Prepared by BIODESIC STRATEGIES
PORTABLE ELECTRIC FENCE
Materials, Pricing and Installation
After much research and consultation with the Greedy Goat, a local organization that lends its goats to Fayetteville’s parks to control poison ivy and brush, it appears that a portable electric fence alone would not be enough to permanently contain goats. So they recommended a more secure fencing system to act as a fixed pen for the goats while the electric fence could be used to control grazing patterns within their permanent pen and outside. The electric fence works with goats but they are capable of escaping if they really want to. So the best way to use the electric fence would be for day use when someone could monitor the goats and grazing zone. The whole property could still benefit from the controlled grazing while when there isn’t time to oversee grazing, the goats can be left in their permanent pen.
The electric fencing is required to keep the goats safe from predators, sometimes, by preventing them from escaping away from our protection and care. These goats would otherwise be sent to the slaughterhouse, and the fencing is necessary, not to exploit them, but to provide them a safe, happy, healthy life. The goats quickly recognize the effect of the fence, and only dare to touch it when they are determined to reach some food on the other side. By maximizing the availability of their preferred foods the incentive to brave the fence is decreased.
With these concerns aside, knowing we are caring in our actions, we continue.
Movable Electric Fence and Options
Fence Netting – The fence itself, containing the netting and the posts.
Energizer Unit – The energizer takes power from a battery and electrifies the fence. The energizer unit will always connect to the fence and a grounding rod. Once an animal touches the fence the circuit is complete and a shock is delivered.
- Solar Energizer – Buy solar panels separately to connect and charge a battery which connects to energizer. Energizer then normally connects to fence and grounding rod.
- Solar Energizer kit (All in one) – A kit that has a solar panel, energizer and battery in one unit.
- DC Battery Energizers – Buy a 12v battery that connects and powers a energizer. Charge up the 12v separately. Maybe have two batteries that can be interchanged.
- DC Battery Energizer kit – Energizer and rechargeable battery in one unit .
- AC Plug- In (Mains) Energizer – Energizer that gets power from an outlet (Probably not preferably for our situation)
Connection Wires – The wires used to hook up energizer to the fence and grounding rod.
Grounding Rod – Hooks up to energizer and is used to complete the circuit.
Charge Tester – Small device used daily to check and make sure fence has appropriate charge. Without proper charge the electric fence will not be effective.
*Polypropylene (non conductive) twine* – used to safely secure electric fence posts to extra support posts, steaks, fencing, buildings, etc.
Permanent Fence Options
For permanent fences, there a few things to keep in mind. The fence has to be very sturdy to keep the goats in. The cheaper the fence, the more often repairs and replacements will take place. Many farmers recommend buying higher quality fencing so you don’t have to replace it every 3 or so years. Also the spacing of the fence squares needs to be appropriate for goats. If spacing is too large, the goat can get it’s head caught and won’t be able to get free. The recommended size is 4” x 4” or smaller for the squares. Appropriate fence options:
Redtop Wire Fencing (Recommended by Greedy Goats, can get at Lowes)
A stronger option: Some websites suggest a stronger (although more expensive) wire fencing. The below option for example:
Sections of fencing panel with wood posts or T-posts:
Can use appropriate cattle, goat or horse panels attached to secure posts.
*There are a few fence options that can contain the goats
Other Fence requirements:
- Quality Fence Gate
- Bracing Wire
- Fence Staples
- Fence Stretcher
Examples of sturdy permanent fences for containing goats:
Issues with goats and non-electric fencing
Pricing and Purchasing
Pricing depends on the size and breed of goats which affects the required size of netting. Most products can be ordered online directly from manufacturer.
The Greedy Goat recommended Kencove for our electric fencing supplies, another highly recommended brand is Premier1.
They recommended getting the permanent fence supplies at Lowes.
