Planning a Permaculture Goat Sanctuary

These are some of our notes in preparing to construct the most ideal goat sanctuary using permaculture design. The goal of this sanctuary is to provide the goats the happiest healthiest life possible, while at the same time reducing the amount of management through proper planning and strategy. This is not a comprehensive guide, if you have any personal experience, advice, or corrections you’d like to point out we would love to hear what you have to share! Permaculture is all about using as much information as you can to make decisions that benefit you for a long time to come so we have more research to do!


Coffee is probably not for goats.


An area with diverse conditions is ideal, with a more densely forested section, and a more open sunny field. This will give the goats a wider range of plants to forage, as well as provide shade for varying temperatures for the goats comfort. There should be enough room for them to comfortably roam with the protected space.

Happy goats are less likely to attempt an escape. As long as there is ample and diverse foods that they like they are less likely seek food outside the fence. Rotating more frequently or planting more forage plants can save on time chasing down escaped goats.

Ideal Plants for Fodder

(These plants were selected for Zone 7, in NW Arkansas)

Nitrogen Fixing
Storage for Overwintering 
Attracts Pollinators

Self-seeding Annuals

  • Red-clover – leaves, and flowers
  • Amaranth – leaves, stalks, and seeds
  • Yellow Dock – leaves, stalks, and seeds (in moderation)
  • Buckwheat – leaves and seeds
  • Lambsquarters – leaves, stalks
  • Thistles – leaves, stalks, flowers
  • Alfalfa – Leaves, seeds


  • Maximillian Sunflowers – leaves, root tubers, and flowers
  • Sunchokes – leaves, root tubers, and flowers
  • Rosa rugosa – leaves, flowers, and rose hips
  • Lilac – leaves and flowers
  • Blackberries – brambling, leaves, vines, flowers, and fruits (plant around established fruit trees to protect them from hard grazing)
  • Siberian Pea-shrub – leaves, flowers, seeds 


  • Black Locust – leaves, bark, and flowers, coppices well
  • Honey Locust – leaves, bark, and flowers, coppices well
  • Willow – 13% leaf protein, coppices well, easily grown from cuttings
  • Apple – leaves, twigs, fruit, flowers; a good use for crab-apple varieties
  • Poplar – fast growing, 17% leaf protein, coppices well
  • Tagasaste – Leaves, Flowers, seeds high protein
  • Loquat – leaves, twigs, fruit
  • Seaberry – leaves, fruits, twigs


  1. Additional seeds and tree saplings
  2. Permanent Secure fencing for main grazing area
  3. Portable Electric Fencing for short grazing rotations
  4. Shelter for goats to be protected from the elements and sleep
  5. Water trough that can be filled from the secondary spring or pond.
  6. Goats

tonis goat.jpg

Written by Tas Zinck


Goat Fencing Guide



Materials, Pricing and Installation


After much research and consultation with the Greedy Goat, a local organization that lends its goats to Fayetteville’s parks to control poison ivy and brush, it appears that a portable electric fence alone would not be enough to permanently contain goats. So they recommended a more secure fencing system to act as a fixed pen for the goats while the electric fence could be used to control grazing patterns within their permanent pen and outside. The electric fence works with goats but they are capable of escaping if they really want to. So the best way to use the electric fence would be for day use when someone could monitor the goats and grazing zone. The whole property could still benefit from the controlled grazing while when there isn’t time to oversee grazing, the goats can be left in their permanent pen.

Vegan Ethics

The electric fencing is required to keep the goats safe from predators, sometimes, by preventing them from escaping away from our protection and care. These goats would otherwise be sent to the slaughterhouse, and the fencing is necessary, not to exploit them, but to provide them a safe, happy, healthy life. The goats quickly recognize the effect of the fence, and only dare to touch it when they are determined to reach some food on the other side. By maximizing the availability of their preferred foods the incentive to brave the fence is decreased.

With these concerns aside, knowing we are caring in our actions, we continue.


Movable Electric Fence and Options

Fence Netting – The fence itself, containing the netting and the posts.

Energizer Unit – The energizer takes power from a battery and electrifies the fence. The energizer unit will always connect to the fence and a grounding rod. Once an animal touches the fence the circuit is complete and a shock is delivered.

Energizer Setups:

  1. Solar Energizer – Buy solar panels separately to connect and charge a battery which connects to energizer. Energizer then normally connects to fence and grounding rod.
  2. Solar Energizer kit (All in one) – A kit that has a solar panel, energizer and battery in one unit.
  3. DC Battery Energizers – Buy a 12v battery that connects and powers a energizer. Charge up the 12v separately. Maybe have two batteries that can be interchanged.
  4. DC Battery Energizer kit – Energizer and rechargeable battery in one unit .
  5. AC Plug- In (Mains) Energizer – Energizer that gets power from an outlet (Probably not preferably for our situation)

Connection Wires – The wires used to hook up energizer to the fence and grounding rod.

