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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband is going to fence an area for me with woven goat fence. It will be 1/2 to 1 acre in size. We CAN go bigger if and when we need to. We will start with two does and a buck/whether pair, all ND, and want to rotate them to avoid parasites.

For my boys, I want to build a "goat tractor". Picture something like in this picture below, but using livestock panels and most possibly being closed in on top as well. (We have a lot of coyotes.) I'll also close in a part of the pen portion so they can get out of the bad weather. If I don't put a top on, I will make the pen portion with a door that I can close them in at night. Ours will also have wheels to make it easier to move. Does 16'x16' sound like enough space if they are moved every 1-3 days? This tractor will be inside the perimeter fence.
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Since I expect to have more girls eventually, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to keep them. I'm kicking around electric netting, but worry about them getting tangled in it. I wondered what the chances are of being able to train them to a really hot wire, or 2 or 3?? Since the will be in a secure perimeter fence I'm less worried about them escaping. Another option would be a less stout tractor that can be moved.

My barn will be small, only 10x10 with two stalls in the back. The outside of the barn will have a lean-to on two sides (to the left that wraps around the back) that I can close off and that's where I plan for the does to be each night. I want to stagger kidding so I'm not worried about a huge barn and I don't need a building permit for anything 10x10 or smaller. ;) I'll have a separate little shed as a milking parlor.

We have 46 acres and lots of brush where I want to walk them to and allow them to browse in temporary pens made with cattle panels.

Reading this, it sounds like a convoluted set up, but I'm good at making things more difficult than they need to be even though my true goal is to simplify, simplify, simplify!

So, what am I missing? What about this plan won't work? Does it sound ridiculous?
 

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I would pull out some paper and make a rough sketch of the property and the area that you are talking about. My main complaint about my set up is that I wish more of my pastures had direct access to the barn. I suggest drawing out the pens that you plan to build now as well as a bunch of pens that you may add in the future as your need for pasture increases. Keep in mind that in a drought you may have to rotate pastures faster or may even have to have a dry lot area to keep them on for a time. One idea I saw recently that I really liked had the barn in the middle of the pens with each pen being wedge shaped so they all had quick access to the barn.
 

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You should be able to train them to smooth electric wire.
That tractor looks cool, but it would be pretty heavy to move. Also some goats are extremely destructive and they might just tear up the panels, especially if they have horns. I would plan for a totally separate pen for your bucks and does, to use as backup if the tractor doesn't work out. Goats can breed through a fence, too, so if the bucks and does share a fenceline, they may still breed unless you have electric wire on it.
Hope I don't sound like a downer! I think it's great that you are planning ahead. I would start with maybe two small pens that are extremely tight. Then, once your goats are acclimated to you and your area, you can maybe put them out in the woods with electric fence. Small, tight pens come in handy as weaning areas for kids, quarantine pens for new goats, or places to put a sick goat that needs extra attention.
 

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The electric net is the only thing the my ND Billy’s will respect. Get Billy’s that don’t have horns if you can. My horned Does aren’t an issue to the fencing but all the Billy’s are. We haven’t had and predator issues at all after implementing the electric net also. I have several nets and move as needed to expand or move the herd to graze different areas. The mobile tractor is a great theory but I have NDs who climb and would be out immediately when my back was turned. Also, I’ve tried 3 strand poly tape and it is not a good option for my NDs either. They will jump (bigger ones) or go under (kids), sometimes go right through the strands if they are moving quickly. I’m sold on the net and at $139 for 164’ (Kencove.com) and a solar fence charger has seriously been the best investment for us!
 

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First off, Welcome to the forum!

I would make your doe barn as large as you can pay for. It sounds like you have plenty of land to work with and if I know one thing, is that you always end up with more goats than you plan for. Are you hoping to provide milk for your family? From you picture it looks have a lot of people and two NDs in milk alone may not provide enough milk for more than a few people.

