Here at The Freckled Farm we have a tendency to go a little overboard in our planning of new projects. One example of this is our fencing. Most farms we have been to or visited use a pretty standard field fence for their pastures and their pens and smaller areas meant to separate kids, etc, are frequently made from wood or cattle panels. While we were researching what type of fencing we were using we were concerned with two things, predators and escapees. Goats are notorious escape artists so we wanted to make sure they would stay IN our fence, and stay safe.
We chose a 5’ no-climb horse fence. This pretty much guarantees that our goats are staying put. Of course we still have to be careful not to put anything they could climb close to the fence. So that takes care of one of our two things, now on to the predators.
In our area we have several predators to worry about when it comes to our goats. Coyotes, Bears, and more commonly, wandering dogs, can all be dangerous to your herd. On top of that we recently learned there is a mountain lion nearby.
With 5-foot fencing we have a good deterrent. It is a high-tensile fence with posts every 8-10 feet so it would also be pretty tough to push or pull down. This should stop most dogs. Bears are unlikely to be motivated enough to do much here, etc. A fence though is not enough to protect your herd. Coyotes especially can jump a 5-foot fence with ease. I’m sure a mountain lion could do the same, if not scale the posts. So the best thing the fence really does is keep the herd in place, and keep predators from casually wandering into a meal.
Electric fencing in addition to a good high-tensile barrier fence can go a long way to stop any would be attackers. You want to make sure you have an electric wire low, to prevent digging, but also one high to prevent jumping over the fence.
After your fencing is in place you should really have a good guard animal. A guard can not only warn the herd of danger, they can fight off an attacker. Many people use dogs to achieve this, we use llamas. They are highly territorial and have the added benefit of eating what the goats do, which saves us money.
Ultimately the best defense is a good offense. Take the steps necessary not to attract predators to your area. Make sure your animals have a guard animal. Keep them from wandering with a good strong fence that they cannot climb. In the end you should have at least a two-stage system. Keep predators out, but if they get in make sure they meet up with an aggressive foe standing between them an a free meal.