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What is the bare minimum for goat-proof fencing? Does it differ if I am trying to keep them in a small area (think 1/4-acre) vs if they were roaming the whole property (10 acres)? Does it differ by type of goats, e.g. fencing for pygmy goats might not have to be as high as fencing for full-sized goats?

I'm obviously still going back on forth on getting goats for the farm. I really think they'd be great complimentary grazers for the horses, and I hope they'd keep the brambles down, too. But I don't want to have to fence the whole property ten feet high with chicken wire just to keep them in.

The way I'm currently imagining it, I'd have a completely enclosed (roof, too) hot-wired pen for them at night (due to us having bears, coyotes, and the occasional mountain lion) and then they'd free-range the whole place in the day.
 

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We had boer goats with our horses and they are very complimentary. They don't share parasites and they don't eat the same forage. We managed almost 30 goats with three horses on 10 acres for a very short time but cut back to 12 goats and two horses on 12 acres and it was much better stocking rate. Those two additional acres we a big difference because it was mostly rough weeds and brush that was prime for a goat. Most goats would rather choose to eat weeds than grass any time.

However, there is almost no fence that is goat proof. Forget it, unless, you install that diamond braided twisted horse wire, place tightly on the ground. Then, maybe...but goats are escape artists and if there is a way to get out, they'll find it. We used standard fencing and ended up using electrical tape to attach a 18" section of wooden broomstick across the horns of trouble makers. Many, if not all, stuck their heads through the wire and were trapped until set free. I'm sure that some would stand for hours with their head stuck through the fence to eat from outside the fence but many never figured out how to unstick themselves. It was dangerous and extremely hard on the fencing. We subdivided our pastures so 12 acres was cut into four sections for rotation and that was still barely enough space for a dozen goats with the two horses.

Finally, we worked around the state trimming goats feet on thousands of goats, because goats need to have their feet trimmed just like a horse. We were goat farriers for a lot of different goat farmers. The absolute worst goats to work were pygmy goats and we had more trouble catching them because they are such spectacular athletes. Crazy wild jumping ability so short fencing would not be very effective, in my opinion.

We used standard 48" farm fence wire and it held them fine until they started sticking their heads through the square and then they'd pull so hard to get free that they'd break the wire between the squares. Chicken wire wouldn't hold them, in my opinion, because they'd find a seam and just push through. If they can get their noses into a seam, they'll push, and if they get their eyes past the edge of a hole, they think they've escaped so they simply push ahead and tear up the fence. The predators that you describe would most probably not be deterred by chicken wire either. We kept a guard dog, a Great Pyrenees, with our goats and never had any problems but we only ever had coyotes to contend with, so...good luck.
 
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Lol. Goat proofing.

Mine, 2 minis and a half mini, escaped excellent condition 5ft chain link. Escaped hot wire. One of them seemed to enjoy the zap! They found tiny gaps and weak spots to break into places.

I now have sheep. 3ft field fence and done.

It's supposed to be possible to train to 1-2 strands hot wire. But others with success should tell you how.
 

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@Elessar thank you, that's very informative. I will think about what you said.

Is trimming a goat pretty much the same as trimming a horse? I trim my own horses (not well, but not any worse than the farriers I'd pay to do it). Are there resources available to learn how to trim goats?
 

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ACinATX

We intended to raise meat goats for profit but that goal didn't pan out. That's too long a story for me to type and no one wants to hear that silly stuff anyhow...

We bought the goat working equipment intending to "rent" the stuff to other goat farmers but ended up trimming goat feet for others for almost two years. Basically we charged a dollar a foot and by the "CC" for vaccinations, etc. My wife and I traveled all around Kentucky trimming thousands of feet and most farmers would welcome us to their field and then go watch television while we worked. The job paid our farm expenses but we quit when we noticed that our animals and our property were suffering because we spend every weekend on the road. We gave people 12 months notice that we were quitting but most never made any provisions for themselves and some even called on the phone to beg us to return after we stopped making appointments.

I just looked and there are videos on YouTube to learn how to trim goat feet:
My wife and I worked with a local goat farmer to trim several hundred goats to learn how under direct instruction before we went into business. I just watched the first few seconds of the video but that part sounded correct referencing nature's way to manage hoof length.

There isn't any money in goats anymore, if there ever was, but many counties and municipalities have successfully used goat herds to clear rough patches of weedy ground where mowing crews can't operate. Good luck.
 
