How to Keep Goats from Getting Stuck in a Fence

goat with its head stuck in the fence

If you’re wondering how to keep your goats from getting stuck in a fence, you’ve come to the right place. Goats are fun, enjoyable animals to raise – but there’s no questioning the fact that they are wiley, mischievous creatures. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to keep your goats safe. So, how do you keep goats from getting stuck in a fence?

To help prevent goats from getting their heads stuck in a fence, start by choosing the right kind of fencing and lining your paddocks with electric wire. Next, pay attention to your goats’ behaviors and unique personalities. This can help identify why they get stuck, such as reaching for weeds through the fence.

Ready to learn more? Keep reading to find out everything you can do to keep your goats from becoming tangled up in your fencing.

What Kind of Fence is Best to Prevent Goats from Getting Stuck?

A classic saying you might hear about building fences for goats is that if water can get through a fence, so can goats. 

Of course, that’s an exaggeration, but not much of one! The rule of thumb is that if a goat can get its head through a fence, it can get its body through. All fencing should be at least four to five feet high (taller if you have very active goats). 

Woven wire tends to be the most common fence type for goats, but the problem is that the openings tend to be quite large and allow goats to easily get their heads stuck. To prevent this, use woven wire with four-inch openings (at the largest) or run a hot strand of electric on the interior of the fence to prevent them from approaching it. 

That way, you’ll get all the height-related benefits of woven wire with the deterrent-effect of the electric.

Similarly, you can also use goat panels or cattle panels that have graduated spacing. The taller they are, the better. Again, electric fencing can be used as an interior barrier. 

You can always use electric fencing by itself for goats, but remember when you are placing your wires that goats are just as likely to go under a fence as they are over it. You’ll need multiple wires with the bottom wires kept close to the ground. You may want to use a solar-powered fence charger for added protection in the case of a power outage and use a high-voltage charger, too, to keep the goats contained.

At a minimum, you’ll want a 4,000 to 5,000-volt charger, but you might need even more if you’re raising particularly tenacious goats or fiber goats with thick natural insulation.

How to Get a Goat’s Head Out of a Fence

Finding a goat with its head stuck in a fence is one of the most stressful experiences you can have. Fortunately, it is rarely life-threatening. As long as you check your herd often and your goat doesn’t lay on its side with its head stuck for too long, it should be fine.

Approach your goat slowly so that you don’t cause it to panic. Work on the same side of the fence as the goat, moving up to it calmly and picking it up by its hind legs. Lift the goat like a wheelbarrow and, as gently as you can, tip the goat forward and pull backward. Tipping the goat forward will lower its head just enough so that when you pull back, it should slip out of the fence.

It may help to have someone work with you from the other side of the fence and to work the wire of the fence out from around the goat’s horns as you pull backward. In very rare cases, you may need to break or bend the wire around the horns to get it loose.

Tips to Prevent Goats from Getting Their Heads Stuck in Fences

Mow and Weed Whack Around Your Fences

Keep all brush and grass closely cut near the fence. This will reduce the temptation for your goats to stick their heads through the fence in the first place. Keeping your goats on fresh pasture with plenty of food to eat can also help eliminate the likelihood that they’ll try to stretch through the fence for a more appealing bite.

Choose Polled or Disbudded Goats

A polled goat is one that naturally does not have any horns, while one that has been disbudded has had its horns removed as a young kid. Although goats can certainly get other body parts stuck in fences, more often than not, it’s the horns you have to worry about. 

PVC Pipe

One tip that many homesteaders rely on to teach their goats not to stick their heads in fences is to tape, glue, or otherwise affix a piece of PVC pipe to their horns. Duct tape tends to be the most effective, as it won’t damage the horns of your goats and super glue doesn’t hold all that well, anyway. 

Simply cut the PVC pipe a bit wider than the holes in the fence your goat tends to get stuck in, then use duct tape to wrap a figure 8 shape around each side where the pipe meets the horn.

Often, this won’t be a permanent solution, and your goats will look a little funny in the meantime, but it can help prevent your goats from becoming entangled in the fence.

Time Your Goats

Something else you can do to prevent your goats from getting their heads stuck in fences has less to do with preventing the initial snafu and more to do with teaching your goats how to free themselves. This technique will only work with younger goats who have the capacity to learn, but it can be an effective way of breaking your goats’ habits. 

Set a timer each time you notice your goat get stuck in the fence. Set the timer from the moment you see the goat get stuck until the moment you get her out (or she frees herself). Usually, they’ll figure it out themselves, but the timer is important so you don’t let them struggle too long, which can be harmful to your goats’ health and potentially cause injury. 

Over time, you should notice the amount of time that your goats are stuck decreases. Again, don’t let them struggle too long, as prolonged stress can cause problems with the rumen or even lead to injury. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to keeping your goats from getting stuck in a fence, and getting them loose, a bit of prevention goes quite a long way. It’s much easier to prevent your goats from sticking their heads through the fence in the first place than it is to get them loose. 

This is especially true if you aren’t able to check on your goats often as well as in regards to predator prevention. A distressed, screaming goat with its head stuck in a fence is sure to call in coyotes, wolves, and all other kinds of hungry animals!

Plus, keeping your goats from getting stuck in the fence will prevent costly and annoying damages to your fence. When you put all that time into building and maintaining a strong, sturdy fence, there’s no sense in allowing your goats to destroy it!

Follow these tips, and you’ll keep your fence clear, and your goats safe and happy, too.

Tyler Ziton

After years of fatigue and declining health, Tyler found that good, fresh food was his answer. He learned more about healthy food by obtaining a certification in health coaching, and from there decided to grow his own food and become more self-sufficient. From gardening to learning about living off-grid, homesteading has become a good fit and pairs well with Tyler's odd childhood dream – to one day own a goat. Read more.

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