There is a well-known saying “A fence that won’t hold water won’t hold a goat.”
& Here in South Africa, “’n bok is ‘n bliksem” which loosely translates to “a goat is a lightning bolt”
So how do you keep them where you want them?
Why do you want to keep them anywhere? Can’t they just roam the property & isn’t it cute if they come inside?
Goats jump on everything. Cars – especially fancy German ones,
equipment, furniture & every other elevated surface they can find.
Goats chew on everything. They are actually quite picky about what they eat, but they do like to chew. Laundry, curtains, cushions, trees & bushes.
Goats aren’t lawnmowers. You need sheep for that! Goats predominantly eat shrubs, bushes & every part of a tree they can reach. This will often include the bark. If they really love a particular tree, they may ring-bark it & kill it.
This brings us to fences.
If you want a stress-free life with goats, you need FANTASTIC fences, before you get goats.
Fence your trees in safely. Fence your veggie garden. Fence your roses. Fence your goats’ safe space. You need somewhere to lock them where they are safe from predators & where you can leave them unattended.
Do it right the first time or you will be adding layers of fencing on an ongoing basis.
Goats jump. Some jump more than others but it is best to plan for the worst & be pleasantly surprised. We have found that a 1.2m fence is too low. Even some Nigerian Dwarf Goats will get over it.
1.5m is the lowest fence to consider. I fell for the 1.2m again the other day. It is an internal fence. It will be fine. Then my billy hopped over! It will need to be raised.
Goats go under fences. Goats can wriggle through small spaces. You need to secure the fence within cm’s of the ground, really well. Our boundary is anything but even & as our goats are free-range, we need to keep them out of the neighbour’s vineyard! How to secure the bottom of the fence along kms of uneven ground?
We start with moving rocks along the bottom of the fence. It works but you have to make sure that the rocks can’t be used as a step to jump the fence. Rocks are heavy to more. Rocks are a limited resource.
We have a Port Jackson invasion. They are an unlimited resource!
We cut the PJ for overnight fodder for the goats & sheep. When we do this, we “log” the tree trunks that may not be huge, but they are adequate for poles.
The best ones fit between the fence posts, or we use two. I “tie” them to the bottom of the fence with binding wire. When the goats try to go through under the fence, they have to contend with the poles.
Type of fencing.
For secure camps, I use fencing that the kids can’t fit through. Some of the kids are teeny-tiny! Vark-draad (pig fencing) works for us. It’s strong & the tiny kids can only get their heads through & luckily, not for long!
For the boundary & most other fencing, we now use Veldspan. This is a game fencing that has smaller gaps at the bottom & bigger openings towards the top.
As a general rule – the kids won’t go far from their moms & the herd so even if they do go onto the wrong side of the fence, they will pop back through without going far.
Trust this will help you contain your bokke (goats!)