My barn is two 10x10 stalls with an 8x10 porch area that is covered by an overhang. I am currently using only one 10x10 stall and it works well for my three does, but it would be a lot easier with more space. I do have plans to expand into the other 10x10 stall when have more than two does kidding. Even 12x12 would be better than 10x10.

As far as fencing goes, just a tip from personal experience, if you go with woven wire make sure you get the kind that has holes that baby goats can't fit through. We bought the cheapest red top four foot woven wire field fence and our kids can sneak through it for the first few weeks. It's something I really wish I didn't have to deal with.

When planning out my goat pastures I tossed around ideas of non permanent pens and taking the goats on browsing walks, but what I realized is that it would be tough to make enough time daily to sustain my goats browsing needs. They can eat a lot and if they can access all the browse they want all day without my supervision, that would save me a lot of time. That's not to say rotational systems can't be made, but I would want to be sure they don't rely on your supervision.
 

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Welcome.
:)

I agree, the does will need more room.

Bucks will go stir crazy if left in a pen that small 24/7 and will start pounding on the structure.

Don’t share a fence line with bucks and does unless you have a really good hotline.
 

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Continuing my post here. I had to cut it short earlier.

I agree that that space will be too small for the bucks. If they had a bigger dry lot that they stayed on and just got to graze in the tractor for a couple hours a day I think it would be okay but unless you are home all day with nothing to do but run goats around I wouldn't suggest it. I wouldn't count on taking to goats for walks every day either. Not that there is anything wrong with that but consider what you would do if you didn't have hours every day to walk the goats around. I actually love to take my goats on walks around my property but I definitely don't have time to do it every day. Some weeks they don't get out for walks at all.

I would also build a much bigger barn than that. It is well worth your time to get a building permit and to go big as you will have to build many more of those 10x10 barns around your property if you end up with more than 3-4 goats.

All that said, don't get discouraged! If all that is possible for now is to have a small shed for goats, consider setting aside some funds and some land for a bigger barn down the road. Those sheds will be useful down the road as daytime shelters for the goats when they are out on pasture. Another thing to consider is putting a single strand of electric inside your permanent fence so that the goats don't rub on it. I'm not sure how much that would matter with NDs as they are smaller but my Kinders are about 100lbs and they will destroy a fence just rubbing on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for the reality check! I sure don't want to put time, effort and money into structures that won't provide a happy, safe space for my goats. And being that I have the best husband in the world, he'll help me make happy, safe places happen!
I was trying to avoid a building permit because the township where we will be living is run by, ummm, let's say "not nice people". Our little rural town is growing up and the people on the zoning board seem to like the way it feels to say "no" to reasonable requests. I was just trying to save myself the hassle, but as my dad used to say, "If it's worth having, it's worth asking for."
The woven fence we're buying is 2"x4" openings and 4 foot high. I could make a separate pasture for the boys all together.
My husband printed out and laminated a view of our farm and we use dry erase markers to plot out our plans. Even with that I struggle to decide where to put things.
I'm pretty sure we will need to grow our herd size, but it will depend on how everyone like the goat milk and goat milk products. The picture is my husband and I with our 6 grandsons. They all live on neighboring property. There are 13 of us altogether, so if the goat milk goes over well, we'll be needing more goats! If it doesn't we'll be looking into a cow. I don't care which way we go as long as I have my own goats!
Thanks again everyone!

Back to the drawing board...
 

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One thought on the structures: you might be able to get away with having a smaller permanent structure, if you also plan to have several movable shelters for your goats. Think extra large dog houses. You will probably want to have a nice enclosed kidding stall, but other than that, your goats will probably be fine in smaller shelters.
We are planning to build off the side of our barn, to create a larger area for my does, but right now, they have one fairly small stall inside the barn, and then a larger, moveable A-frame shelter that my dad put together for them. My boys have an IBC Tote, and something like an extra large dog house, and that's their winter shelter system. That has worked pretty well for me so far.
I only plan to have two does kidding next spring, spaced pretty far apart, so I'll either temporarily section off part of the stall as my kidding pen, or put up another shelter out in the pasture, and just let to be doe and her kids have the stall for the first several days, until the kids are mobile enough to go out with the rest of the herd.
 

