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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On a separate thread I mentioned that I tether my babies so they can browse when I cannot be out there with them.

Someone replied : BTW, you shouldn't tether your goats it is an extremely dangerous hazard!

I asked a little bit ago WHY it is a hazard, but I haven't received an answer yet. I am certainly not going to tether them if it is dangerous, but I need to know WHY it is. I cannot be out there with them every minute of the day. I am a housewife and mom. I have kids to care for, laundry to do, dinner to make, dishes to wash. If I don't tether them, they are stuck in their goat shed with nothing but boredom...and hay, water, minerals and baking soda. I have a large enclosed area they can go in, but it is NOT ready yet. It is missing a gate, there are a few holes in the fence that need to be patched, and we are still trying to clear plants/shrubs/trees out of the area that could be toxic (there are a TON of chestnut oak saplings...this year's and last year's growth in there). Hubby needs to build the gate and he hasn't gotten to it yet because he works ALL THE TIME. He might be able to do it this weekend.

Why can't I tether them? I am using the dog cables that are metal enclosed in plastic. I use dog stakes that have the little metal swivel on the end. I stake them where they cannot get tangled on anything, nor can they reach anything toxic. They also cannot reach anywhere that they can jump on...I thought about that when I first tethered them, worried they might jump up and get caught, then strangle themselves. In other words, they are tethered in the yard with nothing BUT yard grass/weeds around them. Oh, and water. They have dog collars on them (that I cut/sewed to resize to their necks...all dog collars were too big and they could snap the kitty collars right off). They are the sturdy nylon kind. They are not too tight, nor are they loose enough for them to slip off.

So, could someone please explain to me why I can't tether them? Is there something I'm missing? Will they break their necks or something, trying to get off the lead???

Please give me some insight to this. Thanks.
 

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The ideal way to give them more freedom would be a fenced area. It sounds like that's almost ready for them, so that's good. :thumb: The main issues with tying are that they have no way to escape predators and they could potentially become tangled. As long as they have food, water, and shade and they are being closely monitered while tied, it can be okay temporarily. It can work as a temporary solution IF done correctly.
 

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We tether our goats when we are home, however they are monitored (we don't leave them there unless we are home). However we don't have problems with predators and nothing for them to get caught on or entangled.

Everyone has their own opinion, my sister once got a butt chewing from someone because she leaves her dogs out at night...mind you they have an insulated dog house with a heat lamp. Now how do you think that would fly if someone said that on here...imagine leaving a LGD outside ;). pffff
 

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LOL.... ^^

I prefer not to tether just because I am afraid they will get caught and strangle themselves, or like when i first got goats, i tied them out for a bit and one of them got their leg tangled, tight...and fast! The other problem,as mentioned, is predators.....So no tethering here....

Hope your fence gets fixed soon! Enjoy your goaties :)
 

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I have tethered goats out when I only had two. Once I had more then 3 it got to be to much. As long as they cant get tangled and you do check on them its fine. I found the worse tangled case was when goats could reach eachother and they tangled themselves up together. Almost lost a doe that way she was choking to death. So as long as they can see each other or even just touch noses thats ok but dont get them have more access to tangle around each other.

I would though highly suggest you get the pen up to par so its easier and you dont have to lock them up with you are out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, so pretty much the dangers are predators and tangling, correct? I understand the predator part, however if a predator wants goat for dinner, they can find a way to get to them through the fence. A coyote can jump it or dig under it, a bear will rip through it, a hawk can fly right on top of them. Neighborhood dogs can dig under as well as jump over. A bobcat can climb nearby tree to attack from above.

I am NOT trying to be a smart butt (substitute another word for donkey there). I'm just saying, IMO, the only difference between a predator attack while tethered and a predator attack while penned, is that in the pen they live a little longer as they run to get away. But the predator will get them anyway, because the goats cannot get OUT of the fence.

I will limit their time on the lines. I haven't had a problem yet, but I don't want to do anything wrong. If I don't tether them, they don't get hardly any browsing time until the goat area is complete. If I do tether them, they get the browsing time but run the risk of predator attack and entanglement. I guess I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
 

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TETHERING GOATS By: "Gary Pfalzbot"
About the Author

