Fencing for goats has been a challenge for many homesteaders. Anyone who has had goats or has been interested in getting goats has heard the warnings: “If your fence can hold water, it can hold goats. Otherwise, say goodbye to your landscaping!” Thanks to the best portable electric fence for goats, these hard-to-contain animals are suddenly much easier to keep on the homestead!
Qualities of Good Fences for Goats
Because of a goat’s natural curiosity, they tend to try to climb or jump out of a fence. Additionally, they can get bored easily. A goat’s man hobby is eating, but outside of that, they have endless time to test your fences!
You need fencing that is either sturdy enough to withstand constant pushing, climbing, chewing, and rubbing, or a fence that will deter them from doing those things.
For us, using an electrified netting fence has been the solution to that problem! Now that we are moving them to new ground weekly, they are entertained by the changing scenery and food. Also, the electric charge keeps them off the fencing and in the pasture where we want them to be.
What is the Best Portable Electric Fence for Goats?
After deciding to use portable electric fencing for your goats, you have to determine what is the best one to buy for your homestead!
We use Premier1 Supplies fencing for all of our animals. It has been the most effective solution for fencing our animals.
The Portable Electric Fence we Use for Our Goats
Specifically, for our goat herd, we use two of these electric nets.
This specific fence is 35″ tall once installed. The fence posts are built into the net for extreme ease of use. In total, the fence with the posts only weighs 14 pounds.
Hopefully you’ve read the above pros and cons list above to understand why I say that this fence checks all of our boxes!
We’ve found it to be extremely flexible for our hilly terrain and effective at keeping our ornery Nigerian Dwarf goats safe.
I’m able to maneuver the fence up and down as needed, and required repairs have been minimal. The only repair we’ve had to make on our goat fence was due to me not realizing I had caught the net on a very sharp root as I began pulling it down the hill, tearing the electrified strand. We had it fixed faster than it took us to find the repair kit we hadn’t needed for the first two years!
The Energizer we Use to Power Our Portable Electric Fence
Our energizer from Premier1 can be viewed here.
This energizer will power 3-5 rolls of the netting we use for our goats. It allows us to have powered electric fencing in areas that we don’t have power to run to, like the woods or far out into our pastures.
The energizer does come with a 3-year warranty (you can view the terms on their website). The battery itself comes with a 30 day warranty.
Again, ultimate flexibility!
Customer Service and Product Information
In addition to the benefits of the fence itself, Premier1 has provided us with fantastic customer support. Their troubleshooting content on their website informative and helpful. We’ve also had the run of the mill email questions answered promptly and effectively. The informative videos made the learning curve much easier to handle and helped most of our troubleshooting issues right away.
Over the phone their customer service is excellent as well. Knowing that we purchased a product that comes with so much assistance and information was worth a lot to us. Not to mention the product itself being effective and easy to use.
If you are looking for ultimate flexibility with an extremely dependable product, the Premier1 Supplies systems are the best electric fence for goats that we have found!
What Is a Portable Electric Fence?
Portable electric fencing goes by numerous names:
- Electric Netting Fence
- Electric Nets
- High-Tensile Wire
- Hot Wire
- Electric Wire Fence
- Electrified Temporary Fence
Essentially, these names all refer to the idea of a type of fencing. This fencing is often made using a combination of an electrified wire that is braided together with an insulated material, such as durable plastic, to make a portable, yet secure fence for livestock.
The bottom wire is not electrified to prevent grounding out, but the higher horizontal strands are electrified to deliver the necessary shock to anything going out or in. With the use of a ground rod attached to an electric fence charger, the fence carries an electric charge sufficient at keeping livestock contained and predators at bay.
Plastic posts or, the most durable, fiberglass posts, are built into the electrified netting so that you can simply insert the posts into the ground as you begin to fence off your enclosed area.
Most kits will also provide corner posts for areas needing extra support.
We use an electric netting made up of small, close together squares, for our chickens and ducks.
For our cows, we use two single strands of electrified wire with fiberglass posts.
Finally, for our goat fence, we use an electric netting with medium sized squares to keep them safe.
Pros of Portable Electric Fence for Goats
Upfront Cost of Portable Goat Fencing
The upfront cost of portable electric fencing is much less expensive than the amount needed for a permanent, or semi-permanent, perimeter fence. Economical goat keeping is important to us, as with all of our animals. Our electric fencing systems help to make that possible!
The electric nets are the best fence to utilize our entire property, without having to invest in fencing the entire thing! Just think of how many fence posts it would take to fence in 10 acres! The goats never need 10 acres at a time, so why fence it?
Easy to Maneuver and Handle
On our homestead we practice rotational grazing.
Rotational grazing is a practice that involves moving your animals across your available pasture in a designated area, often a small area, to provide new food, fresh, clean ground, and a controlled amount of disturbance to the land.
Because we only have 10 acres, each square foot feels precious to us. We do not want to keep animals in one place for a long time. If we do that, the property will begin to have dead zones, lack of native food, and sanitation problems for the animals.
Thanks to portable electric fences, we can practice rotational grazing with our goats easily, and safely!
Since we are moving fencing frequently, it is our most time consuming homestead chore. However, because we are spending the time moving them, we aren’t spending time cleaning up manure and spent bedding!