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As far as planning where to put things on you property, my advice would be to put your barns in as central a location as possible. This way you can add pastures around it and you won't be stuck trying to figure out a way for the goats to get from one side of your property to the other and you may save yourself from needing to build more shelters in the future.

With my family of seven our two kinder goats (similar production to NDs) produce all of the milk we need for drinking. But not enough for cheese, yogurt, etc.. I would think four NDs of decent production could probably give you enough milk for 13. My family are big milk drinkers so if that's not the case for you, you might be able to get away with less. And of course it will depend on what sort of quality does you get as far as milk production goes. Are you set on Nigerians or would you consider other breeds? Not trying to turn you off of them, but just want to make sure you've thought out why you want them.
 

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Just saw on your intro thread that you have NDs reserved already. That answers my question! And congrats on the reservation! I know how exciting that is.😃
 

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I’m not sure how movable it is, but I have a pen made of 6 cattle pen also lined with chicken wire. The panels hold their shape after being secured together and bent in a circle. I added step in posts to help it hold shape. I would recommend a step in post at least every 8 feet. We secured the chicken wire to each panel separately, so we could repurpose them easier if we need to build something different or ideas change. The panels are overlapped by 2 squares and secured to each other with heavy duty zip ties. You might be able to use d ring clips. If you need to move the pen yourself, you could undo the clips and move the panels to rebuild the pen. Their house is in the middle. The circle pen is for two goats who go in a separate area at night. They could also sleep in the shelter if I wanted them too. Just throwing this circle pen idea out there. I’m pretty satisfied with it except for maintaining the proper bend when a goat leans on the fence, but I only have a step in post every 16 feet. Or maybe even ground ties twisted into the ground and tied to the panels with rope. The “doorway” into the pen is a clip at the top and a clip at the bottom. I usually just undo the top and part the panels and go in and out. Their hay feeder is inside the shelter. We used wire fencing mounted at the bottom with wood and the top is two screws that a zip tie on each side loops over and we can undo a side to put flakes of hay in. I really recommend a shelter you can stand in for cleaning.

We had this idea for turkeys, but they flew out. Then we did a mini three cattle panel version for ducks, which I could easily move myself. That was great for them! But something was trying to break into their duck house at night, so I decided to build a predator proof permanent duck area with fencing buried in the ground just in case (still working on this project).

You could try something like this and just repurpose the panels to build a more traditional pen. I like to do things, so I can add new ideas later. We like goat shelters we can add onto as our needs grow. Think modular. Like puzzles. 😂 I don’t have a traditional barn. There’s an 8x20 shed, two 8x8 pens in the garage, and the shelters we’ve build in each pen. You don’t have to have a barn if you can provide kiddings areas or sick goat areas in other ways. You would have to be smart about how you move it with another person: make sure both people keep a bend in the panels if you do it by hand, or put the panels flat on the ground and move them with an atv and set them up in a circle again. The goat house would be a different issue to move. I’d suggest making the structure something very interactive with a top they can jump on and maybe an attatched laying spot off to the side to try and keep them busy.

If you really are worried about coyotes, I think hot wire at the bottom of you fence and hot wire at the top will help quite a bit with coyotes if you can’t bury fencing in the ground to stop digging because the pen is mobile or the labor is more intense. I read that the only detergent to a driven predatory animal is impossibility to get to your animals or the fear of death.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As far as planning where to put things on you property, my advice would be to put your barns in as central a location as possible. This way you can add pastures around it and you won't be stuck trying to figure out a way for the goats to get from one side of your property to the other and you may save yourself from needing to build more shelters in the future.

