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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, im new here and a rookie to pack goats. I have owned pygmy’s for 15 years so I’m no stranger to goats over all. I recently purchased four pack goats, three which are pack and trail trained and a 7 month old that is in training now.

I have a few questions on High lining and what is the preferred method. I know nothing about high lining. I did a search and got some answers but not really what I was looking for.

So with 3 or more pack goats how do you high line them? I read most folks leave the main line at eye level. I'm not sure of the reason for this. I would think you would want it above their head and horns. How do you keep them separated on the line, do you put loops in the main line and clip onto them? Do you put a small pulley on the rope to give them moving room and a knot on the line that are used as stops for travel? How long are your leads per goat on average? How far apart are your goats from one another? Seems to me you would want to keep them far enough apart that they can’t get to each other’s individual leads, just out of reach of each other?? Any help with this or suggestions would be appreciated.

For the most part I wont hunt with the goats unless its an elk hunt. I will use the goats to bring in a comfortable camp and stash it in advance then take the goats back out to hike in and hunt it on another day. I mostly hunt solo and I don’t want to have to worry about them while im in the field hunting. However I do a lot of hiking and overnight camping before season. This is the reason for my questions. I like the high line idea and another rope over it for a tarp for the goats. I just am not sure how you would set up 3 or more goats without them getting tangled up and still get them under the tarp. I would think 4 goats would be more ideal. Then have 2 tarps that allow two goats per tarp to get under it and be close enough to lay next to each other but not touch. Then they could go out on opposite ends to eat or whatever. Does this sound logical?

Lots of great advice and stories on this site. Thanks to all that contribute.
 

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I've never high-lined goats, but I have a bit of experience high-lining horses. With horses we put the line at chest level so they can't (so easily) walk back and forth under it, but goats will go over or under regardless of height, so I would put it over their heads. Otherwise they'll itch their horns on it, chew it, and might even try to untie/unclip themselves. We would tie loops in the rope at intervals to hook the horses to. A pulley system sounds overly complicated. They should be able to reach the ground with their nose, but no extra slack or they could get tangled. This will also allow them to lie down comfortably. They should be tied far enough apart that they can't tangle with each other, steal each other's food, or fight. The best way to avoid fighting, though, is to put friends next to friends. If you have one that doesn't get along with anybody, he might need to be tied somewhere by himself.

Any time you high-line, make sure the trees are protected. The goats should not be able to eat the bark or rub it off with their horns. You may also need to use a piece of leather, rubber hose, or wide webbing strap to protect the tree trunks from your high-line rope.

Always, always use swivel snaps to tie! Otherwise the rope will twist and become strangling tight as the animals spin around. If possible, use swivel snaps at BOTH ends of the rope. Or you can even use swivel snaps tied into the high line at intervals in place of rope loops and then hook into those.
 

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I have done a lot of high lining in the yard to see what they do on it.

1. Tied 60 foot line between tree and fence with a ring on it so the goat could traverse the whole length. Most of the goats did great on it, I could even put two buddies on a single line for a few hours, but they would eventually tangle each other. If there is brush in the path they will tangle. Mikey would tangle his legs in his lead.

2. Tie 5 loops in the highline to stake all five goats to the same line. This allows for more brush along the line and a denser goat population than the zip line Mikey would tangle his legs in his lead.

3. Tie lowline along ground with 5 loops. Similar to highline. Mikey would tangle his legs in his lead.

4. Use spiral anchor for each goat. Mikey would tangle his legs in his lead.

5. Use boat anchor on single goat. Would come home to busted up lawn furniture and Mikey would tangle his legs in his lead.
 

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Personally I have not had any luck with one tarp and 3 goats on a high line. Two of my goats are high lined and the 3rd has a ground stake. I use the prussic knot to secure them to the high line. All are on 6 ft leads with swivels on both ends. The ground steak has a swivel. It is called a horse picket. They can all come under the center of the 10 x 12 nylon tarp but cannot tangle around each other. They are tied up with each goat on one of the 3 points of a triangle. A forth goat would not work well with this setup. Sometimes I will ground steak all 3 of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the very informative responses. In regards to Mikey getting his legs tangled up in the lead it gave me a passing thought. Has anyone tried putting a retractable cord like that are used for car keys on your hip and put it on the goats lead to the high line?? I’ll try to explain my thoughts the best I can. As your goat remained under the high line the lead would be sucked/retracted up and the lead would loop high above his head because the retractable device would be attached to the lead about a foot or two above his head and then back to the high line. As the goat moved forward to eat it would be let out up until the actual lead came taunt on the high line. At first I was thinking about a bungee cord doing this but then that might be a little too much retracted weight pulling back at the collar. Anyone ever try it or something similar??
 

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I would be very leery of using a retractable line because they are usually made of a very thin cord, which if it gets caught around a leg or a neck can cut off circulation or even slice through flesh very quickly. The retracting feature would also make it impossible for a tangled animal to get enough slack to free himself. A retracting line would certainly tangle less often, but it would tangle dangerously when it did. We should take it for granted that animals will always find a way to tangle themselves somehow, so we try to make it as safe as possible for them to do so. Also, the goats would certainly tangle with each other unless you put them really far apart beyond the stretch of their tethers. Then you're talking about needing a really big camp and a separate tarp for each goat.

