The Goat Fence- take 2

 

 

Well, I believe it was about a year ago that I was so excited that I was finally able to send the goats out to their pasture.  You see, on our farm fencing for goats comes after all the cow pastures have been tended to.  We debated on how to put up a fence for the goats, knowing that a fence that doesn’t hold water will not hold a goat.  We finally settled on four strands of smooth wire, all electrified with our 100 mile Blitzer fencer. 

goat fence?
goat fence?

 I figured it would work as long as there was plenty for the goats to eat inside the fence and they would have no need to get out…wrong.  It took about a day for the girls to realize they could get through the fence (longer than it took to put the fence up).  The electric zap didn’t seem to bother them, although I know from experience that it carried a punch.  The goats spent the rest of the summer roaming the yard and munching on my shrubs.

This year I convinced Bill to put up a real goat fence.  I spent much of the winter researching different types of fencing options, weighing pros and cons and determining total cost.  I finally settled on woven wire with offset electric wires as suggested by Premier 1.  Unfortunately using the fencing from Premier was out of the question.  The cost of the wire itself is comparable to anything I can find at a local farm store but the cost to ship the stuff was nearly as much as the fence itself.  After discussing with some other goat farmers in the area I settled on a type of woven wire fence I could find at Fleet Farm.  It has larger spaces between the wires than the Premier fencing I wanted but hopefully the offset electrified wires will deter the girls from hanging their horns in it.

The fencing project started with some sturdy braces:  This is the H-Brace design described by Premier 1:

IMG_2279

We’re fortunate enough to have an abundant supply of railroad ties that make superb fence posts.  We also have a post-hole driller attachment for our skidloader that saves a lot of work when it comes to setting the wood posts.

Next Bill and I had to thump in the line posts.  For these we used steel T-posts which may get replaced by wood posts if they prove to be insufficient.  The T-posts are relatively easy to set except that with three dry years in a row the ground was terribly hard.  I let Bill line them up and get them started (if you’ve ever seen me set posts you’d know why- cRooKed).  My job was to finish the thumping- not pleasant.

 

IMG_2281

Lily, inspecting our work
Lily, inspecting our work

Next was attaching the woven wire fence.  This is not an easy task since the 330′ rolls weigh close to 200 pounds.  We ended up unrolling it from one end of the fence to the other then attaching it to the posts on the way back.  The wire was stretched one strand at a time and secured to the end H-brace.  I’m thinking this will need to be done annually to keep the fence tight as the wire stretches.  But for now it’s looking pretty good.

This one line took all day to complete and it was dark by the time we were finished so I don’t have any pictures of that yet.  Bill got some help yesterday to work on the other side of the paddock and that should be finished up today.  Hopefully by this evening the goats will head out to their new home (and my daily chores will be shortened considerably!)

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