Goat Fencing Guide

Prepared by BIODESIC STRATEGIES

PORTABLE ELECTRIC FENCE

Materials, Pricing and Installation

Introduction

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.

Materials

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)

OR

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.

Batteries:

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)

Posts

  • 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

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