How do you build a goat fence without much money?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by raymilosh, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,
    I've been intending to have goats for milking and pasture maintenance but I haven't yet figured out how to do it without much money. I have many acres, some wooded, some fields and I need to keep the goats out of the gardens and other neighbors places, etc. I can build a goat shed easily enough, but I am feeling really stuck on the fencing part. Am I right in thinking that the purchase price of suitable fencing is somewhere in the $0.50 per running foot range? That'd make a one acre fence about $500 plus the cost of the charger. Does anyone have a way of keeping goats that doesn't involve high up front costs?
    Is this the sort of thing people used to do with natural materials before the advent of electric fencing, or did people have either goats or gardens and trade/sell their respective products? I would really appreciate some help with this one.
    ray
     
  2. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    There is the electric fencing option, but I believe an acre would be around $500. Not sure? So that probably wouldn't help. I wanted to build our duck yard as cheaply as possible, but I don't think you could get away with what I build with goats. And maybe you could. I bought the cheap 2x3's the ones that might be slightly warped. I cut them in half to 4 ft lengths and used those as fence posts. I think I paid $1.99 for each and you get two posts out of one. I guess you would have to figure out how many posts you would need and then X's it by $1.00 as that what it ended up being. Then you could get the rolls of the 2" x 4" heavy guage garden fencing. Usually it gets cheaper by the bigger roll. I got a 50ft roll on sale for $20. Of course, that was enough for me to build the duck yard for three ducks.
    The other idea I had came from the amount of tree branches we had lying around after some storms. We had two that were at least a good 15 to 25 feet long and at most about 3 inches in diameter. If you have a chain saw and woods around you I can't see why you couldnt' scope out some fallen tree branches and cut them to fence posts and rails. Then wire it with chicken wire around. I don't know if it would work, but its an idea.
     

  3. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I don't think 4' chicken wire would keep a goat in. :) I like the tree post idea, though. Maybe do that, but add electric wire to the tree posts. Are there enough LIVE trees on the perimeter that you don't need posts???
     
  4. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    Yea, I wasn't sure. Goats are probably more tough on fencing then ducks are.
    Utilizing trees is also a great idea too, and just run the electric wire around. A family friend built a horse corral with just posts and one single electric wire going around the whole corral. No wood fencing whatsoever. It kept the horse in too!

    Fencing for ducks: $60
    Lumber for duck house: $15
    Duck Feed: $10
    Duck Feeder: $20
    Waterer: $6
    The joy of owning ducks: priceless
     
  5. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    This (unintentionally, I'm sure! :) ) is the understatement of the year! :D

    Dunno about the rest of you, but my goats laugh in the face of an electric fence. A momentary shock seems worth the price of all that green stuff on the other side ...

    I have pens in the barn with 4' sides, and one of my does scrambles up and over without breaking a sweat. She's not a large goat, either. I finally cooled her jets by running a hotwire around the tops of all the pens. I do unplug it for awhile in the fall, so she can jump in and groove with the buck. I never have to worry about watching for her to come into heat!

    Right now my goats and sheep live in a barnyard with board fencing (boards replaced periodically when the buck or ram decides to butt one all afternoon just for the heck of it). They also have crumpled the steel sliding doors on my barn, again, for the heck of it.

    Hubby is getting set to redo the pens for the third time; this time he's looking for steel well pipe as the 2" thick pine planks have all been broken in half.

    If you are not planning to keep a buck, your fencing probably can be modified somewhat. Also, if your goats are dehorned, they will not be able to use their horns as pry bars to rip boards off the fence (I am not making this up; there is a reason I have a goat named Lucifer!).

    Looking on the bright side, goats don't need a huge amount of space to roam (unless you want to feed them exclusively off pasture). You would not need to give them an acre unless you are planning to keep A LOT of goats!
     
  6. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    We don't have any bucks, so I'm sure that helps. But they definintely respect the fence and stay away from it.

