Fencing & Gates
Why not just any fence?
Fences are an investment and good ones are well worth it!
Not only will they keep your goats contained, smart pasturing procedures will also minimize any predator activity. Coyotes are the primary problem and sometimes wild dogs - especially with kids, so be sure to consider either locking up your babies at night or, if they'll have to stay out, keep them in an enclosure that is at least double fenced. Also, consider a couple of livestock guard dogs, also known as LGDs, like Pyrenees or Anatolian Shepards to guard them. Herding dogs are fabulous work dogs, but no match for a pack of wild canines, so it is not recommended to keep them out at night as guard dogs. Even with LGDs, it is best to always keep at least two dogs together so they can work as a pack.
Keeping goats where you want them and out of where you don't
Goats like to stand on fences and scratch themselves on it, so keep this in mind when selecting your fencing. Woven wire will soon find itself stretched out and on the ground - if not quickly broken altogether.
Practical options for the busy person
Things to keep in mind
1. Sturdiness. Gates need to be sturdy. As seen in Figure 1, the goats will be standing on the gate whenever they are waiting to be milked or see you coming with feed.
2. Swing. Gates that have the ability to swing both in and out are a huge advantage because they can help you "herd" the goat when it's not necessarily in agreement with where you want it to go. If you have to chose a single direction, select outwards as the barn, pen or where ever else the gate is located is likely to get higher with litter on the side where the goats reside.
3. Width. The gate should be wide enough to get through whatever equipment you'll be using in the area.
4. Latches. A sliding bar that locks into place or a jointed eye hook are good choices. As a precaution with particular clever goats, you may want to add a carabiner.