Should I own goats?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by DixyDoodle, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    I don't yet own any goats but was thinking about it. We just bought a farm and so far it's empty! :( Aside from wanting a horse for myself and a pony for my son, I've been debating.....

    I love goats and to make it even better, so does my dh. We have absolutely no experience in owning them, however. I do know that they are escape artists. So this brings me to my first question:

    What kind of fencing would you recommend? Right now for the most part, the 20+ acres that is fenced is page wire (cattle fence). One strip of maybe 200 ft is barbed wire (???) which is definitely coming down no matter what. But I didn't want to go putting up a particular kind of fencing, only to have to tear it down again. Then again, do I want goats at all? Do you find them frustrating in terms of keeping them in pasture?

    I keep thinking about the goats I've seen, climbing on cars, rocks, sleeping cows, people.....LOL....are they really that difficult to fence in? Would they be happy in a smaller enclosure....it is really not financially feasible for me to re-fence over 20 acres just for a few goats.

    Another question: when I was a child, I recall seeing some goats that had this funky-looking neck collar thing on. Basically (going from a kid's memory here) it was something that hung on their neck and would keep them from slipping through small fence openings? Or were they for something else? And are those head collars considered to be inhumane----I mean, would they rub raw spots, interfere with a goat's natural movement, etc.? I have no idea, and I haven't seen any neck collar thingies since then, so maybe they aren't in use now? I would much prefer a more natural 'goat state' than that, though.

    Thanks for any help you can provide. Any other newbie advice or warnings would also be appreciated!

    DD
     
  2. mammawof3

    mammawof3 Well-Known Member

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    ;) WARNING-goats are very addictive,since you already admit too loveing goats-GO FOR IT!! ;) Yes, they can be diffecult to keep fenced, but not necasarily. If you already have feild fencing, running hot wire around it would be adequate.We keep around 30 head in, with 3 strands of hot wire-first they were trained in a smaller area with 4 strands-once they get "bit"-or alot of times just seeing someone else get "bit" is enough to keep them respecting the fence line-our fence can be turned off, and they won't try it! :nono: I would not just put goats that have never been in hot wire, out on less than 4 strands-some people say 6 strands-but we have brought quite a few in, that were never in hot wire, after a few days in the smaller lot,we can safely turn them out.It helps that goats are so herd bound-i think some never even try the fence, because "everyone else" avoids it.Even kids born here,avoid the fence line-they do require housing,doesn't have too be elaberate-someplace too get out of the rain, and too kid during winter. 20 acres would be wonderful for quite a few head,although they can be "sissies"-and may not wander far w/out a human along.I had 10 acres woods fenced in, and they would not go too far into it,unless i took them for a "walk" :grump:
    They are funny!Of course you need to consider hay for atleast part of the year,some sort of grain-depends on if you have dairy-and are milking-but even our Boer get 16%(home mix) once a day, keeps them freindly, gives them something too look forward too-AND-if necasy-WILL bring them back,if they "wander"-mine can be out of sight-i only have too hollar once"HEY GOATS"..they all come running! :rock: You came too the right place too learn,and be encouraged! Best of luck-and enjoy!!
     

  3. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Re: electric fencing. Is it very costly to use it? I'm thinking I would have to make a smaller enclosure if I did---electrifying 20 acres would be too daunting and no doubt costly?

    How much electricity does it use? I believe it is very basic wiring here at the barn, not even sure how much work it would be to hook it up. Although the house here is on breakers, the barn is on fuses.....would a fence 'blow' them? Sorry, I am not electrically-inclined in the slightest. :eek:

    Plus, since I have an irrational fear of fire, I would no doubt choose 'regular' fencing of some sort if possible. No one in the world can convince me that it won't catch fire. **recalling seeing the neighbours' wires zapping the grass** Not that I wouldn't ever use electric, mind you, but if I could choose something else.....Is there any other kind of suitable fencing for goats?

    DD
     
  4. Goat Freak

    Goat Freak Slave To Many Animals

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    We just use cattle fencing, sure the goats get their heads stuck, that is to begin with. All of our goats have since learned that you do NOT put your head in the fence, and the ones that still do have learned how to get their heads out by themselves. i think that if you like goats, and have the property, get them, they are WONDERFUL animals, I LOVE ours. Good Luck, bye.
     
  5. Rachel K.

    Rachel K. Well-Known Member

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    Cattle Fencing works great for Goats. I have Cattle fencing on one side of my pasture and its the only side that the Goats have never 'escaped' from. Cattle fencing is high enough that a Goat would never try and attempt to jump over it. Strong and sturdy and will hold up well under the weight of Goats standing up or leaning against it. The spacing is smaller on the bottom and helps keep kids in. The spacing towards the middle is larger and will allow the Goat to put their head through without getting stuck. Its a wonderful fencing.
     
  6. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cattle panels or woven wire fencing are two kinds of goat fencing that don't require electric.
     
