We have a 4-ft (1.2 m) high fence (with a hog wire mesh) between our house yard and pasture.

I want to release Nubian goats into the pasture. But a Nubian will rear up, butt the front feet on the fence, and can extend the head and neck out 3 ft (90 cm) horizontally (the rascals!) to eat the dwarf trees and bushes on the other side of the fence.

How can I modify the fence so the goats cannot get at the yard plants?

I can't use an electric fence, due to grandchildren.

  • 34
    Don't grandchildren normally learn almost as quickly as goats? Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 0:33
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    @A.I.Breveleri Especially if they take a leak on it
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 0:37
  • 4
    Goats can jump 4ft pretty easily. Might need to rethink.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 8:31
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    In my experience as a goatherd (amateur, but for v. many years), there's nothing on God's green earth that can prevent a determined goat from doing what it's going to do. They'll figure a way around anything to get to costly but tasty plants. Try planting plenty of tastier plants in their browsing area (black gum and sweet gum are goat candy!)(Btw. goats aren't grazers by nature; they're browsers. They'd much rather eat leaves and tender branches than grass.) Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 1:03
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    I am not sure I understand correctly, but the 4 ft tall fence was put in place mostly for decorative purposes, right? If you want (any kind of) protection, why do you hesitate to install a taller fence? I do not mean fortress / prison walls, but at least psychologically relevant... According to Wikipedia: "Height: : Male: average: 90 cm (35 in); Female: average: 80 cm (31 in)". The goats can look over the fence with no more effort than raising their heads. The fence is no obstacle for them in any sense of the word.
    – virolino
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 13:14

3 Answers 3


Move the fence three feet toward the pasture.

  • Simple and effective, assuming the goats don't have other skills not mentioned here
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 0:46
  • Put barb wire on the top and electrify it if you can.
    – Gil
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 0:56
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    @Gil Electiricifed barb wire usually not recommended around young children, smooth wire is.
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 1:32
  • As noted above, @crip659, children learn too... :)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 18:36
  • @FreeMan, children get tangled in barbed wire. They jump back from smooth wire.
    – Mark
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 23:59

If the grandchildren are not going to go in the pasture, then it would be cost-effective to use pigtails (that's what they are called down under) and put an electric fence inside the current fence, perhaps 2 ft in. You can get solar-powered energizers for them.

You push them into the ground with your foot (on the white hook at the bottom) and lay out the electrical tape through the pigtail. They work for horses, cows, and sheep. Haven't tried it with goats. Your local farm shop may be able to advise you.

A pack of them - Pigtails

In Use One


Horizontal fence.

horizontal fence

This will be on the pasture side, mounted at right angles (black) to your existing fence (brown). The pink stuff is meant to be chicken wire or something similar. Goats can go under it but they cant poke their heads up thru it. Goats can prop themselves up on the black new right angles but they will be too far away to reach heads over the brown existing fence.

If instead of chicken wire it was made of something opaque or semi-opaque it could also serve as a sun shade for the goats and they could rest underneath on hot days.

  • Elegant solution, +1. Only needs to be where the tree is provided they aren't inclined to jump. Goats and deer are very much alike, and a deer can jump a 7 foot fence. I never saw a goat jump a 7 foot fence, but they can destroy them if they're determined. (Our goat enclosures were 6 feet tall, but mostly they were free. They were penned in at night for their own safety.) Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 0:58
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    I dunno, seems to me a goat would look at that and go "ooh, nice, a ledge I can jump on to make getting over the fence easier!" :)
    – Martha
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 17:01
  • Excellent point, @Martha. Make the "horizontal" fence part not so horizontal. Slope it back into the yard so the silly goats jump on and slide off. The first one who tries will be laughed at by the pack and they'll all learn quickly.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 18:38

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