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I have a herd of nigerian dwarf goats.
I have a lgd but i dont have many predators here.
I keep mine in 4 foot no climb horse fence and cattle panels (with fencing the first few holes for the bucks).
They go out on hikes with me when i have a day off. they love eating brush, trees ect. They will not stay out by themselves. If i start heading back they will race me back to the property. If they ever get out they wont go far. After they learn where home is they dont wonder very far. most likely they will end up on your porch waiting for you. If they are pets. I had a couple purchase two wethers. They had them in a small pen for awhile then they let them wonder with them when they were home, now they hang around the house with the dogs. They dont have brush near there house but if you do that you wont have flowers either.
I dont have predators so i just have a tree house doe shelter, numerous large trees, the bucks have a shed with a few trees. When does are ready to kid they go in the barn for a few weeks then all does and kids go behind the barn until they are old enough to be sold or go back in the doe pasture.
My goats like where they are. I have only had the weaned bucklings get out (they can sqeeze thru anything when young but they always have a buck apron on). and when i was at a different place i had a doe in quarantine jump out of a horse stall but she was by herself. (4 foot with three 2x4s on one side and she was only 50 pounds)The three years that doe with with me she never got out of a pen again even when i had a down fence.,

- I trim feet whenever i go visit my goats on my days off, i just bring a utility knife with me and just grab the closest goat to trim, They are very easy to trim as I have done it since they were a few weeks old or if i bought them then as soon as i get them. I just put the head/neck between my legs facing the rump, bend over and pick up a foot. back feet i let them walk a few steps then my legs are around right before the hip bones, bend over and pick up back feet. Every single new goat i have gotten i had to "train" to not freak out with trimming, I don t have a head gate and probably wouldnt use it if i did. But its easy if you just do a few at a time. And if you r ground is hard or you have rocks you trim less often. I live where its wet alot and clay.

I have to add that i have never even made enough $ off of sales to pay for the hay. I have to feed hay all year since I dont have enough brush/grass to feed them. I have thought about reducing my herd but right now I cant sell any goats due to the hay crisis and how high everything is going up.
 

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Gracie, Lily, Chewy, Sam, Jack and Bill
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I’ve had a variety of goat breeds over the years. My favorite (and current) setup is a pen made up of cattle panels set up by the barn. By cattle panels, I mean the heavy gauge wire panels that are 16ft long and 4ft tall. They are sturdy, predator proof and work great as a night time pen or a place to stay when unsupervised. The rest of my property is five strand barb wire and/or 5 strand high tensile electric wire. In the barb wire sections, I have a single strand of hot wire set up with 5” extended insulators about 6 inches from the ground. My fence is HOT! It keeps wild hogs out and whether it’s on or not, every other critter here doesn’t even think about getting close to it. Regardless of the size of goat, If you have predators, you definitely want a more hefty ”permanent “ style fence for an overnight pen. Hot fence won’t keep out some determined predators…also, if you lose electricity, you’re screwed.

As for getting heads stuck in field fence or panel for that matter….depends on a few things…. Goats that have been disbudded (de horned) won’t get stuck. Some goats are smarter than others…. some never have an issue, and others are chronic offenders. The offenders get the “pipe of shame” aka a 14-16” small pvc pipe attached to their horns with gorilla tape. Lol. The smart ones will learn before the tape wears out…. The stupid ones need to wear the pipe for life! Lol!

Trimming hooves is easy as can be. I learned as a kid in 4-H many moons ago and have always done my own ever since.
 

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Cattle panels are an excellent alternative to standard fencing; easy to install, extra sturdy but more expensive. We had customers that fenced entire pastures in them and I was envious. Nice recommendation from LooneyTick
 
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Many people use steel t-posts from Tractor Supply....the longer, heavy-duty ones will be stronger for those who test cause they are longer and a more substantial piece of steel...
Since sounds horse and goats may be kept together...HD and longer is what we would use cause ponies will be ponies and want to scratch their tushes...
🐴....
 

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Gracie, Lily, Chewy, Sam, Jack and Bill
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Yes, those are what I’m talking about. No need to frame them… just use steel t posts. I set mine every 8 feet. You can use more posts and and set them closer if you want the fence more rigid, but 8 ft is usually more than sufficient. And as horslovinguy said, use taller posts, especially if your ground is softer or uneven…. my “normal” sized horses don’t mess with the fence, but the minis love to do side rubs and the Percherons love to scratch their rear ends. Lol!

The panels used to be a lot cheaper…I remember when you could get them for less than $15.00 each. I’m definitely envious of those who can afford to do large scale projects with them. I always keep my eyes peeled on Craigslist for used ones!
 

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If you are fencing for Goats you need to get field fencing that has the smallest squares so they cant their head threw and get hung-up, there's the Red Brand Sheep & Goat fencing and the no climb fencing. Its safer for the goats and horses, the cattle & Hog panels with t-post I DON"T like using for horses, its just an accident wanting to happen, the goats will climb on the cattle/hog panels to reach tree limbs or anything hanging over the panels and with all the rubbing goats do on the hog/cattle panels will cause them to lean out and the t-posts will bend, they will do that to any fencing goats are just really hard on any type of fences and just make a mess of them, so the best thing to do would run hot wire/poly rope on the inside goat height so they will stay off the fencing. And since you said that bears could be a problem I would run hot wire along the top of the fencing also, it might help to keep bears away, Just saying it might help with bears, I dont have bears so really dont know but the zap can really get the attention of anything that hits it.
 
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