There's no reason for a goat tethered in camp to have a lot of room to roam as long as he's got food in front of him. Usually they will be exercising most of the day, and you can probably leave them untethered while you're up and about in camp (unless they have a problem rummaging the food bags). Giving an animal more room to roam around on a tether is just asking for trouble and asking for logistical problems when you consider that you have to space them even further apart from each other and from natural features like rocks and trees. I think the goats would be less happy tethered further away from each other.
 

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Yes I agree with nano. Retracting lines are piano wire that would create self-tightening knots around necks and legs.

You could consider going in the opposite direction. I have a soft cotton lunging line for horses that is so soft and thick that I doubt it could ever do any real damage to an animal, though it would get tangled easy enough.

Then again I have some nylon horse lead ropes that have sat in the sun and weather for so long that they're rather stiff. Its hard to tie a knot in those things, which makes them great for leading the dog or goats (if a bit bulky). No goat could ever get tangled. Hum. I wonder if there's a market for fine, aged lead ropes. You certainly cant go out and just buy one.

There are other options. Heavy duty truck towing chain (No need to tie it to anything since its too heavy to drag far. Ive seen this work well, but bring a mule to carry the chain) One could rig a deep sea fishing pole up to a harness connected to a pivot.... or for less money hire one of the millions of unemployed teenagers out there to hold the lead rope all day... Or have 2 lines that stretch down to the goat from opposite directions. Or pool lane divider floaty things on your rope to make it so fat and inflexible it cant be tangled. There has to be a solution involving a bungee and a giant hamster ball. Give me more time and I'll figure it out.
 

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I agree that smaller stuff is dangerous. I have some wide strapping that I have used on occasion. Mikey still gets tangled but I don't worry as much about injuring him.

I should try tying it to the top of a sapling so that it is self-retracting. No extra gear to carry. If I remember Clay suggested the lowline and short lead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bob, great idea about the sapling. Find one way above his head and then tie it half way down the lead spring loaded to retract the lead as the goat/Mikey came back towards it but the very end of the lead, above the sapling, I would tie to something above it that the goat could not break, like a high line. As the sapling retracted the lead would loop up towards the high line but high above the goat so he couldn’t get caught in it. Or if the sapling was away from the tied on end a few feet there would be no loop. This way the lead itself is always lightly spring loaded and he would have no way of getting his legs caught up in it. If snapped onto a collar ring the lead would always be on the back of his neck lightly taunt and never on the ground. This is what I was trying to explain but instead of a sapling you would use a light car key retractable device that doesn’t have enough tension on it to pull against the goats neck making him feel choked.

I will make one up and try it out at home. If it works like i think it will then I will post up some pitures, provided I can figure that part out, LOL. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nanno, nowhere did I mention making the leads any longer than a normal lead. Your assuming. The picture of the two goats under the blue tarp next to this post could be set up to do exactly what I'm trying to say. Leave the leads as they are and the tarp. Take a separate retractable device such as a car key retractor on a small cord that attaches to your hip. Tie the retractor end 3 feet to the right on the high line of the goat on the right, then tie the other end about 18 inches above the goat on his own lead. The slack in the lead would always be sucked up above the goat and he could not get tangled. He would still only have the same range of movement because the lead is still secured to the high line. The difference is the lead is not drooped around his legs when he moves closer to where his lead is tied off to the high line.

My thoughts on this is for hunters, not those that don’t leave there goats in camp for long periods of time. Personally I don’t want to be thinking about how they may get tangled when I'm supposed to be concentrating on hunting. It would ruin a good hunt for me so if I can’t come up with a method to keep them from getting tangled then they will go back home after they have brought my camp in for me and I stashed it , which kind of defeats their purpose.
 

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Huh. If the ropes were short, why should they need to retract? It seems there wouldn't be enough slack to bother taking up. I guess I don't get it. :?

I know that in horse tie stalls they sometimes run the rope through a pulley and put a small weight on the other end so that the horses can lay down but the rope won't have any slack when they get up.

Have you thought about a portable electric fence? I'd be worried about leaving goats tied up anywhere unsupervised without some sort of predator protection. Electric fence may be your better option all the way around if you're planning to leave them alone.
 

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If you look at the picture on the right hand side of the forum you'll see how we highline. I have modified my method slightly and now tie the other end of the tarp higher instead of at ground level. It keeps the goats from messing with it and still provides plenty of shelter. I give the goat enough slack so they can lay down and touch noses with their neighbor but not enough to get tangled. I'd be scared of the retractable rope as well. I almost lost a goat to strangulation early on because I didn't have a good swivel on the lead rope.
 

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We started high lining our boys early on while feeding in good weather to get them used to it. Worked great and they all got it really fast and now relate it to something positive. One of our guys loves to stand up on his back legs and bat the rope around in the air until he ends up with his front leg caught up. Does it every time and thinks it's a game. I still don't know how to train him not to since he only does it when you walk away and he gets bored. On overnighters we may end up using portable solar fence instead of high lining so I can get some rest instead of worrying about him getting his leg caught up.
 
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