Grounding Rod – Hooks up to energizer and is used to complete the circuit.

Charge Tester – Small device used daily to check and make sure fence has appropriate charge. Without proper charge the electric fence will not be effective.

*Polypropylene (non conductive) twine* – used to safely secure electric fence posts to extra support posts, steaks, fencing, buildings, etc.

Permanent Fence Options

For permanent fences, there a few things to keep in mind. The fence has to be very sturdy to keep the goats in. The cheaper the fence, the more often repairs and replacements will take place. Many farmers recommend buying higher quality fencing so you don’t have to replace it every 3 or so years. Also the spacing of the fence squares needs to be appropriate for goats. If spacing is too large, the goat can get it’s head caught and won’t be able to get free. The recommended size is 4” x 4” or smaller for the squares. Appropriate fence options:

Redtop Wire Fencing (Recommended by Greedy Goats, can get at Lowes)


A stronger option: Some websites suggest a stronger (although more expensive) wire fencing. The below option for example:

Bekaert Gaucho 30 High-Strength Sheep/Goat Fence, 330-Ft.*

Another option:

Sections of fencing panel with wood posts or T-posts:

Can use appropriate cattle, goat or horse panels attached to secure posts.

*There are a few fence options that can contain the goats

Other Fence requirements:

  • Quality Fence Gate
  • Bracing Wire
  • Fence Staples
  • Fence Stretcher

Examples of sturdy permanent fences for containing goats:

Issues with goats and non-electric fencing

Pricing and Purchasing

Pricing depends on the size and breed of goats which affects the required size of netting. Most products can be ordered online directly from manufacturer.

The Greedy Goat recommended Kencove for our electric fencing supplies, another highly recommended brand is Premier1.

They recommended getting the permanent fence supplies at Lowes.

Electric Fencing:

Pricing on Premier1 Netting:

ElectroNet® & ElectroNet® Plus

Single spike posts – 164’ x 35”        – $119

Single spike posts – 82’ x 35”           – $95

ElectroStop® & ElectroStop® Plus – (taller, extra twine,) (bigger, stronger)

Single spike – 164’ x 42”                  – $144

Single spike – 82’ x 42”                    – $104

Double spike – 100’ x 42”                 – $155

Double spike – 50: x 42”                  – $114


Pricing on Kencove Netting:

Electric Netting 14/48/7 (Taller, larger squares, cheaper)

164’ x 48”            – $150

82’                        – $97

Electric Netting 14/48/3½ (Shorter, smaller, more squares in net)

164’ x 48”          – $180

82’                      – $116

Electric Netting 9/40/7 (Taller, larger squares, cheaper)

125’ x 40”          – $125

82’ x 40”            – $81

Electric Netting 10/40/3½ (Shorter, smaller, more squares in net)

164’ x 40”         – $145

82’ x 40”            – $94

Energizers –

Recommended energizer setups:

These options come in more powerful or weaker version depending on length/size of fence. Costs change accordingly.

Solar Kits – This is the option we will probably go with. The kits are convenient because they include everything needed to operate an electric fence. Almost everything is in one unit while the wiring and ground rod are included with kit purchase. Most kits even include the charge tester.

Solar IntelliShock® 60 Energizer & Kit       – $266

Includes everything to set up and run an electric fence. Just ‘plug and play’. Includes tester.

Premier PRS 100 Solar Energizer & Kit        – $354

Includes everything you need including charge tester. Website stats:

  • High output
  • Half the cost of others
  • Vandal and theft resistant
  • Very portable
  • Strong rust-free metal case

Kencove 12-Volt Solar Energizer – .50 Joule    – $197

  • Warranty includes lightning damage
  • Has AC adapter
  • Includes cables

Parmak Magnum Energizer – 0.5 Joule            – $269

  • Steel case
  • Built in performance meter

Stafix Solar Energizer – .5 Joule                         – $299

  • Lasts up to 21 days without sunlight

Battery Energizers – Option is good for piecing together supplies. Will have to purchase energizer, battery, battery charger, wiring, ground rod and charge tester separately.


Permanent Fencing:

Wire Fences

Red Brand Field Fence Silver Steel Woven Wire

  • 330’ x 48”                   – Around $130

Kencove 4″x4″ Woven Wire, Sheep & Goat Fence

  • 100’ x 48”                                   – $71
  • 330’ x 48”                                  – $235

Fastlock Woven Wire, 7/36/24, 12½ Ga

  • 330’ x 36”                                  – $90

Bekaert Gaucho 30 High-Strength Sheep/Goat Fence, 330-Ft.

  • 330’ x 53 “                                 – $239

*Can add electrified offset wire toward bottom of fence as another option

Panel Fences

  • 16’ x 42” panels – $15 per panel (graduates from 3” x 8” squares at bottom to 6” x 8” squares at top)


  • 6’ tall T Posts – around $4 each
  • Wood post options ?