If you want more information about what our homesteading routines look like, you can check that out here.
Even on uneven ground, portable electric fences can maneuver easily. Permanent wire fencing has a much more difficult time with uneven land, and once installed, is no longer flexible should you change your mind.
Other types of fencing options might use materials like cattle panels or hog panels, woven wire fence, wooden posts, pallet fences, or welded wire fence materials. All of these are permanent, or semi-permanent fence options that have limited applications and they don’t work easily on uneven ground.
This type of fencing provides the ultimate flexibility in our homesteading endeavors.
Perfect for Smaller Homesteads
If you are living on a smaller homestead, chances are your pasture is in short supply. Coming up with portable systems for your animals can help to prolong your grazing time, thus saving you money on hay and feed! Moving your animals also helps to avoid predator pressure. Additionally, you won’t end up with dead zones on your homestead that are ugly as well as sanitation risks to your animals.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy cleaning chicken coops or mucking out goat yards. Using electric netting allows me to move my goats on a weekly basis which fertilizes my pastures rather than turning them into dust baths.
Thanks to the frequent moves, during the growing season especially, the goats always have forage to eat because we aren’t allowing them to kill back plants entirely.
Minimal Maintenance of Electric Fence Netting
Unlike permanent fencing, portable electric fencing requires minimal maintenance. Even if a tree falls onto the fence, it will simply bend out of the way like a plastic string.
Welded wire, wooden fence posts, etc would break!
If one of the electric fence wires does break, most kits will come with repair kits to fix your fence. We’ve had to fix a few lines before and it’s as simple as tying the broken wire to the repair wire and using the provided clamps to clamp it into place. It’s quite easy!
Keeping Goats Contained
Due to the inquisitive nature of goats, they are notoriously difficult to keep contained. Goats need to be contained to be safe.
Poisonous plants, passing traffic, and predators all pose risks to your goats. Instead of providing a physical barrier, electric fencing provides a psychological barrier to curious young goats and even wise, mature does!
We have Nigerian Dwarf goats. This breed are specifically quite well known for being ornery. When they were in a permanent fence, they spent all their free time pushing on the welded wire and trying to pull, chew, and climb their way out! After coming into contact with the electric fence just once, the goats have been kept safely contained ever since!
I’ve also heard pygmy goats are difficult to keep in a fence despite being the smaller goat breeds.
Portable electric fencing for goats is the best option for deterring predators. Surprisingly, the most common predator on farms and homesteads are stray dogs!
A permanent perimeter fence invites continuous curiosity and attempts from predators. Predators that are interested in your livestock are attracted to the sounds and smells they make. Within a permanent fence, the predators will be attracted to the build up of manure and urine. They will learn the routine of the humans caring for them, and can challenge the fence. Eventually, they might break through.
Employing electrified barriers, especially used as portable fencing, deters predators almost entirely if used properly.
Because you are moving the animals regularly, that action alone helps to confuse and deter pests. Additionally, having a good charge on your fence should knock out the predator problem.
Fast Set-Up of Temporary Fencing
If you are simply in need of a temporary fencing option, use temporary electric netting! If you already have permanent fencing, but want an option for breeding, quarantining new animals, or any other short-notice animal related need, having a roll of electric netting on hand is a great way to get fencing set up quickly.
Additionally, if you are hoping to set up permanent fencing, using portable electric fencing is a good option to trial the locations of your future permanent set ups. One of the biggest wastes of money on a homestead is needing to redo infrastructure. Using portable electric fencing to test where you want your permanent fencing will allow you to move around until you settle on the perfect final location.
Cons of Portable Electric Fence for Goats
The Initial Learning Curve
The initial learning curve can feel like a barrier to entry with portable electric fences, but can be overcome with practice!
Portable fences are meant to be worked with. Learning to do so is a skill in and of itself.
The first time you work with an arm full of electric net, expect to get tripped up and frustrated! You should probably plan on it taking a bit longer than you think as well.
However, with just a few practice rounds, you’ll be amazed at your improvment in working with it. Not to mention, the time you will save in having to clean a goat yard from a stationary fence!
Setting Up Free from Obstructions
Anywhere the fence touches the ground or non-insulated materials like grass, takes away from the available power. To prep for your fence, you might have to weed eat or cut a path to make sure your net is free from obstructions.
This is the most cumbersome part of using these. In the height of summer, we have to keep an eye on the height of our grass.
In the woods, we have to make sure we aren’t too close to rose bushes or low hanging branches.
Safety (Especially Around Children)
To me, the most important thing to consider is safety using this type of fence, especially around young kids.
For the most part, these fences are very safe. However, the main safety concern is the fence delivering a shock to someone’s head.
If you have children on the homestead, or visiting often, keep in mind how you want to prevent this from ever happening.
Other Considerations for Portable Electric Fences for Goats
Another important factor to consider when looking at portable electric fencing for goats is your desired level of involvement and the application you plan on using it. The things that I might consider pros, you might consider cons.
You also might consider using a permanent fence as your main fence that your goats have less contact with, while you use the portable electric fencing within that. This can be a great option for someone on a busy road, or someone who doesn’t want to move as much portable fencing around.
Goat farmers should have flexibility too!