Your fencing is so important when it comes to keeping your goats where you want them to be. And one of the options available is to use an electric fence for goats.
When we first moved to our current homestead we didn’t have any existing fencing. The land was overgrown and the terrain mountainous. And while we did make some pastures using the standard woven goat wire fence, electric fence was the best option for many of our goat pastures.
Don’t worry- electric fences are totally safe for your goats. If they get zapped by the hot wires, it will sting but it isn’t dangerous for them, even very young goats. And usually all it takes is once and they won’t touch it again!
How to Set Up an Electric Fence for Goats
Electric fencing can be a great option for full pastures. We use it in our most uneven terrain pasture and haven’t had any problems with escaping goats.
To set up your electric fence you will need:
- Galvanized steel wire or aluminum wire
- T-post Insulators
- Corner post insulators
- Electric fence charger (Always better to get one stronger than you think you need!)
- Grounding rods (2-3 is optimum)
To place your fence, dig in your t-posts about 12-16 ft apart. This is another plus of using electric fencing for goats as opposed to woven wire- you don’t need as many posts!
You will want to have 4-5 strands of electric wire for your goat fence, which means each t-post will need 4-5 insulators on them. We like to place these insulators as we pound the posts in since it saves a little time.
Once you have your posts up along the perimeter of your fence line, it’s time to string the wire.
We start our electric fences with corner post insulators. Simply attach the insulator to your starting point and wrap the wire around. Do this for each strand of wire.
Related Reading: 6 Fencing Mistakes That Are Costing You Time and Money
We place our hot wires about every 9 inches. So 9 inches above the ground, then at 18 inches, 27 inches, and 36 inches for a 4-strand fence.
Pull the wire tight when stringing it so that it doesn’t sag. In corners you will need to use the corner insulators again.
When you get to your stopping point, secure the wire to the end insulator, being sure to pull the wire tight.
We are able to get an 4-5 strand electric fence for a 1+ acre pasture up in just a few hours- much quicker than pulling woven wire! And much less expensive!
When it comes to installing your electric fence charger it is best to follow the directions on the one you have purchased.
In general, you will need to attach the charger to the fence and then also to your grounding rods. Follow the instructions to set this up correctly.
Pros of Using Electric Fence for Goats
It is cheaper. Woven wire is EXPENSIVE. So if you have a large pasture- electric fencing is much more cost effective.
Easier to construct on uneven or hilly terrain. We have tons of hills and dips and whatever our mountains might decide to give us! Woven wire can be a nightmare to do without leaving gaps where a goat might get under (and get stuck). Electric wire won’t have this issue.
It is quicker to install. Woven wire can take a lot of pulling to get tight enough and it takes time to wire each post 3-4 times with t-post clips. Electric is much quicker and easier to pull tight and it takes no time to get the wire in the insulators.
Your goats can’t climb or push on the fence. And most goats will respect the hot wires. They can sense the current and usually won’t go near it. They don’t want to get hit with 7,000 volts!
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Fencing on the Farm
Cons of Using Electric Fences for Goats
The main con of an electric fence for goats is that it is only a psychological barrier, meaning if the goat is stubborn or really wants to cross that barrier they can.
I have never had a problem in this area, but it can be an issue especially during breeding season. We do not use electric fencing for our bucks in the fall since they will do anything to get to the does- even get shocked.
The fence could fail. You could have a power failure, battery failure, charger failure. Things like limbs, weeds, and even bugs can short out your fences every now and again.
Our goats seem to be used to the electric being there so that even when the fence does go down, as long as we get it back working ASAP they don’t test it. Though I am sure if it were down for a week they would realize and start exploring!
It’s more work to keep the fence line clean. In the summer, it can be a hassle to keep the fence line trimmed. Your goats can’t eat along it like they do with wire fences, and if you let the weeds and grass get to high the fence will ground out.
If you are looking for other fencing options- be sure to check out my post on the different fencing options for goats.
Other Ways to Use Electric Fence for Goats
In addition to fencing full pastures, you can use electric fences in other ways with your goats.
Electric fencing is a great way to divide pastures for rotational grazing. They are simple to construct to divide larger pastures into smaller ones.
You can also use a single strand of electric along the top of a physical woven wire fence. This is great for bucks and for goats that are stubborn and like to climb or jump your fences.
Electric netting can also be used to create quick, temporary areas for your goats to graze. If you have a problem area on your property you can use this electric netting to fence your goats in for a few hours or the day while they eat down the weeds and brush in that area.
We love our electric fence for our goat herd and have used it successfully for the past 6 years. If you need a good, inexpensive, and quick to put up fence- give it a try!