Installing and Use

The movable electric fence is easy to set up and get going:

  1. To set up netting and posts, first untie bundle
  2. Walk backwards along desired fence parameter, dropping posts on ground and spacing out netting

  1. Once diameter is charted, secure first post (tie post with non conductive wire to another support i.e. steak, fence, building, etc.)
  2. Put up remaining posts, keeping netting tight as you go

  1. Once all posts are up, put in ground rod

  1. Set up energizer on stand or in desired location

  1. Attach grounding wire to from energizer to grounding rod
  2. Attach hot wire from energizer to metal clip on end post of netting
  3. Turn on and check energizer
  4. Regularly check fence voltage with charge tester

Tips for movable fence,

  • Keep grass and foliage short around fence
  • Goats have been known to get caught up up netting – mostly because of no voltage or low voltage
  • Add supports to corners for longer periods of use – use a T-post about 6 in. away and tie with non conductive twine
  • Be cautious for netting gets caught in woody areas while setting up
  • Any weeds that grow up and touch netting can drain electricity from the battery

Tips for fixed fence,

  • Leave about 4 inches between bottom of fence panels and the ground – for easier weeding and maintenance (you will go through a lot of weed eater line hitting bottom of fence)
  • Build solid braces on either side of gate
  • Wooden posts suggested be 2 foot deep in ground

In Conclusion

While proper fencing is a costly initial investment, it can be a lasting resource for many years.

What we need to do to get ready for fencing

  • Go to fence class hosted by Greedy Goat at Tri Cycle Farms in June
  • Find out how many goats we plan on having
  • How big our temporary grazing paddocks will need to be with our number of goats (maybe use fencing calculator on Red Brand website)
  • How large our permanent fence will need to be to accommodate the number and type of goats we plan on having
  • Decide which equipment will suite our needs


So we would like to know what are your thoughts? Do you have any experience with fencing to protect goats? Let us know if you have any recommendations or advice on the subject.


Written by Chase Jones with contribution by Täs Zinck

Trish’s history of compassion towards animals

I remember the first experience with feeling empathy towards animals started with our dog Inky when I was about seven (which was fifty-five years ago). I may have been the one to find her dead in our garage. Knowing that she was dead was devastating to me. My parents thought our neighbors might have poisoned her. Thinking that people could be so cruel affected me deeply and I felt overwhelmed with sadness for our old cocker spaniel who had been so kind and loving.

When at age nine I finally was able to have my very own dog, a friendly and affectionate golden retriever I named Goldy, I was thrilled. But only a few months after she became my companion, vicious bulldogs attacked her. The bloody wounds in her stomach looked so painful, and for some reason, my parents did not take her to the vet. She ran away, never to be found. I sat in my second story room, looking out my window, hoping to see her feathery tail wagging. I was crushed by this loss.



When at age nine I finally was able to have my very own dog, a friendly and affectionate golden retriever I named Goldy, I was thrilled.


Probably to avoid being so hurt again, I never wanted a dog or a cat that I called my own after this painful loss. But I still loved animals and felt connected to their pain. One book that deeply affected me was “Beautiful Joe” based on the true story of a dog who lived in Canada. The book’s opening scene where a dog was being cruelly treated by his owner, and then was saved by a beautiful and courageous woman, touched my heart deeply. I cry even now when I think about the examples of animal abuse described in this book. At age twelve, reading the heroic adventures of the young lady who helped save animals she saw were being abused, this book inspired me. “Maybe I could help to alleviate the suffering of animals and humans,” I thought. But probably because of societal influences, for most of the rest of my life my focus was on alleviating the suffering of humans.



When I was seventeen I had an epiphany while watching the well-known television show, Lassie.

When I was seventeen I had an epiphany while watching the well-known television show, Lassie. I was having a particularly hard time with people who were treating me in hurtful ways. When I saw the unconditional love that Lassie had for Timmy and other people, from seemingly out of nowhere I had these thoughts:


“Most dogs are kind to people. We don’t eat them. Most cows are kind to people. We eat them. People are unkind. We don’t eat them. Therefore, I don’t want to eat animals. They are kinder than people. I don’t want to hurt animals. They don’t deserve to be hurt.”

I instantly became a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I was committed to this lifestyle up until about two years ago when I happened to be at the Comic-Con Conference in San Diego. My daughter and I had some free time and decided to take a trolley down to this event to see what was happening. We walked by a friendly woman who offered us a dollar to watch a three-minute video. Because a dollar was a lot to me at that time, I was willing to take her up on the offer!
The video was made by Farm Animals Rights Movement (FARM) and was very well done. Even though I had wanted to give up dairy and eggs for the past few years, somehow I couldn’t take this next step. However, when I was asked how many days I would be willing to give up all animal products, I said, “seven days a week”.  Since then, I have been a committed vegan.

