Can You Use a Barbed Wire Fence for Goats? Pros and Cons


A goat stands behind a barbed wire fence.

Goats can be fun to raise, but they can also be the biggest troublemakers you will ever come across! That being the case, any goat owner will need a good fence to keep their hooved friends out of mischief. Is a barbed wire fence good for containing goats or will it just cause problems?

A barbed-wire fence can be used for goats but it’s not ideal. Barbed wire is most useful if predators are a problem for the goats, but if not, it is best to use something else like welded or woven wire. If a goat is trying to escape, barbed wire won’t necessarily stop them but it will still injure them.

It is perfectly fine if you still want to use barbed wire for your goats as long as you understand the risks. Read on to learn more about barbed wire, the pros and cons, and some other fencing methods as well. Hopefully, you will know which kind of fence is going to work best for you by the time you’re done!

Barbed Wire Fences

If a barbed-wire fence is your fence of choice for your goats, then there are a few things you’ll need to do to prepare. First of all, knowing the pros and cons is helpful just so you understand what you’re up against. Let’s take a look at those now.

Pros

First and foremost, barbed wire is cheap but effective. It may not be quite as solid as a wooden fence, but if you want to keep something off your property, putting up barbed wire will certainly keep it off. This wire was designed to cut and tear and destroy. Not only is it intimidating at first sight, but nothing and nobody could ever climb a barbed wire fence without suffering some serious damage to their limbs.

All you really need to construct a barbed wire fence is wire, T posts, a power drill, a hammer, hand protection, and eye protection. Most of what you need could easily be found on Amazon, Walmart, and most hardware stores (including Ace and Home Depot). If you need help you can always consult a professional, but if you are confident that you can build the fence on your own, all you need is a few videos and tutorials to teach you to do it properly.

Cons

On the other hand, barbed wire is not the most attractive fence you could choose to have on your property. It looks rather menacing and standoffish and it probably won’t make any visitors to your home feel welcome, even if its only purpose is to keep the goats in the yard.

And speaking of goats, barbed wire fences can actually be a really big problem. As mentioned before, if a goat is trying to escape its pen, the barbed wire won’t really put a stop to that. Instead, the goat will just thrash around and push through, even if the barbs are tearing at their ears, face, and stomach. Using this wire could cause some serious damage to your goats.

If you do choose to go with barbed wire, the process is very straightforward. As mentioned in the pros section, you will need hand and eye protection, wire, t-posts, a hammer, and a power drill. You will need to measure and determine the height and length of your fence before you begin. Generally, it is a good idea to have a fence that is at least six feet high if you want to keep your goats inside. Believe me when I say that these animals will do anything to escape!

Once you have determined your ideal height, start by tying off the end of the bottom line to a post and go from there. You will repeat this process with each of the lines consecutively until all of the lines have been fastened to their fence posts. You can read more about building barbed wire fences here.

Wooden Fences

When people hear the word fence, a wooden fence is most likely what comes to mind first. Wooden fences have a very nice look to them and it will definitely take a lot of effort to damage or tear one down. Here are some of the pros and cons of using a wooden fence for your goats.

Pros

First of all, wooden fences are, as mentioned before, more attractive than many types of wire fences. They can be customized in pretty much any way you want and be built with just about anything, even if it’s just scrap wood you have lying around the yard. There is a variety of fence types and designs to choose from, plus a range of costs. That means there’s a wooden fence for everybody and every budget out there.

Another nice thing about wooden fences is that you never have to doubt that they’re “working” as long as they have been installed properly. A wooden fence is probably the most sturdy and reliable option on the list. Goats will have a heck of a time pushing it over or wearing it down. If nothing else, a wooden fence will give you more peace of mind because you won’t have to worry about it getting easily ruined.

Additionally, wooden fences come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, which means you won’t ever need to worry about them being too short. They can be as wide and as tall as you’d like, which means your goats will have a hard time getting out. Even if you only paid for a wooden fence for its appearance, it will likely still be a great investment.

Cons

Wooden fences may require a bit more maintenance than most wire fences. For starters, wood is susceptible to insects, termites, rotting, splitting, and other things that might cause it to weaken and fall sooner. Plus, goats may not be able to push it over but they do tend to chew on wood which could damage portions of the fence very quickly.