With my family of seven our two kinder goats (similar production to NDs) produce all of the milk we need for drinking. But not enough for cheese, yogurt, etc.. I would think four NDs of decent production could probably give you enough milk for 13. My family are big milk drinkers so if that's not the case for you, you might be able to get away with less. And of course it will depend on what sort of quality does you get as far as milk production goes. Are you set on Nigerians or would you consider other breeds? Not trying to turn you off of them, but just want to make sure you've thought out why you want them.
We have a gully that separates the farm. I want the goats near my home so I can see them and so I can be close to them for milking. There's plenty of room on my home side of the gully for the amount of goats I foresee in my future. BUT if we go crazy and get into some kind of goat biz, we'd need to utilize the larger side of the farm on the other side of the gully. Right now we're thinking sheep for that area. (Maybe) Or, beef. (Maybe)

Kinders were my second choice. Butterfat made the call. I'm trying very hard to control myself. It's been really hard to not get goats already when I know I just can't provide a great place for them AT THIS TIME (and for the last 20 years). Every goat breed I read about I decide I should get. lol Once I have my NDs and we are settled and I've learned how to take care of them, I think it will be impossible to not get a Nubian doe. Seriously, they are beautiful and I hear they are generally sweet natured. By then I should know a lot more and be able to do more with the milk. My NDs are coming from a great breeder and I think I have a really good chance that they will be good providers. Time will tell, but waiting is sooooooooo hard.
 

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Not saying you made the wrong decision, but I sure do love my kinders.😉 I'm sure nigerians will be a great start for you. Remember that if you get a nubian doe in the future you could always breed her to your nigerian buck and make mini nubians.🙂

It's so awesome that you are taking the time to really plan out what you want to do. Lots of people jump in before they are informed and then make decisions they regret in the future. Waiting sure is hard! 😌 I'm sure they will be here before you know it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I’m not sure how movable it is, but I have a pen made of 6 cattle pen also lined with chicken wire. The panels hold their shape after being secured together and bent in a circle. I added step in posts to help it hold shape. I would recommend a step in post at least every 8 feet. We secured the chicken wire to each panel separately, so we could repurpose them easier if we need to build something different or ideas change. The panels are overlapped by 2 squares and secured to each other with heavy duty zip ties. You might be able to use d ring clips. If you need to move the pen yourself, you could undo the clips and move the panels to rebuild the pen. Their house is in the middle. The circle pen is for two goats who go in a separate area at night. They could also sleep in the shelter if I wanted them too. Just throwing this circle pen idea out there. I’m pretty satisfied with it except for maintaining the proper bend when a goat leans on the fence, but I only have a step in post every 16 feet. Or maybe even ground ties twisted into the ground and tied to the panels with rope. The “doorway” into the pen is a clip at the top and a clip at the bottom. I usually just undo the top and part the panels and go in and out. Their hay feeder is inside the shelter. We used wire fencing mounted at the bottom with wood and the top is two screws that a zip tie on each side loops over and we can undo a side to put flakes of hay in. I really recommend a shelter you can stand in for cleaning.

We had this idea for turkeys, but they flew out. Then we did a mini three cattle panel version for ducks, which I could easily move myself. That was great for them! But something was trying to break into their duck house at night, so I decided to build a predator proof permanent duck area with fencing buried in the ground just in case (still working on this project).

You could try something like this and just repurpose the panels to build a more traditional pen. I like to do things, so I can add new ideas later. We like goat shelters we can add onto as our needs grow. Think modular. Like puzzles. 😂 I don’t have a traditional barn. There’s an 8x20 shed, two 8x8 pens in the garage, and the shelters we’ve build in each pen. You don’t have to have a barn if you can provide kiddings areas or sick goat areas in other ways. You would have to be smart about how you move it with another person: make sure both people keep a bend in the panels if you do it by hand, or put the panels flat on the ground and move them with an atv and set them up in a circle again. The goat house would be a different issue to move. I’d suggest making the structure something very interactive with a top they can jump on and maybe an attatched laying spot off to the side to try and keep them busy.

