will stand at the open gate and yell at us as if telling us the gate is open. Lol. And we have never had an electric fence in 8 years of keeping goats.

Of course we had one Billy who we named Houdini because he could open locked gate with his lips. He was forever opening the chicken yard and letting them out so that he could eat their grain.

My two does who are not nursing anymore give me 1 1/2 gallons a day. One is an alpine, the other is half alpine half Boer. Best crosses we've ever had. Very mild mannered.
 
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