I thought that just being vegan was a huge contribution to helping alleviate the suffering of animals. Besides, other issues were tugging at me for attention. I decided to pour all my efforts into the animal rights movement when I met Barbara Hulley when I was visiting the Bay Area last year. I had finally found my niche after searching for the past 43 years.


We walked by a friendly woman who offered us a dollar to watch a three-minute video about animal welfare.


Funding came forth from a sponsor who generously helped Jesus Vegans get off the ground. We continue to receive money in order to move forward with a staff, an event center, and an eco-village (which is in the process of being built). Being able to attend the Creature Conference in London last March, and connecting with people like Daryl Booth who founded Sarx (a Christian animal welfare organization based in the UK) has also been amazing. I have found that people who are both Christian and vegan have more in common with me than anyone else I have experienced. This gives me a lot of joy because I love working with like-minded people who are both passionate about their cause and share my core values.
My heart breaks for the suffering of animals, especially farm animals because their deaths are so unnecessary. I am surrounded by people who eat meat and animal products. I don’t condemn them because of their habits. After all, I ate animal products that produced great suffering in animals (dairy products and eggs) until only two years ago. And most of them accept my preferences and even support me in my efforts to build Jesus Vegans. Yet I yearn for a day when all can wake up and see that their eating habits directly hurt other creatures who have emotions just like we do.

Recently, after getting marvelous feedback about our website from Sarx director Daryl Booth, Chris (my son who works for Jesus Vegans full time) and I came up with a revised mission statement which gave me hope that we can make a difference in helping people wake up. Here it is:

“Our mission is to empower vegans, animal rights supporters and those who care about the earth to cooperate, build communities, and increase unity.”


In this way, I can utilize my life-long experience in organizing events, people, groups, meetings, structures, and communities. I can also use my communication skills and facilitation skills as well.

I feel grateful to be able to work full time on fulfilling this mission, and now the only things missing are passionate, emotionally healthy people who want to use their talents to help make this mission a reality. We are able to offer a work exchange program which you can learn more about here.  if you want to explore the possibilities of living and working to produce events at our event center and build our eco-village.

Thanks so much for reading my story. I would love to hear your feedback as well as hear about your stories.

Weekly Menu

This is so encouraging! Thanks, Sarah.

sarah withrow king

Every Saturday evening, I sit down with my calendar for the upcoming week, a stack of my favorite cookbooks, my laptop, and a pen and paper. Twenty minutes later, I have a menu for the week and a grocery list.

I’ve heard from a number of friends and family that one of the biggest hindrances to eating vegan is not knowing what to cook. I’ve also heard from friends who are in a food rut. 

So, I might not do it every week, but when I can, I’ll post our weekly menu here. I’ll miss the mark sometimes, but most will be kid- and budget-friendly, fast, and filling vegan meals. I work full-time, and I often work from home. If a recipe needs a little extra time in the stove or oven, I pause in the late afternoon and then get back to work while the food does its thing in…

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Description of Patricia’s efforts in grassroots organizing which led to a tree sit

I am very grateful that Anita Schnee could be there from the beginning of the tree sit. I am reminded that I do have quite a few talents and a lot of persistence so I want to help all the great things that are already happening in the animal welfare movement be even more effective. That is what I am good at.

Patricia Mikkelson's Life Journey

I met Ms. Mikkelson over a year ago, when, as a lawyer, I was called on to mediate diverse grassroots resistance to an unlawful development project in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she and I live. I myself, hindered by circumstances to do any more than the briefest community work, would be greatly reassured to know that Patricia Mikkelson would be doing the same thing for the Arctic Refuge as she did for Fayetteville

Patricia sparked the resistance movement at its beginning stages. It was she who began organizing against the city’s connivance at tree-preservation ordinance violations in favor of a huge mall development. The resistance grew to include tree-sit action and substantial civil disobedience of over twenty people.

Through a protracted and tense summer and at great personal cost, Patricia applied her considerable talents wherever she was needed. She initiated and participated in email bulletin boards and chat-lists that were vital…

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Recommendations for Trish: Getting to Know Her

Hey friends–I am a new kid on the block, so to speak, when it comes to animal rights and such. But I am experienced helping movements grow, and working with people to help empower them to work together and capitalize on their strengths. I also have been a follower of Jesus for the past 16 years, and continue to grow as I am an apprentice to Jesus, doing my best to be more like him in every way.

I thought you might like to read some things that people have said about me and my abilities. I was inspired when I re-read them! God is so good. He has given me the ability to organize and the opportunities to hone that skill.

Here’s one about how I used open space technology to organize a gathering:

Here is one specifically about my involvement with spearheading a tree sit in Fayetteville, AR.