Goat Fencing: Designing Secure and Safe Enclosures

Whether you’re starting a commercial goat farming operation or raising goats as a hobby, a well-designed, secure and safe enclosure is an essential element of goat care. The right fencing not only keeps your goats within the perimeters of your property but also provides protection against predators, ensures safety from harmful elements, and enables goats to express their natural behaviors.

Goat Behavior and Fencing Needs

Before diving into the types of fences suitable for goats, it’s essential to understand goat behavior and their unique fencing needs. Goats are curious, intelligent, and nimble animals with a penchant for exploration and a skill for escape. Goats are also proficient climbers and jumpers, and even small gaps or weaknesses in a fence can serve as an opportunity for escape. Thus, your goat fencing should address these behaviors.

Types of Goat Fencing

There are several types of goat fencing to consider, each with its pros and cons. These include woven wire fencing, electric fencing, cattle panels, and combination fencing.

Woven Wire Fencing: Often referred to as sheep and goat fence, this type is constructed from interwoven wires creating a grid with small openings at the bottom that gradually increase in size towards the top. This design prevents small goats from squeezing through while also providing a barrier against predators. It is a durable, albeit costly, option for long-term use.

Electric Fencing: This consists of multiple strands of wire carrying a mild electric charge. When touched, the fence delivers a slight shock, discouraging goats from pushing against or attempting to jump over it. Electric fencing can be a cost-effective solution, but it requires routine maintenance to ensure that it remains electrified.

Cattle Panels: These are heavy gauge, welded wire panels, usually 16 feet long and 50 inches high, with grid squares small enough to prevent goats from escaping. They are durable, easy to install and move, but can be cost-prohibitive for large pastures.

Combination Fencing: This strategy combines woven wire fencing with a strand or two of electrified wire. This hybrid system provides the benefits of physical and psychological barriers, deterring even the most determined goats.

Design Considerations

  1. Height: Goats can easily jump a 4-foot fence, especially if they have a running start. Fences should ideally be around 5 feet high, or even higher for active breeds or bucks.
  2. Sturdiness: Goats will lean, climb, and push against fences out of curiosity or to reach food on the other side. To withstand this pressure, fences should be strong and properly supported with well-set posts.
  3. Spacing: If using a grid or mesh-style fence, ensure that the gap size is small enough to prevent goats’ heads from getting stuck.
  4. Security: To protect your goats from predators, the fencing should be secure at the bottom. This could mean burying the fence several inches into the ground or adding an apron of fence material laid out from the fence base to prevent digging under.

Fencing Material

Fence posts are critical components of your goat fence and can be made of wood, metal, or even sturdy plastic. Wooden posts are traditional and robust but require treatment to prevent rot. Metal posts, like T-posts, are easier to install and are highly durable. Plastic posts are typically used for electric fencing and are lightweight and easy to move.

The fencing material should be galvanized for longevity and weather resistance. In the case of electric fencing, you can choose between a metal wire, tape, or rope, each offering varying degrees of visibility and conductivity.


Regular fence inspections and maintenance are crucial. Look for signs of wear and tear, loose or broken wires, and ensure the fence is still secure at the base. For electric fences, regularly check the power output and immediately fix any faults or short circuits.

Training Your Goats

For electric fencing, goats need to be trained to understand that the fence should be avoided. This usually happens naturally, as goats are curious animals and will touch the fence, receiving a shock that deters future encounters.


Designing a secure and safe goat enclosure requires a sound understanding of goat behavior and a careful selection of fencing type, design, and material. No single solution fits all circumstances, and the best fence for your goats will depend on factors like your property size, topography, the number of goats, their breed and behavior, your budget, and local predator pressure. By giving due consideration to these factors, you can create a fencing system that will keep your goats safe, secure, and happy.

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