Guest post by Greg Christiansen
One of the obstacles to enlarging your goat herd and increasing your goat acres, is the cost and labor involved with fencing large acreages for pasturing goats.
By utilizing even an old broken down cow fence that hasn’t kept cattle in for years, and a couple electric wires placed 6 to 12 inches in front of it, you can do as I have done and successfully keep hundreds of goats in the pastures where they belong. It is rare that I get the dreaded phone call from one of my neighbors, or worse, the sheriff, that my goats are out.
This is not only economical, about $.08/ft., for your post and wire, but also the least labor intensive method I’ve found to fence goats. That’s a win, win.
There are a few things I’ve learned in stringing electric wire over the years that make it easier to build and more efficient to maintain.
I always use 12.5 gauge hi-tensile wire. It carries electricity better than smaller wire and is much tougher and longer lasting than cheaper wire.
I used to attach the electric wire to the same post the barbwire is fastened to. That seemed to result in the electric wire getting snagged into the barbwire and shorting out the fence on a regular basis. Now I use a separate post, usually a 3/8 fiberglass, placed 6-12 inches in front of the barbwire fence. This cost is less than putting “stand off” type insulators on your T – post and is much more trouble free.
When we run our wires to a corner and begin to turn the corner to go another direction, we start with another corner insulator and begin our wire again instead of keeping it in one piece and running it around the corner and on to the next leg of fence. Keep the tail of wire long enough to reach the next run of fence. Put some bends or coils in the wire to make it more like a spring and slide an insultube on it for a handle, put a hook in the wire and use this as a jumper wire between the two runs of fence line hooking it across the corner. If there is a problem with the fence I can go to any corner and unhook the jumper and work on that leg of the fence without worrying about getting shocked. I can also disconnect the power to any pasture that we are not using at the time and direct our energy to another pasture.
You will definitely want to get a good fence compass so you’ll be able to quickly hunt down faults in miles of fence, when they occur.
You can find more fencing ideas and other help in raising pasture meat goats in Greg's book, Raising Meat Goats In A Commercial Operation available on his website, in The Goat Rancher Magazine , and on Amazon.