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Fencing should both keep goats in and predators out. Depending on where you live, wild dogs, coyotes and wolves will likely be eyeing your herd. A livestock guard dog is your best defense against predators, but fencing is equally important. Remember always to be a good neighbor in fencing—a popular saying among goat people is “fence for your neighbors.” An escaped goat can destroy a prized orchard, garden plot or beloved ornamentals. This is also for your own sake, as many of these decorative plants are extremely poisonous to goats.

I’ve heard many a story of a beginning farmer spending far too much valuable time retrieving escaped animals due to poor fencing. Use quality fencing, but don’t break the bank–if patchwork is what is affordable for you, just make sure to do a thorough job, as goats are crafty escape artists. If you have horned goats, keep in mind that they will likely man- age to get their heads through holes in inadequate fencing and get stuck or even hang themselves. Ask around or search Craigslist for salvaged materials. Recycled chain-link fencing, electric fencing, or temporary/semi-permanent electric net- ting are all good options.

Keeping a buck opens up a host of additional concerns, particularly when it comes to keeping him away from your inheat does until you’re ready to breed. Once a doe comes in heat, your fella will stop at nothing to get to his suitor. One or two layers of tall, strong cattle panels around your buck lot, and between your doe and buck lots, as well as a round or two of electric fencing along the middle and top will keep your boys in check.

Examine every inch of your lot for possible escape routes when preparing for your farm’s new residents and you’ll find that this initial investment of time, ingenuity and a bit of money will pay of handsomely in the end.

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