How Tall Of A Fence Do You Need For Goats?


If you have ever chatted with a goat owner, they will have countless stories to tell you about how their goats escaped from their paddock. Goats are notoriously destructive, with an immense appetite that never seems to end. They eat things that defy logic and innate animal common sense. Keeping goats securely contained is vital for their health and your sanity. 

Goat fences should be 4 to 5 feet ( 1,2 m to 1,5 m) in height to contain regular size goats. Miniature or dwarf goats only need a fence 3 feet (0,9 m) high. Goats are escape artists, and the height of the fences around their enclosures is critical for containing them safely.

Goats that escape from the enclosures or fields are at risk of being attacked by wild predators and neighboring dogs or injured by traffic. They can also be very destructive to your garden as well as your neighbors’ properties too. While the height of the fence is very important there are several other factors that help to keep your goats safe and contained such as type of fence, size of holes, and height off the ground.

Cute little goats trying to get through the wooden fence and a goose under a green bush on a farm. Domestic animals waiting for food. Adorable baby goat popping out of the fold. Idyllic country life.
ID 230306413 © Valentin Finaev | Dreamstime.com

What Is The Optimal Fence Height To Keep Goats Contained?

Goats are good jumpers and can easily clear fences that would contain other animals such as cows or sheep. A wise farmer takes this ability into account when constructing fences for goats. 

The best height for regular-size goats is 4 to 5 feet (1,2 meters to 1,5 meters) high. It is best to choose a five-foot fence for highly active goats such as Nubian goats. 

Fences that separate bucks and does should also be five feet tall, as it is best if these goats do not feel they can even try to jump the fence.  Bucks can be very motivated to get near a doe.

Miniature and Nigerian dwarf goats need a fence that is three feet (0,9 meters) tall to ensure they do not escape. Be wary as some miniature goats are incredibly active and agile and may be capable of negotiating a three-foot fence.  

It is crucial to know your goats as some are capable of incredible physical feats and earn themselves a reputation equivalent to Houdini when it comes to escaping. In these cases, raising the fence higher than average may be necessary. 

If you are unsure if you have enough land to raise goats, check out my article How Much Land Do You Need To Have A Goat?

The Bottom Of The Goat Fence Matters Too

Goats are experts at crawling under places. They get down onto their knees and squirm under fences as quick as winking. When you erect fences for your goats, you must place the lowest fence strands on the ground or an inch above it. 

The lower fence strand must be pulled tight so the goats cannot take advantage of any laxity in the wire to push themselves underneath. You should patrol your fences regularly, paying attention to dips or hollows in the ground that form along the bottom of the fence. Goats are quick to exploit any advantage they can find. 

A goat looking through a wire fence, straight into the camera.
ID 62974488 © Dryflydrifting | Dreamstime.com

The Type Of Fence Used For Goats Is Crucial

Electric fences are effective at keeping goats inside an enclosure or paddock. The goats must be taught to respect the wire. This is usually done by putting them in a small pen that they will try to get out of. 

One or two contacts with the electric fence will discourage them from breaching any fence. It is vital that you ensure the fence is powered at all times. If a goat successfully escapes even once, it will always be attempting it again. 

Zareba ESP10M-Z 10-Mile Solar Low Impedance Electric Fence Fence Charger
  • Energizes up to 10 miles of electric fencing
  • Operates up to 2 weeks without sun
  • Built-in mounting bracket for T-posts, Y-posts, and round-wood posts

Woven wire mesh is the best non-electric fencing for use with goats. The spacing of the wires should be four inches high and four inches across. This spacing produces a square which the goat cannot put its head through.

Goat enthusiasts know that if a goat can force its head through somewhere, the rest of its body will soon follow. The four-by-four inch spacing as a bonus effectively prevents most predators from entering the goat pen.

Woven fencing with a bigger mesh, such as six inches by six inches, can be disastrous. Horned goats get their horns stuck in the spaces making the goat vulnerable to predators. In addition, the goat may strangle itself or suffer from dehydration if it is not found quickly. 

Some goat farmers prefer to use a combination of electric fencing and woven fencing. They run a strand of electric fencing at the bottom or top of the woven fencing or even both top and bottom for very determined goats. 

What Fencing Is Best For The Expert Jumping Goat?

Some goats are worthy of Olympic titles in jumping. They seem to sail through the air and clear fences that are woven or electrified. The best solution is to offset a strand of electric wire to stand off the main fence at the top by several inches. The goat does not have a clear path to jump and is deterred by the offset wire. 

Remove Launching Pads From The Fence

Goats love to climb onto rocks, houses, platforms, and even into trees. If any structures are close to the fence line, the goats will avail themselves of the escape route to leap with delight over the fence. 

Keep trees or their branches, rocks, platforms, and goat houses away from the fences. This is a critical aspect of containing goats that is often forgotten. 

Baby goats playing in farm
ID 8765712 © Fallsview | Dreamstime.com

What Fencing Should Be Avoided For Goats?

Stiff non-woven mesh fencing is best avoided when enclosing a paddock for goats. Goats use the tension of the mesh to climb up and pop over the fence to glorious freedom. 

Welded fencing is often too brittle to withstand the rigors of repeated butting and the pressure of sharp pointy hooves climbing on it. It snaps, creating a hole that the goat will enlarge by pushing.

Woven mesh fencing has the proper tensile strength and flexibility to survive the onslaught of goats. It is critical to get the appropriate size mesh for your goats. Different size goats may need differing size fences. 

Final Thoughts

Goats are tricky creatures to corral and keep contained. They seem to have a wanderlust that is never quenched. They are destructive animals that can cost you dearly and make you unpopular with the neighbors. They may even cost you a great deal financially if they do a lot of damage. 

Contained goats are safe. The best height for goat fencing is between four and five feet high for standard-size goats. Miniature and Nigerian dwarf goats can be enclosed with three-foot-high fences. 

Dane McManis

Dane started learning about farming while volunteering on a farm. Now he and his wife raise chickens, pigs, and ducks on their small farm with their two little girls.

Recent Posts