The rising popularity of meat goats has brought the question of how to contain them to Edgar Ranch many times. Some well meaning folks have offered the advice that goats cannot be held with electric fence. Well, I'm here to tell you that electric fence easily holds goats if built correctly. We held 600 plus does and 200 plus ewes with no problems. Our "63" Unit was even on a major highway.
Before we go further, you should know Edgar Ranch is a dealer for Live Wire Products of Marysville, California and Kencove of Blairsville, Pennsylvania. All the products I will refer to are from these retailers. We do use Premier's water gate products. They are wonderful.
You should know that building fence is one of my favorite Ranch jobs and that my opinion is well tempered by twenty-five years of effort. I am simply going to tell you what I do and use. There are general High Tensile Fencing How-to-Manuals available from many retailers and manufactures.
First, I find the corners of the area I want fenced. If I have the great luck of having a big oak or hickory tree at that point, great. I have an instant corner. However, more likely I will have to set a corner post. I like them 48 inches in the ground and about 48 or more inches above the ground. Hedges posts are my favorite, but may not be available in your area. Black locust and treated pine or oak post work, also. End post should be 8 inches or better in diameter. I like better (-:
After all the corner posts are set, I put a floating brace on them. (Many people like an H or double H brace. I do not because I dig the posts by hand.) My floating brace is a six inch diamenter or better eight foot post that is set on the angle relative to the corner post. I shape and attach one end of the post to the corner post at about 32 inches from the ground. The other end of the post is shaped and placed on a large flat stone or concrete block set into the earth. I then do two wraps of 12.5 gage 200,000 psi or better high tensile wire from the bottom of the corner post to the floating end of the brace post. I use an inline strainer to really tighten the wire. I do use three crimps to attach the strainer rather than the usual two. The resulting triangle floating brace is very strong and is easy to build.
After the corners are set the next step is pulling line wires. You can pull wire around corners but I usually do not. Unless the run is very short I pull from corner to corner. What do I mean by pulling? I mean that a high tensile wire is pulled from the spinning jenny and attached to the corner post. Once the high tensile 12.5 gage wire is attached to each corner, place an strainer in the center of the line, and strain or take the slack out of the wire. Contrary, to most opinions, I like to put my top wire on first. The wire will be 36 inches from the ground when finished. I like Pel Double U corner insulators at each corner post.
Caution: DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT PULLING HIGH TENSILE WIRE WITHOUT A SPINNING JENNY!
Hint: It is usually easier to set the spinning jenny in the middle of the line to be pulled and pull to each corner post rather than pulling from one end.
Disclaimer: I insulate all my wires from the corner and metal T-posts even though only three of them will be electrified.
Once the one wire is attached to both corner posts and tightened or strained you have a line to drive your line posts. My preferred line post is a six foot 133 HD steel T-post. I simply lay out a bunch of T posts down the line and start driving with a hand held post driver. On relatively level ground I space the posts every thirty to forty feet or about ten of my steps. I drive the T-post in the ground approximately two feet leaving 48 inches above ground.
After I have driven all the posts I go down the line applying insulators. I get a five gallon bucket and open several packages of LWP 133 pin lock insulators into the bucket. I then apply six insulators to each steel T post. This is a work on your knees job. I put the first insulator four to six inches off the ground, then an insulator every six inches until all six are on the post. You may need a hammer or fencing tool to snap them on unless your steel posts are under size. After the insulators are attached, I put the wire into the top insulator. By the time all the insulators are applied my first wire is in the top insulators and is actually finished except for making the connection back to the Stafix 18 controller.
Now I am ready to finish pulling the wires. I pull the five wires, one at a time, attach each to their respective insulators on the two corner posts and as I walk back to the center of the line place the wire in the T-post insulators. I attach a strainer and crank it tight. This procedure eliminates the possibility of crossing wires.
Note: When I make the attachment at the Double U, I leave a tail of three or four inches of wire sticking past the two crimps. This makes a good place to make my connection back to the controller.