    It's a 7-wire fence, 6 hot wires, and we use a pretty big charger. Look for a charger that says it works on goats. The lower power fences for cows won't always work. I think we paid a little over $100 for our charger, $50 for a battery, and maybe $150 for wire. We bought 4 big wooden posts, maybe $8 each??? The rest are just metal or plastic t-posts to keep the wire at the right height. So far, so good. I would guess, all told, it was under $500, with the gate and other supplies.
     
  7. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    How big of an area did you fence in with only 4 posts?
     
  8. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

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    see if the local utility company is replacing overhead cables makes a fine fence
     
  9. exegeses

    exegeses Well-Known Member

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    Will hot wire really keep goats in? We don't have any goats -yet- but we would seriously like to. Our problem is also fencing. We are on 16 acres with no practical fencing at all and we'd eventually like our goats to get most of their eating from pasture, so we're looking at fencing the whole place. Everyone in our area that has goats tells us that hot wire just doesn't work so our intention has been to fence our place with woven wire. Expensive! So we're putting it off for now. :(
     
  10. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What about portable electric fencing? For goats I would think the 4' high poultry netting would work. Of course, you have to have a good charge on it. You wouldn't need to fence in all of your acreage. You just need to run a wire down the middle and clip the el netting to the wire as you move it around. Just practice rotational grazing. This is what we do around our house and pond, and what we did before enclosing four acres with three strands of wire. We also use the portable to create small paddocks within the 4 acres for grazing.

    Electric works better than other types of fencing to keep out raccoons, foxes, and the more dangerous "loose dogs".
     
  11. vegascowgirl

    vegascowgirl Try Me

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    well, admittedly, I don't have any goats yet, so I'm probably not the one to really be responding to this. However, I have been planning on getting some goats and have a space lined out for 'em. I'm not going to have electric fencing...hoping I don't need it. I will just be fencing off a small area around their shed. I am intending to use pallet wood for my fencing. Pallets are cheap (free most of the time, but not all the time or everywhere) and it just takes a bit of time and energy to take the pallets apart and build the fence.
     
  12. exegeses

    exegeses Well-Known Member

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    Pallets. Wonderful idea if it works. We tried taking pallets apart for a fence and it didn't work very well. The nails didn't want to come out and split the wood pieces at least half the time. Is there a wrong way/right way to do it? If so, I HAD to have been doing it the wrong way! LOL Weighing the cost of my time against the cost of buying chicken wire for fencing (this wasn't for goats), the chicken wire was much cheaper!
     
  13. vegascowgirl

    vegascowgirl Try Me

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    I'm not sure if there is a right way or wrong way to take them apart...but I've always had success in the past by using a small pry bar. I pry the board up and then hammer or pry the nails back out. :eek: Can't say that I haven't split a few boards, but it has been kept to a minimum.
     
  14. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

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    i used field fence with a single strand of hot wire around it about oh.....knee high to a goat-to keep the goats OFF the fence so they didn't rub on it and wear it down. this fence was built 7 yrs ago, but we fenced in 2 pastures, about an acre or a little more in all, and i know it didn't cost 500, cause we didn't have that much-but, prices have gone up quite a bit, sooooo....

    another thing i've done, requires time and daily work. 4 cattle or combination stock panels, 5ft high. wire together at corners, makes a 16x16 pen that you can move daily, twice daily, every other day, whenever they've eaten down what's in it, move it. this thing was stable, and b/c they were always on fresh ground, they didn't try to escape. but, it does require that movement. i think those panels are 20 or so-atwoods had them on sale for 14 last week. for nite protection, their house can have a small yard attached to it, made out of the panels-would take 3 (using side of house for one side of pen)
     
  15. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Let me say right off the bat that I am a TOTAL newbie to homesteading and have NO real life experience whatsoever. I've been reading a lot, however, and one thing I have seen repeatedly is that live trees shouldn't be used for fence posts, because the tree will grow around the wire and staples, and that could cause havoc later, on someone's sawmill or chain saw.
     