  7. GOATDADDY

    GOATDADDY Well-Known Member

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    Electric fence is my reccomendation. Research it. I don't know what sort of fence you have but I don't think you need to remove the barb wire. It sounds like you could turn that wire or another or both in to hot wires and have a very inexpensive fence. The goats need to learn to respect a hot wire then they won't even test it much, in theory, most of the time, if your lucky. Please refer to another post of mine for a little more detail. Sounds like you've got a nice place there. I have quite a bit of barb wire around some of my place and 14 goats none have ever cut themselves or gotten tangled in the barb wire, if you have a hot wire or two they will avoid the fence.
     
  8. GOATDADDY

    GOATDADDY Well-Known Member

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    Also, a fence charger, wire, electricity to power it is dirt cheap compared to cattle panels, woven wire or just about anything else unless it is given to you. You could fence the whole twenty acres, make a couple of your fence wires, hot wires, ground another wire good, for probably less than two hundred fifty dollars. The electricity cost would be pennies a day. Somehow the fence charger coverts the electricity to a form that gives a large shock but it doesn't use a lot of juice.
     
  9. dadmoonbunny

    dadmoonbunny Member

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    I have about 2 1/2 acres fenced on three sides that is just basically a running and bedding down area for the local deer. The wife and I have thought about a couple of goats, but rather than utilize the fence, we were thingking about ground tethering them. Would this work?

    We were considering aircraft cable with nylon sheath attached via snap links to six foot spikes in the ground. We thought that this way, they would eat one area clear, and then we would move them. Mind you, neither of us have any experience with goats at all.

    This area is in sight of our dwelling place, and so we could keep an eye on them fairly easy. Defending them in other than the very wee hours of the morn would be a lead-pipe cinch.
     
  10. mammawof3

    mammawof3 Well-Known Member

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    Please do not think about tethering goats out-it really is not safe at all-they will find some way too hang themselves,or get attacked by dogs, or stay tangled..just not a good idea at all!!If you already have an area fenced, then utilize it..so much better for all.. :D
     
  11. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    acutally I disagree with them hurting themselves on a tie out. They really learn how to avoid being hurt or tangled. The only time I have heard of goats hurting themselves is when they got tangled on things. Just don't put them near anything they can get stuck on, and avoid dangers!!! All of my goats have been tied out for a period of time, the longest being tied for two years. My friend has a three year old wether that is still tied out and has been since she got him at two months old and he does fine. Neither of us has had any problem whatsoever. My only advice is to start out with a medium lenght tie out, 15 feet or so, because they are less likely to get tangled. They learn to walk kind of sideways to avoid stepping on thier line and learn how to jump onto and off of their house without getting stuck or tangled. Also, always use CABLE dog tie outs, they are hard to get tangled in and do not rub away fur like chain does. Rope should never be used, it gets tangled way to easy.
    but if there are alot of stray dogs around or your yard is not fenced in, do not tie them out. Our yard was completely fenced in when we tied out our goats. Our dogs learned to stay away from the goats fast. If there is nothin bigger than foxes in your area, I would say go ahead.
     
  12. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    I don't think that tying my goats here is an option: we have coyotes in the area....as a matter of fact, they were howling the other night and sounded like they were practically in my backyard. I don't allow my dogs to wander out of my sight at night for that reason.

    What about those headcollar things? Are they acceptable or can I even find such a thing?

    I was also considering building a smaller enclosure for them (instead of free ranging on 20 acres, which would require goat-safe fencing, a very big job). I was thinking of getting a larger breed of goat. How high would a goat fence have to be, if it were made of strictly wood? And how much space per goat would be adequate (I would probably only get two or three goats to start)?

    Thanks!

    DD
     
  13. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    It is a general rule for about 10 goats an acre. cource, you can squeeze in more if they are smaller breeds. Also, the more room the better. Give them as much room as you can or have room to expand. If you are like the rest of us goat enthusiasts, your herd will increase alarmingly in the next few years!! not at all a bad thing.....:)
     
  14. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use cattle panels to keep my goats in. If we decide to fence in the hillside, I would use woven wire fencing. I would not tether my goats because of the danger from dogs or wild animals. A few years ago, I lost a baby goat to dogs who jumped the shorter hog panels I used on the kid pen. We learned our lesson and now use the taller panels on the kid pen as well. It is also important that your goat yard have a shelter with at least 3 sides to protect the goats from bad weather. Goats do not like rain or wind.
     
  15. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    More questions:

    What type of goat is better able to cope with bitter winter weather (BTW, I prefer larger breeds)? I was hoping it would be something I don't have to shear. But I am in Canada, and sometimes we get -30Celcius temperatures (although not usually, whew!). The average winter temp would probably be around -15C.

    Also, if I were to build a wooden fence, how high should it be? And do I need to bury the fence at all, do goats tend to paw/dig to get under if they spy a little hole?

    Thanks again!

    DD