Additionally, if you live in a place where snowfall is heavy and frequent, snowbanks and mounds will pile up. While a weatherproofed fence won’t suffer any duress from heavy snowfall, snow that has piled up at the base of the fence will take away a few inches of height from the fence.

If your goats get smart enough, they might find a way to stand on top of the snow mounds and make a jump for it. This is not an issue with wire fences because there is no solid surface for snow to lean against. Obviously, if you are willing to shovel the snow away from the fence regularly, this will take quite a bit of extra work, but it’s a solvable problem.

Woven Wire Fences

Woven wire is one of the more popular options for most goat, sheep, and other livestock owners. It involves weaving a series of horizontal and vertical wires together to form a grid. It is a pretty sturdy choice and you won’t have to worry about your goats pushing through it like they would a barbed-wire fence. There are several pros and cons to consider still, so let’s take a look at those. You can learn how to install a woven wire fence here.

Pros

As mentioned above, woven wire fences tend to be very solid as far as wire fences go. As long as the holes are made small enough, the goats won’t be able to push their heads through or push the fence down. Plus, if your goats happened to run up against the fence, there wouldn’t be any barbs for their hair to get tangled up with. The fence is harmless, but it will still keep your goats inside.

It will take you a while to set it up, but a woven wire fence is well worth the effort for its durability. Not only will it keep your goats inside their pen, but it will also hold up pretty well under wear and tear. Goats like to stand up against their fences which will ruin most fence types. However, a woven wire fence will be able to endure this kind of treatment fairly well.

Cons

Unfortunately, effective as it is, a woven wire fence is also one of the most expensive kinds of fence to build as well as one of the most difficult to get right. If you make the holes too big, your goats will be able to push their heads right on through, which will stretch the wire and bring it down before its time. Plus, if you have uneven ground to contend with, it will make your job that much harder.

Four feet tall is usually the standard height for most woven wire fences, and this is often not high enough to keep goats inside. If they discover that they can climb over or jump the fence, that will have been a lot of work for nothing. If you really need to, you can raise the wooden frame or add an electric wire to it, but that is a bit of extra work you’ll have to do.

Electric Fences

Electric fences are also somewhat popular for housing livestock. They are surprisingly effective and not too difficult to set up, although there are a few things about them that are less desirable. You will likely want to know what these are before installing an electric fence so let’s talk about some pros and cons of electric fences!

Pros

Electric fences are surprisingly easy to set up. Never mind about any uneven ground you will have to deal with, it won’t bother the fence, and even low spots won’t provide goats with an opportunity to get out. Over time, goats will learn to fear or respect the shock they get from the fence and they won’t go near it. All you need to set up an electric fence is some t-posts (you can use wooden posts if you wish), a voltmeter, a gate kit, wire, and any other tools you might feel the need to use.

Additionally, electric fences are quite easy to move, especially if you use t-posts. If you decide the goat yard needs to be in a different spot on your property, you can simply pull out the posts and carry the fencing over to your area of choice. This is a great feature for any who are thinking of moving in the future as well. It isn’t every day you can take your fence with you when you move!

Electric fences are also much cheaper than a lot of other options out there, especially wooden fences. You can purchase and install all of the components yourself if you have the know-how (read here for some info on installing electric fences!). This, too, makes electric fences immensely appealing to goat owners.

Cons

On the downside, electric fences require probably more maintenance than most of the fences listed here. During the summer months especially, you will have to do constant mowing and weed eating to make sure the grass doesn’t get too tall around the bottom line of your fence. The fence will short out and stop working if this is allowed to happen.

In addition, your goats will have to be trained somewhat before they can learn to respect the boundary. If you just fence them in and let it go, you may face the same problem as with barbed wire. The goats could just force their way through with no thought of the pain they might experience in the process.

Whatever fencing method you choose to use for your goats is completely up to you. I would, however, advise against using a barbed-wire fence if you can help it. This is primarily out of concern for the safety of the goats because, as mentioned before, if they get tangled up in barbed wire, it can cause some severe damage.

However, if you are equipped to deal with that possibility and are willing to go to certain lengths to make sure your animals stay safe, you should be just fine.

Fence Frenzy

We at Fence Frenzy absolutely love taking on the challenge of building, or even restoring, a fence. Especially elaborate and exotic fence designs that really make us scratch our heads! We're happy to share everything we've learned with you.

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