  16. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

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    Around here, you can get pallets for free most all the time. It takes time to break down a pallet, especially if you pull all the nails.

    There's a real hand pallet-breaking tool I have. One of my boys gave it to me, and I think he got it from Gemplers. I can break down a pallet in just a couple minutes.
     
  17. caberjim

    caberjim Stableboy III

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    With HT electric, you really don't need a lot of big posts. 4 Corners, gate. Other than that, since the wire does not have to be really tight, just some t-posts or something every 50 feet or so to keep the sag out. Once the goats learn the fence shocks, they will not go near it. I'm getting set to fence in a small 1/2 acre pasture with just some t-posts and 3 strands of electric HT.

    If the food is there, they are trained to the fence and they are happy - they will stay.
     
  18. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd get the electric, not for keeping the goats in as much as keeping dogs out. Take that from someone who has lost goats/chickens to free roaming dogs. they are a menace and your goats are helpless.

    Since you seem to have lots of area to fence, I second the idea of movable fencing so you can rotate them and get them to stay in different areas at different times. It can't be too hard to do, because in some areas folks rent out their goats to eat the roadside weeds/bushes.
     
  19. tsdave

    tsdave Grand Marshal

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    My billy goat is on a chain. Works great, he destroys everything else with his nearly foot long horns. He is just a little fellow, but ive seen him butt 300 lb hogs and my dog a few times if they get in his reach. He threatens to butt me once in a while, but but i give him a look and he just falls instead of hitting. I only really worry about my nee caps. :) A hundred foot chain would give nearly an acre coverage if it was posted in the middle. There are several holes in my barns plywood from him. They will get themselves caught up if there are things to wrap the chain around like sticks. Trees and posts they learn to unwrap.
     
  20. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The only way to make a fence 100% goat proof is to make it waterproof, 8 feet tall, electrified, and with no gates. That said, your best bet is probably "field fencing" reinforced with the hottest electric you can afford and NO GOATS WITH HORNS.

    I've kept goats for going on five years. I've discovered no fence is goat proof. I use horse fencing (heavy guage "no climb"), have 200 lb wethers (I goat pack) and have a 5' tall fence reinforced with electric.

    I've had goats, sufficiently motivated, go OVER a 5' fence. Without touching it.

    I've had a 50 lb doe (the token nigerian) sail over a 6' stall wall. She was pregnant enough at the time to bounce on landing.

    My horned goats routinely yank the electric wire off with their horns -- horns do not conduct electricity very well, apparently, and they've learned to use the tips. They do this apparently so that they can then work on destroying the no climb, which is fun.

    I've had them put goat-sized holes through the fence and escape.

    They can and will learn to unlock every latch, snap, hook, eyebolt or chain you use to shut gates if they can reach it; I suggest padlocks or carefully positioning the latch so the goats can't reach it. If using a combination lock, I suggest not letting the goat see the combination. I'm not entirely joking about that ... I've come to the conclusion that the only reason sthat goats don't rule the world is that don't have hands, and they taste good to a certain percent of the human population.

    When I tried to cross-fence a section of my paddock with drop-you-in-your-tracks and make-you-pee-your-pants level electric fencing, one of the two horned goats learned to chase an unhorned, smaller, goat through the electric fence. The smaller goat would run through the fence to avoid getting butted and then the bigger goat could get out. The really frustrating part was, both sides of the paddock were identical, I was just trying to keep them away from my horse. (Who was going blind.) Chasing the little goat through the fence, apparently, was just fun -- if you're a big mean goat with a sick sense of humor.

    On, and let's not forget the ability of horned goats to hook their horns in the wire on either side of a t-post, yank the t-post out of the ground, and then climb over the sagging fence.

    I love my goats. I also just spend $500 to build a very sturdy 50X36 foot enclosure for them. Einstein learned to pull the t-posts out when nothing else worked to get them out ... I've become a bit cynical about keeping goats in.

    Leva