I connect all six wires back to the charger. Three of the wires, numbers two, four, and six from the earth, are electricified and numbers one, three, and five are actual "ground" wires. If an animal touches any two wires, a curcuit is made and the animal receives a severe shock.
Note: I do not put springs in my fence. You do not need them but retailers like to sell them to you. The only time I can imagine you would need them is if you were building a feed lot which could have a lot of repeated pressure on the fence. I have never had a high tensile wire break, even when a truck ran off the road and through the fence. The strainers came apart under the great sudden pressure but the wire was intact.
I do install High Tensile Woven Wire. The High Tensile Woven makes an excellent fence and is easy to build. It is just a bit more expensive (in both money and time) than six wire High Tensile.
I use double H end post assemblies for High Tensile Woven Wire. There is much more pressure on the end posts with the Woven wire. The six double H holes are forty-eight inches in the earth.
After the end post assemblies are finished, I apply one single high tensile wire at forty-eight or fifty inches. This single wire is then strained and makes my line for sighting the line posts. When doing Woven I usually use treated wood posts. I rent a driver to drive them.
After the Double H assemblies are completed and the line posts driven at thirty foot spacings, I roll out the roll of High Tensile Woven Wire from end post to end post. I pull the slack out of the wire. The side with the close line wire spacing goes against the bottom of the end posts. If the distance is more than 330 feet I use more than one roll.
Now the only hard part. Manipulate the wire so that when you stand the slack Woven Wire up along the end post, the line wires reach around the end post and have six or more inches of over lap upon themselves. I usually take my bolt cutters and remove the stays from the first twelve inches of line wire. I then tie the top line wire using my gloved hands and a wire tying tool. I then tie the bottom wire around the end post. I tie the other line wire back onto themselves. I am careful to make my wire knots neat and tight but the loop I have made around the end post needs to be loose enough to slide up and/or down the end post. At the other end of the line, I tie the woven wire around the end posts in the same manner.
I walk to the middle of the line. My woven wire is lying on the ground but is attached to the corner posts at each end. I attach my two Solid Lock forty-eight inch strainer bars to the Woven Wire as it lays on the ground. The bars need to be separated as far as the cable of the come-a-longs I am using to draw them. I attach one fully extended come-a-long to the top rings of the bars. I attach one fully extended come-a-long to the bottom rings of the bars. Now I simply ratchet the come-a-longs evenly. As they draw up their cables the fence becomes tight. The fence is tight and quite bouncy now. I stand the fence up, be careful it is heavy. I drive one two inch staple about a half inch in several line posts around the top line wire. This holds the fence up to the line posts. I start carefully tightening the ratches. The fence will be tight but all the slack will be in the middle between the two Solid Lock Strainer bars.
Now I cut all the line wires of the Woven Wire about in the middle spacing between the strainer bars. I then over lap the two cut ends making sure I have plenty of over lap for three crimps to be applied. I cut the extra wire out and discard the section.
What I have now is a tight fence in two pieces held up with a few staples and a set of strainer bars holding it together. This next job is easier with two people. Slide three crimps on the top line wire, pull it as tightly as I can and crimp the crimps. Do all line wires this way.
What you have now is a three part fence. From the end posts to the strainer is very tight, the section between the strainer bars is hand tight. I now backoff the come-a-longs. The small amount of slack that was between the strainer bars is transferred to the whole fence.
Knock the wedges out of the strainer bars that hold the line wires, remove the strainer bars, and start stapling the new fence to the wood posts.
I staple the tight Woven Wire fence to my wood line post starting from the bottom to keep the spacing with the earth correct. I drive a staple around every line wire being careful not to drive them tight against the line wire but leaving enough space for the line wire to move.
I am done except for admiring my new fence.
Kencove has a professional video showing the fence built. The order code is (RWV). I think I paid about ten bucks for the video several years ago. The video is very well worth the price.