View Full Version : Could I use an invisible (electric) fence for a goat?
12-10-2008, 03:39 PM
Background: I have an invisible fence to keep my dog in the yard. Our dog wears a special collar that detects the boundaries of our yard and delivers a shock to the dog if she gets within a few feet of the boundary. The strength of the shock and the distance from the boundary are set by the collar; multiple dogs can use the same invisible fence, but with different parameters. Here (http://www.invisiblefence.com/) is an example.
Could I buy a goat and train it to obey the invisible fence? The goal is to use the goat to keep my lawn naturally mowed. How many goats would I need to maintain 1/3 of an acre?
If not a goat, are there any grazing animals that could be trained to obey the fence? And how many would I need for a 1/3 of an acre?
I'm not really going to do this obviously, but I am genuinely curious about the answer.
12-10-2008, 03:53 PM
Firstly, do you have anything growing besides grass? Goats will eat grass last. They will eat all your flowers and even the bark off of young trees. They are extremely persistent and destructive. I've used barbed wire and electric fences to control them. They would beat on both with their horns until they destroyed the fence. I doubt that an invisible fence would work (but it might). I used to have miniature goats - the full sized ones are even more destructive / dangerous.
12-10-2008, 04:20 PM
A stubborn dog will get past one of these. I'm sure the goats will go where ever they think the food is best unless a physical barrier stops them.
12-10-2008, 05:56 PM
Well, assuming the shock is strong enough you can train just about any animal to avoid the areas that give a shock. The question is whether the shock is strong enough to instill the kind of learning in a goat to overcome that desire to eat whatever you're protecting.
I suggest getting a fainting goat. No particular reason, but damn they're cute.
12-11-2008, 10:20 AM
Are sheep smart enough to learn the boundaries? Or would they just forget and get shocked again?
12-11-2008, 10:30 AM
The whole thing sounds like such a testable hypothesis, and the better if it could be tested across various candidate grazers.
Get back to us, would you?
Also, I think you are looking for grazers and not browsers but I don't know much about animals. Give the goat a shot anyway, please. Something about a goat versus an invisible fence tickles me no end.
ETA: Bovines without Borders http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/jun/15/news.australia
"Dr Fisher said that experiments, conducted in front of independent animal welfare experts, showed that cattle took less than an hour to learn to back off when they heard the warning hum. "
12-11-2008, 10:37 AM
I used to work for a guy who bought a couple goats to keep his hilly backyard trimmed (he lived on the edge of a ravine which would go brown and brushfires were a concern); he adopted for the more luddite chain link fence but neglected to consider that when buying two goats, they need to be the same gender.
Soon he had three goats and they proceeded to trim the grass down to bedrock. They ate the dirt. And the roses. And the edge of his lawn. And some of the chain links. His wife was having to go around to all the local grocery stores and buy up all their trimmings and deadish vegetables to keep the three fed; he was trying to work a deal with his neighbors for them to fence off their hilly parts as well and allow the goats to graze across several yards rather than just his.
I would recommend against this.
12-11-2008, 10:37 AM
http://www.lib.ndsu.nodak.edu/research/subjects/ag/spurge_wl/spurge/pdffiles/SYMPOSIU/87/1422fa87.pdf For a goat study using them to control "Leafy Spurge." (Not sure what they started on after the spurge splurge, chokecherries, houndstongue and wild rose...)
12-11-2008, 11:28 AM
Would a sheep be more well-suited to this? Will they eat grass before landscaping? Are they less stubborn?
12-11-2008, 11:51 AM
I've used this general type of electric fence (http://www.maxflex.com/Nets_page1.HTM) to keep out nuisance animals. Obviously you could keep in goats with such a fence. I suspect goats are hard-headed and food-centered enough so that the invisible fence would be a tough proposition without a high shock setting and probably demented goats as a result.
There was a man
who had a goat
He loved that goat
just like a kid.
I knew a microbiologist who had a small herd of goats. He used permanent fencing.
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