Considerations for Electric Goat Fencing, Part 2

Reader Contribution by Mary Powell and Barnyard Weed Warriors
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In Part 1, we learned that there are two things a goat rental professional must have, to contain the goats on a work site: fencing and a working energizer. Depending upon the size of your goat rental business, you may need more than four fences. The Barnyard Weed Warriors haul 75 goats that will eat about 1/2 acre a day. Generally, you want the animals in the smallest area, to get the best clearing. Still, moving fences daily can be tiring, especially if it is rough terrain or thick brush.

How much fencing do you need? has an excellent catalog with a diagram that shows you how to figure the number of fences you will need. But you still need to make a decision on how much you should have on hand. One square acre is 208.71 feet per side. The different lengths of fencing available varies from 80 up to 164 feet in length. So, for one square acre, you will need about five 164-foot-long fences. (208.71 X 4=834.84 feet,  Divide 834.84 by 164’= 5.09 fences).  

Solar electric fence charger

I usually put up 5 to 6 fences and let my 75 goats work on the area for two days. While they are getting near the end of the foliage to eat, I start setting up another section of fencing, if we have more than an acre to manage. Since I have 15 fences (I do up to 5 to 10 acres at some sites), I simply put up another section of fence and then when the goats are done, I open up a corner and let them into the new area, close the fence and take up 3/4 of the first set of fencing, basically leap-frogging the fences as we move along.

Fence clips on pigtails.

Fencing along creeks can be a challenge. If there is a wide and deep enough stream of water and no trees lying across the creek, I fence directly to the water, using the water as one side of the fencing. I don’t have any goats that are into swimming, so I don’t worry as long as the water is deep and wide. I did make a mistake one time and didn’t get clear to the water and one of my problem goats found it and led the rest down along the edge of the river. 

Fencing in areas where there are people can be a liability. You really need to have warning signs up along the fence and if there is a way to keep the area taped off, I recommend setting up warning tape at least five feet outside of the fence. Believe it or not, there is always that one person who has to challenge the fence and will grab it, just to see if it is hot. With the warning signs up, you shouldn’t have to warn them yourself.  

The fencing is for controlling both the goats, people, predators and people with yappy dogs that ‘won’t hurt a fly’. If you have guardian dogs or herding dogs, make sure you put warnings up along the fence stating the working dogs are on duty and to keep other dogs and pets away. That fence is protection, make it a boundary that no one can cross.

The only time the fence is not hot is when I am doing an educational talk, so people can line up along the fence, to hear me. They will always touch the fence, so I make sure that it is off only during those times.

Mary Powell is a goat rental business owner and agricultural educator with 30 years’ experience working on ranches, farms and feedyards. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Kansas State University with an emphasis in Livestock Production Management. Follow Mary and her many misadventures with the goats on Facebook at Barnyard Weed Warriors and Ash Grove Goat Ranch or on her website.  If you have questions for her about her goats or Border Collies, email Mary at Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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