Electro-Netting vs. Polywire for Rotational Goat Fencing

Goat's-eye view

Fencing is what I spend the most time doing (and thinking about) on the farm. That's probably why I bore our readers with posts about fencing so frequently. My time is split between so many different things that saying one thing dominates another is hard to do, but fencing is a clear standout. So saddle-up for another fencing thriller: Electro-Netting vs. Polywire.

Since we rotationally graze the goats fencing is a constant topic of interest. It seems like I change how we fence the goats every few weeks. If we just had a single grazing area, or even just a few grazing areas, it wouldn't be such a big deal. Put up some posts, put up some fence, and then you're done. That's how 99.9% of goat farmers do it, and I can see why. Moving the goats every 3-7 days is a chore and everyone knows that chores aren't fun. However, I don't mind it. In fact, I enjoy moving the goats.

Why? Because the goats love it, and happy goats are the whole point of what we're doing. Happy goats = happy Scrapple. At least once or twice per week I get to see the joy on the goat's faces as they enter the new paddock and run around scrambling to find the best spots with the best forage. Over the subsequent days they enjoy their feast and when it looks like they're just about done I move them to a brand new spot. It's the same joy a chef must have feeding his diners.

It's also more cost-effective (lower feed costs), better for the environment (forage recovery periods, nutrient cycling, reduced carbon emissions, etc), better for the health of the goats (grain destroys proper rumen function), and better for the consumer (milk from organic, pasture-based diets is nutritionally superior to grain-fed, confinement based diets).

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Are You Ready For Some Farming?

Sophie napping on the reclamation scene

You may or may not know that Sunday was the first day of the NFL's regular season. Prior to moving to the farm I can't remember a fall Sunday where I didn't watch NFL football. Literally. Every Sunday for as long as I can remember I'd at least watch a game or two, if not more. But out here we don't have a TV signal and there's too much to do to sit down and watch TV for 3+ hours anyway. 

Did I miss football this Sunday? Yes. Definitely. There was a nostalgia for sure. Would I rather have sat on the couch or at a bar and watched the game and drank beers with friends? I don't think so.

So what was on tap instead of football?

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Goat Buck Pen - The Finer Points

Electric fence insulator, gate handle and hot wire clip

The last post on the bucks omitted a lot of the little details about the pen that we just made up on the fly, but that might be helpful for someone looking to build a pen. Before we started frequenting the Co-Op and Tractor Supply I never knew most of the stuff we use everyday even existed. I hope that by sharing the details other readers who are interested in the little stuff can get a better idea of exactly how it's all put together. I'd also love to hear feedback and what other people have done that worked well for them.

As you can see in the photos above and below, we put an electric wire around the top of the cattle panel using 2" insulator attachments that we got from Tractor Supply. The purpose having it stick 2" inward is so when the bucks climb on the fence they get zapped on the head and learn not to do that. If they are allowed to climb the fence will slowly lean over and they'll be able to climb out (and it will look ridiculous). At each gate there is a gate handle so we don't have to duck under the wire if we don't want to or if we need to bring something into the pen.

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