Monday, May 6, 2013

Confining Goats

Bucky, the goat. 
Now here's a big challenge--- confining a goat who doesn't want to be confined! Our Mr. Bucky says he's a free roaming sort of guy. Him and I disagree on this view. But he has proven to be quite a challenge to keep confined. By far he out does every other goat I've ever owned.

4 foot high fences and gates?...... Not a problem. Clears them easily.
5 foot high stone wall? ..... A you can see, he hops atop and settles down to relax. Thus a five foot fence wouldn't deter him.
Electric hot wires?..... He takes the shock and keeps on climbing through.
Stock controlling dog? .....Ha. He made friends with it, so it no longer harasses him. He's not the least bit afraid of my dogs.

Economically the only thing I've come up with so far to keep him on the property is a tie out rope. Experimenting a little, I discovered other things that didn't work. Plus I've gotten suggestions that were not acceptable options. 

Suggestion 1- put up a 6 foot high fence. Not an option. A six foot high fence requires a variance for 
along the front of a property here. On the other sides it would require an expensive permit. And besides, six foot high fencing is quite expensive for 20 areas.

Suggestion 2- make a roofed over pen for him. Confining Bucky in a small pen would be possible. But I ask myself, why do I have Bucky? He's a pet who constantly reminds me to enjoy life, seek out new opportunities, have fun. Having him spend his life in a small pen does not fit his personality. And what's the sense of having a goat in a small pen? There's no purpose in it. He would just exist, with no joy, no purpose to eating and breathing each day. He wants so much to explore and try new things, which would be totally impossible in a small pen. As you can see, I'm not much for penning animals just for the sake of owning them. Bucky needs to live, not just exist. Heck, I'd be miserable myself in a studio apartment in down town New York. Some beings just want freedom.

Suggestion 3- tie Bucky to a tire that he could drag around with him. Well, I guess the person making that suggestion thought that the tire would stop Bucky from jumping the fence. Well, it didn't work. Bucky dragged the tire to the fence, then hopped the fence....Bucky on one side, tire in the other, fence bent down low between them. I fear that if he jumped the stone wall, he might hang himself, so the tire idea as been rejected. 

Suggestion 4- have Bucky wear a weighted collar. I suppose the idea was to keep Bucky from being able to jump high, but having a goat wear weights around its neck is not a good idea for health and humane issues. 

Suggestion 5- have Bucky wear hobbles. Unlike a horse which might feel impeded by hobbles, they won't stop a goat from jumping. This person also suggested having Bucky wear a canine anti-jumping harness, I don't know if that would keep him from being able to jump, but it isn't something he could wear without supervision, Being a goat, it wouldn't take him more than a few minutes to either have his horns caught up in the harness or have the harness straps wrapped around the nearest bush. 

Suggestion 6- use a hotwire. well, I've already done that. Unless the wire hits his face, he just takes the shock and jumps forward. He's careful to avoid letting the wire touch his face. Another trick he learned rather quickly was to hook the wire with a horn and yank. Once the wire is popped off the insulators, it shorts out. No shock. 

Until I can come up with another solution, for now I use a tie out rope. I've learned that if I tie him out on a 20 foot rope for a week, I can then let him roam for a week before he gets bored and hops the fence. So for now I tie him up then let him run loose on about a weekly rotating basis.


  1. *sigh* Just let Bucky be Bucky. That way you won't have a parade of folks wearing "Free Bucky" tee shirts, da kine.

  2. "Free Bucky" idea. I can just see it now! :)

    The reason Bucky needs to be confined is that he harasses the walkers and joggers that pass by. From his point of view, he is asking them to play. From their point of view, he is attacking. Alas, Bucky needs to stay on the farm.

    I got an email suggestion of using the Invisible Fence. I happen to have a unit and collar which I haven't used on the dogs for years. Maybe it might still be working. So I will dig it out, get a new battery for the collar, and see if I can condition Bucky to it. It's worth a try. If Bucky responds well to the Invisible Fence, it would give him safe freedom of 5 acres.

  3. Oh my. At least Bucky sticks close to home. Our Elvis clears 4 foot fences easily too, but at least he stays put (unless there's an amorous doe on the other side. I read somewhere, can't remember where exactly, about taking a stout forked stick and tying it around the goats neck so that it's neck is in the "y" and the leg of the y hangs down over their chest. Supposedly when they rear up to jump, the y of the stick bangs them on the chest. They don't like it and it's supposed to break them of the habit. That's hearsay, so no guarantees!

  4. Leigh, I'll give the stick idea a try tomorrow. We'll see what Bucky thinks of it. It's worth giving it a go.

  5. Well we have a lot of people with meat goats here and they have good fences but not 6 ft high and not hot wired. Maybe it's because they have 150 goats and the goats like to hang out together more than roam far from their pals. I think a person needs to understand the animal and then an appropriate choice for containment can be made.

    Might be goats are not a good land clearing choice for us in Hawaii. I read your blog about the dozer. It makes a huge amount of sense.

  6. fences in between to give three smaler rectangular plots would also equal 100. So you have four 100 sides and two 200 sides which equals 800wood picket fence panels

  7. I'm super impressed by the wall Bucky is reclining on.

    1. Thank you. That wall I s along the front of the property, by the street. It's 20" thick at the base, tapering to 12" at the top, 800' long. And I hauled everyone of those rocks!!! Most of the rock came from my garden making projects. Some from cleaning up the pastures. And some from when a neighbor dug a trench for running a water line. Yup, a lot of rocks.

      It took 3 of us a few years to complete that wall, mainly because I gathered rocks instead of buying them. I picked rocks as I went along. I'm not a great wall builder, by a part-time helper (David) is. David built the wall face, his assistant who was learning wall building did the back, I hauled rock, cement, sand, rocks, and water .......and watched, learning a lot.