Pricing on Premier1 Netting:
Single spike posts – 164’ x 35” – $119
Single spike posts – 82’ x 35” – $95
ElectroStop® & ElectroStop® Plus – (taller, extra twine,) (bigger, stronger)
Single spike – 164’ x 42” – $144
Single spike – 82’ x 42” – $104
Double spike – 100’ x 42” – $155
Double spike – 50: x 42” – $114
Pricing on Kencove Netting:
Electric Netting 14/48/7 (Taller, larger squares, cheaper)
164’ x 48” – $150
82’ – $97
Electric Netting 14/48/3½ (Shorter, smaller, more squares in net)
164’ x 48” – $180
82’ – $116
Electric Netting 9/40/7 (Taller, larger squares, cheaper)
125’ x 40” – $125
82’ x 40” – $81
Electric Netting 10/40/3½ (Shorter, smaller, more squares in net)
164’ x 40” – $145
82’ x 40” – $94
Recommended energizer setups:
These options come in more powerful or weaker version depending on length/size of fence. Costs change accordingly.
Solar Kits – This is the option we will probably go with. The kits are convenient because they include everything needed to operate an electric fence. Almost everything is in one unit while the wiring and ground rod are included with kit purchase. Most kits even include the charge tester.
Includes everything to set up and run an electric fence. Just ‘plug and play’. Includes tester.
Includes everything you need including charge tester. Website stats:
- High output
- Half the cost of others
- Vandal and theft resistant
- Very portable
- Strong rust-free metal case
- Warranty includes lightning damage
- Has AC adapter
- Includes cables
- Steel case
- Built in performance meter
- Lasts up to 21 days without sunlight
Battery Energizers – Option is good for piecing together supplies. Will have to purchase energizer, battery, battery charger, wiring, ground rod and charge tester separately.
- EzePower™ (9 volt) Dry Batteries – $25-$48
- Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle (12 volt) Batteries – $23-$180
- 330’ x 48” – Around $130
- 100’ x 48” – $71
- 330’ x 48” – $235
- 330’ x 36” – $90
- 330’ x 53 “ – $239
*Can add electrified offset wire toward bottom of fence as another option
- 16’ x 42” panels – $15 per panel (graduates from 3” x 8” squares at bottom to 6” x 8” squares at top)
- 6’ tall T Posts – around $4 each
- Wood post options ?
Installing and Use
The movable electric fence is easy to set up and get going:
- To set up netting and posts, first untie bundle
- Walk backwards along desired fence parameter, dropping posts on ground and spacing out netting
- Once diameter is charted, secure first post (tie post with non conductive wire to another support i.e. steak, fence, building, etc.)
- Put up remaining posts, keeping netting tight as you go
- Once all posts are up, put in ground rod
- Set up energizer on stand or in desired location
- Attach grounding wire to from energizer to grounding rod
- Attach hot wire from energizer to metal clip on end post of netting
- Turn on and check energizer
- Regularly check fence voltage with charge tester
Tips for movable fence,
- Keep grass and foliage short around fence
- Goats have been known to get caught up up netting – mostly because of no voltage or low voltage
- Add supports to corners for longer periods of use – use a T-post about 6 in. away and tie with non conductive twine
- Be cautious for netting gets caught in woody areas while setting up
- Any weeds that grow up and touch netting can drain electricity from the battery
Tips for fixed fence,
- Leave about 4 inches between bottom of fence panels and the ground – for easier weeding and maintenance (you will go through a lot of weed eater line hitting bottom of fence)
- Build solid braces on either side of gate
- Wooden posts suggested be 2 foot deep in ground
While proper fencing is a costly initial investment, it can be a lasting resource for many years.
What we need to do to get ready for fencing
- Go to fence class hosted by Greedy Goat at Tri Cycle Farms in June
- Find out how many goats we plan on having
- How big our temporary grazing paddocks will need to be with our number of goats (maybe use fencing calculator on Red Brand website)
- How large our permanent fence will need to be to accommodate the number and type of goats we plan on having
- Decide which equipment will suite our needs
So we would like to know what are your thoughts? Do you have any experience with fencing to protect goats? Let us know if you have any recommendations or advice on the subject.
Written by Chase Jones with contribution by Täs Zinck