The Best Fences for Boer Goats and Meat Goats
There are many different types of fences that work well for goats and not really “one” fence that you could say is the best goat fence for any circumstance. The ones we use are described and pictured here. We also show some that have worked well for other meat goat producers in our area.
It is more expensive to fence goats than it is to fence cattle. Many cattle producers would like to use meat goats to control sprouts and weeds in their cattle pastures. They can supplement their income while doing so. Cattle and goats prefer to eat different forages. One can usually add several goats per acre to a cattle pasture without decreasing the number of cows per acre, but most cattle ranchers don’t have adequate fences for goats.
Goat Fencing (built with ten strands of barb wire.) Some of our friends are successful holding goats with ten strands of barb wire. For this type of fence to work, the fence has to be straight, high tensile barb wire has to be stretched very tight, and the corners have to be well anchored and braced. This is difficult to do in rough terrain with shallow soil. The posts should be about ten feet apart with two, twist-on, fence stays between each post.
Cattle fences can easily be made goat proof by adding more strands of barb wire, but only if the original fence is straight, well built, and in good condition. This won’t however keep out any sort of predators.
Forty seven inch high field wire with openings twelve inches wide and six inches high will work on cattle fences that aren’t straight or in good condition. One may want to raise some of the original barb wire so there are two or three barb wires above the field wire. This is the type of fence we use. It is pictured at right, below.
Predator Proof Goat Fencing
The fences, mentioned so far, will not hold small kids, but small kids will not go far from their mothers. These fences will also not keep out predators.
We use an area with predator proof fences to keep the goats in at night and during kidding season. Three acres works good for up to 30 head of goats. Years ago, before we had guardian animals to protect our herd, we would close the gate on the predator proof pen overnight letting the goats out in the mornings. Sometimes we didn’t get home until late at night to close the gate.
On several such occasions, after we had gotten guardian dogs, we noticed that one of our dogs would always be positioned in the gate. So we no longer close the gate at night.
We have two gates between our small predator proof pasture and our larger main pasture. One is a small, walk-through gate, about three feet wide, which is easy to guard. It is left open all the time (except during kidding season.) The other is an eleven-foot, drive-through gate which we open only when we take a vehicle into the back pasture.
For predator proof fencing we use forty eight inch high, sheep and goat web wire with four inch by four inch mesh. Above this we put three strands of barb wire spaced three to four inches apart.
This type of fencing is very expensive. For gates we use five foot high, utility, corral panels with four inch by four inch mesh. We fasten them with harness snaps on each end. We also use this type of fencing for pastures for weaning kids and pastures for bucks that are not being used for breeding.
Don’t keep grown bucks on both sides of a fence. They will fight through the fence and destroy it. It is OK to keep several grown bucks together in the same pasture. When first put together they will fight for a short time to determine a pecking order. Then they will get along fine. Does, that haven’t been together before, will do the same when first put together.
Avoid using web wire with a six inch by six inch mesh for goats with horns. They will get their heads caught in this type of fence and get strangled or eaten by predators. A six by twelve inch mesh works fine for goats with horns. They can put their heads through this type of fenced and pull them back out again.
Electric Fencing for Meat Goats
We know many meat goat producers who are successfully using electric fences for retaining goats. We have very little experience with electric fences and currently have no need to use them. Most of our fences were built many years ago when conventional fencing was much less expensive than it is today and electric fencing was less reliable than it is today. Today electric fences are less expensive and easier to install than regular fences.
Electric fences can be made predator proof. It is also easy to make conventional fences predator proof by adding one or two electric wires. The same can be done to make cattle fences goat proof.
Portable electric fences, powered with solar energy, can easily be moved from one location to another for rotational grazing or for brush control.
There are many different electric fencing systems that work well for goats. On rocky soils it is better to use a fencing system in which the posts are placed into the ground before the wire is attached to them. In systems in which the posts are attached to the wire before the posts are placed into the ground, some of the posts will be located on rocks and be unable to get into the ground.
Some of these systems have posts with removable steel spikes that can be left off the posts that are located on rocks. An unattached post can then be placed into the ground and attached to the fence, a short distance up or down the fence from the rock.
The following two articles give helpful information on important things to avoid and important things to do when installing electric fences:
17 Mistakes To Avoid With Electric Fencing: https://www.ibiblio.org/farming-connection/grazing/features/fencemis.htm
Make A Well Grounded Fence: https://www.ibiblio.org/farming-connection/grazing/features/ground.htm
Three strands of electric poly-wire will hold most goats except young kids that are nursing, but they will not go far from their mothers.
Cattle fences can easily be made goat proof by adding one or two strands of electric poly-wire.
Four strand of electric poly-wire will hold goats well. Note how the electric wire is attached to the fiber glass step in post and to end posts.
A single strand of poly-wire is attached to the web wire fencing along the road with fiberglass insulators that hold the wire 8 to 12 inches from the web wire. This keeps the goats from rubbing against the web wire.