If you really are worried about coyotes, I think hot wire at the bottom of you fence and hot wire at the top will help quite a bit with coyotes if you can’t bury fencing in the ground to stop digging because the pen is mobile or the labor is more intense. I read that the only detergent to a driven predatory animal is impossibility to get to your animals or the fear of death.
Thank you for the ideas. My original thought in having the 10x10 barn is that I would just add more little barns if we needed them and make a cute little goat town. I talked to my husband though and we will probably nix that idea and go with a bigger barn since so many have recommended one. It won't be huge, because we need a bigger barn on the other side of the property.

I like the idea of mobile fencing for rotating. Your pen idea sounds good. It's more spacious than what I was thinking. Can I ask why you use the chicken wire? Is it to keep kids in? Would livestock panels with the smaller openings at the bottom help or is that not enough? Or is it to keep them from climbing?

We will definitely keep the goats all penned at night. We're going to get an LGD (Maremma) for the sheep when that time comes and I'd love to have one for the goats but I'm not sure about that yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Let's say I make a completely separate area for the boys with woven 2x4 goat fence. I'm very concerned about parasites, which is why I plan to rotate my goats. Do you suppose that having 2 goats in a very large area would keep parasite issues down or would it still be better to rotate. I would rather have a goat playground for all of the goats but I want to keep them healthy first and foremost.
 

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I was like you and did a ton of planning. It helps a lot. The one thing I didn’t plan for was straw. I planned for hay storage but completely forgot I would also need to store straw for winter bedding. So now my straw is shoved in the hay room in the barn and it’s a really tight fit. You may have already thought of all this, but when planning the buildings, keep in mind all the room needed to store feed/hay/bedding/medical supplies/etc.

On a side note, we have the same fencing you’re getting and have been happy with it so far.
 

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Thank you for the ideas. My original thought in having the 10x10 barn is that I would just add more little barns if we needed them and make a cute little goat town. I talked to my husband though and we will probably nix that idea and go with a bigger barn since so many have recommended one. It won't be huge, because we need a bigger barn on the other side of the property.

I like the idea of mobile fencing for rotating. Your pen idea sounds good. It's more spacious than what I was thinking. Can I ask why you use the chicken wire? Is it to keep kids in? Would livestock panels with the smaller openings at the bottom help or is that not enough? Or is it to keep them from climbing?

We will definitely keep the goats all penned at night. We're going to get an LGD (Maremma) for the sheep when that time comes and I'd love to have one for the goats but I'm not sure about that yet.
I love goat town! 😂 I have a shelter in my Nubian pen and another in the Nigerian pen , and the roofs overhang and combine over the fence to make the whole area bigger. In the next year, we’ll add a middle section to make it bigger. Bigger is always better. Expansion is great to factor in early on. Each shelter survived the move from the front yard to the goat pens. I was so afraid to watch them break! The circle pen has a shelter my dad calls Goat-topia. Nigerians are very fun to build things for. A tree stump with a square deck area built on top of it, a pile of rocks, logs…My Nubians are not appreciative of that. Which isn’t a bad thing. At least they won’t jump on anything and hurt their long legs. I mention this because nigerian dwarfs do like shelters they can jump on, but none of my Nubians have so far. I deeply believe the goats being happy with their pen helps keep them inside, in good shape, and may even wear their hooves down a little.

The chicken wire was originally to keep the ducks in or predators out, but it also keeps younger goats in. Pumpkin could fit through a 4”x4” square until about 5 weeks old. The panels we used start out smaller at the bottom and get bigger, but I think there were better panels that have smaller squares. Also, a fox could easily get in through the cattle panel! I wasn’t sure until I saw my sister’s fiancé’s beagle mix wedge herself through the squares in and out of the pen to get a ball.
 

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Let's say I make a completely separate area for the boys with woven 2x4 goat fence. I'm very concerned about parasites, which is why I plan to rotate my goats. Do you suppose that having 2 goats in a very large area would keep parasite issues down or would it still be better to rotate. I would rather have a goat playground for all of the goats but I want to keep them healthy first and foremost.
You could do a large pen with cross sections of electric or a cheaper fencing, and rotate them around. Or do a smaller pen that will turn into a dry lot, and just feed hay.
 
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