Last straw, last chance. Can't contain my goats. Any ideas?

Pinecones

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I LOVE my boys. I bottle raised them, they've been my pack goats for 5 years. They are polite and friendly and affectionate and quiet. Intelligent, excellent foragers. They come when I call. The best goats I've ever seen!

But I'm at my wit's end. It's rehoming time if I can't find a solution.

Currently the only fence that will "keep them in" is woven wire fencing with logs tied to the bottom perimeter, and 2-3 strands of hotwire to keep them away from it. The problem is only our smallest enclosures have solid wire fence. Enclosures less than 1000sq ft. Or the one around the orchard.

For several years now hotwire has been a dream come true. The miracle fencing I always hoped for. I was able to totally phase out solid wire fencing and pay pennies per foot for electric wire. Worked like a charm!

They've been in a 2~ acre wooded pasture for a year now. It's 12 strand 6' tall hotwire (alternating hot/ground), with additional strands ran where needed (dips in the ground, etc.) It's on a 6 joule charger pumping out 10,000 volts. The lowest lines are as close to the ground as I can get away with. It worked like a dream. Until now.
Now, they don't care about the shock. I've been patching, amending, and tightening the hotwire everywhere I could see any potential escape route, trying to figure out how they constantly get out. So today I stalked them through the woods and watched. They literally just WALKED through the fence. Right next to the charger where it's blasting electricity out. The shock doesn't phase them anymore. It's apparently worth enduring to get out.

They have a goat paradise; several acres of forest with a fresh mountain creek running through it, all you can eat hay, mineral blocks, loafing sheds they share with 3 other goats... And they want to LEAVE.

Anyway. I refuse to make them live on a lead or lock them up in one of our little pens. I'm also confident that neither would contain them. They can get out of a halter if they try hard enough, no matter how tight I make it. Forget collars, too, they'd strangle themselves. And they're experts at hog tying themselves with their leads. If I lock them in a solid wire pen with hotwire combo I have NO DOUBT that they would someday manage to get out. One of these boys has climbed vertical chainlink. And OSB. He can untie knots from rope and undo gate latches.

And there's no way we can afford to hard-wire several acres of rugged terrain pasture. We were about to fence in a new pasture that's like 4 acres and turn them loose on that! But now... what's the point?

I don't know what to do. I watched my boys walked through 10,000 volt hotwire that has no more than 3-5" between alternating hot and ground lines. Any closer and they'd start grounding out, I can't add more lines :/ And I don't want to.

Any ideas? My next option is rehoming them. I can't have them destroying my gardens and orchards and greenhouses or sheds, dancing around in the road, or getting eaten by dogs or cougars...
 

Baymule

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That is why I have Sheep. No help for your frustrations, but when I was trying to decide which one I wanted, posts like yours steered me to Sheep. I’ve never been sorry, I love my sheep.

It sounds like you have the best fence, the only alternative is a cage with top and bottom. I have no doubt those crafty creatures would tunnel out.
 

Pinecones

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Haha. Most of the sheep owners I know have a "no goats allowed" policy on their farm ;)

I know that some part of this is probably the fact that they're Lamanchas. I'd read plenty that Lamanchas tend to be a love/hate breed. My boys are unbelievably smart and keenly aware of their surroundings.

These two boys are brothers. Wethers. I've had a few different herd setups and they've had does come and go. They've never 'liked' any other goats. They're "two musketeers". They mostly just bully other goats away and try to be aloof together from the others. Right now I have these two standard Lamanchas and 2 mini lamancha does (why do I do this to myself?) The mini's are almost just as bad, but I can more easily justify penning them up because they're so tiny. Penning a 40lb goat in a small-ish pen seems more humane than penning a 230lb goat...

I had Angoras for awhile. They NEVER tested the fence. There were times I left the gate open and they couldn't be bothered to come out! They were excellent milkers and did well in the mountains with me. Problem was they were screamers. I don't like screaming livestock.

I thought about trying another breed. I've always pined after alpines as milkers and packers, but it's really hard to read about 'typical' breed dispositions...
 

Goat Whisperer

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Have you tried clipping them? They may feel the jolt a bit more....

We've had hundreds of goats and it's pretty rare for them to escape, though I do understand your frustration! We had this happen with our sheep. Couldn't keep them contained, they were always getting out. The left a bad impression on me- I'll never have sheep again.

Lamanchas ARE smart. Ours can unlock gates. If they wanted to get out, they sure could.
Has anything changed recently? Our goats are creatures of habit. If the routine gets thrown off they are pretty sure the world is going to end :rolleyes:

It's on a 6 joule charger pumping out 10,000 volts.
Did you put a fence tester on it to double check? How is the ground? How many rods? Is the soil damp or dry?
 

Sheepshape

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Now I'm remembering why I no longer have goats.....I have never had a problem with my sheep.....they don't wander off even if I leave the gate open (I think they know my neighbour doesn't treat sheep in the same way). Actually, that's not 100% accurate....my rams have jumped the fence a few times, but, even then have come back when I offer them their favourite treats.

I'm thinking along the lines of Goat Whisperer, though. Have they still got their 'bits', and have any nannies come into pheromone-sniffing range? Any paradise for the male will include access to the female....so....any ladies around?
 

Pinecones

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I appreciate the intelligence of goats. All the sheep I've worked with are DUMB. I'm not fond of that. To each their own :D

New changes; the does just kidded and are in a small pen up the hill since their tiny 1lb kids are like crunchy coyote snacks. Other than that, not really.

Charger; We've got 4 long copper rods by the charger in a stream bed that's wet year-round, as well as a second set of copper rods a few acres away in a moist area by the greenhouse. Plus our ground lines attach to dozens of fence posts and probably a hundred trees. The fence pops very hot, I just got hit again the other day >______>

My boys don't run away. I would actually be more okay with that. They escape and come straight to my living area and start destroying everything. One ate the corner off of a vest on the clothes line the other day, part of a 5 gallon bucket, some of the greenhouse, ran off with a shoe, got into the greenhouse and topped the asparagus, several shrubs, and ripped out a few tomato plants... this is his MO. "Make the humans mad at least once per day". It's what fuels his soul. That is literally the reason he escapes. Not to explore, not to find more food, not to run away or go elsewhere. But to find ways of upsetting me e_e And They're happy to come right up to me when I call and let me lead them back to the pen because they know they can just get right out again and do it all over!

Yes, the boys are wethers. They were surgically castrated at 4 months old.


Sooo.... I was wondering about hobbles? At first I found the idea abhorrent. But as I think about it, it might be my last compromise. Any experience hobbling goats?
 

lovinglife

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I think a field fence outside your hot fence is your only option at this point. If they can't shove their way through the hot wires fast they should learn to stay put and be good. LOL Also if you can, get them good and wet, make sure you fence is good and hot, maybe keep some moisture in the ground around where they like to go through.
 

greybeard

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Learned behavior. You aren't going to change it at this point. I'll put up with lots of things from an animal, but continual escape artists aren't one of them.
A cull factor of high degree. They get out, a vehicle hits one and it's a financial liability you just don't want. With so much plastic on the front of today's cars, it don't take much to have a $3000-$5000 body shop bill or insurance claim.
 

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