Please Help Rate This Article 5 = Extremely Useful 4 = Very Useful 3 = Somewhat Useful 2 = Okay but not enough 1 = Not At All Useful Rated 4.6 by 318 responses. Send this Page to a Friend! Friend's Email: Your Email:
During the course of a week, I receive a number of emails asking if a goat can be tied or tethered. Since this is a fairly common question, I felt that it would be a good idea to write up a short article on the subject.
To begin with, I generally advise against using tethers, ropes, chains, etc. for controlling goats. While it can be done successfully if well planned, it can be disastrous if not planned and detailed for every possible item of failure.
A good understanding of goat behavior is essential. This is not as difficult as it may sound and will not require years of college courses to grasp the basics. Simply watch your goats - the goats you wish to tie out that is. Goats that behave erratically, such as those kind of goats that run or bolt at the drop of a hat are not good candidates. On the other hand, some goats are as gentle as a spring rain and will allow an owner to pet and lavish them with affection at will.
This is only one type of behavior you should take into account. You must also take into account any dogs or predators as well. For the most part, even the most well behaved goat will become distressed if confronted with dogs, coyotes, bears, gunshot or loud noises, etc. And each of these will cause the goat to behave in ways that it normally wouldn't. The end result: the goat may become tangled in the tether.
Weather also plays a factor. Should you decide that tethering a goat will work for you, take into account sudden rain or snow showers. Designing a shelter that will accommodate a goat on a tether is an article in itself. Believe me, it can be very tempting to just leave a goat without a shelter during a thunderstorm, especially when the goat is up or down the hill and you are cozy and dry in the house! Make your plans to eliminate that scenario. Don't leave a goat unsheltered during inclement weather.
Over the years, I've tried a number of tethering methods and have only had one specific system that has been 95% flaw free. Despite what I mentioned earlier about detailed planning, there is always a certain amount of unforseen circumstances that can arise. And with goats, you can almost bet upon it.
An above the ground aerial runner
I've not had good luck with this system. This involves running a cable or rope across a span from tree to tree, building to building etc. Take into account the ends at which this cable or rope is fastened. Trees are a perfect opportunity for a goat to wrap itself around several times. You'll probably find yourself unwrapping the goat several times before you move onto the next tethering system I'll discuss. Also, I've found that a lead rope or chain above a goats head (especially one with horns), is just not a real good combination. I've had a couple of goats nearly strangle themselves this way.

Single Lead Rope To A Post
This is a little better, but the same problem exists where the goat will most likely wrap itself around the post before too long. Goats who are even the slightest bit nervous tend to walk in circles when tethered. Using this method, you'll soon find yourself renaming your goat "dum dum" as I have done with many of mine.

Single Lead Rope To A Swivel Post
Now your getting warm. This system can work and I have used it often. The swivel on the post eliminates the goat wrapping itself around the post and saves you from unwrapping the goat time and time again. But, there are some considerations to keep in mind here that I will explain near the end of this article (see Line, Ropes, Chains, and Snaps).

Post To Post Run Length Line
This is the system I have had the most success with. Many years ago I employed this method to leave my Doberman and Weimaraner dogs on. What I recommend for this system is to mark two spots (A and B) on the terrain you wish to let your goat browse. In my case, I run 100 feet between point A and B. At each point, dig a fairly deep hole - for smaller goats, a hole deep enough to completely cover a large coffee can; larger goats, a hole deep enough to completely cover a five gallon bucket. There are variations on each of these which I will discuss further.

The purpose these holes serve is an anchor for the line you will run from point A to B. Using the coffee can as an example, I place an eye bolt into each can (an eye bolt is simply a bolt that has an eyelet on one end) and then pour cement into each can and let it harden. The variations I mentioned are things such as old tires, sections of railroad ties, tree stumps, etc. Anything that can be buried into the ground and not easily pulled up by a goat on the run.
Next, available at most hardware stores is a cable that I will refer to as airline cable. It is a braided steel cable. Beware of the coated steel cables that are often used for tethering dogs. While the concept behind the coated cable is good (to prevent rust), consider that continual friction and rubbing on the coating will eventually cause it to wear and fray. This fraying may be just enough to snag the goat attached to the line.
Also available at the hardware store are an item called cable clamps. The clamps have a U bolt piece that fastens down onto the end of the braided cable - you simply loop the cable into the clamp and tighten. Loop the braided cable through the eyelet of the coffee can at point A, tighten, and then proceed to bury the coffee can into the first hole you dug at point A.
Next, take the other end of the braided cable, the remaining coffee can and the cable clamp and proceed to point B. Go ahead and place the remaining coffee can in the hole at point B before attaching the braided cable. Now, while you want the braided cable to be as taut as possible, a little slack will not hurt too much and actually give the goat a little extra side to side coverage.But do keep in mind that too much slack will tend to pull the coffee can at either end out of the ground.
In my opinion, gauging from the center of where the braided cable lies between point A and B, one foot slack or less to either side is acceptable. Before you actually attach the braided cable to the eyelet at point B, please read Line, Ropes, Chains, and Snaps to determine what method you will use. Go ahead and attach the braided cable to the eyelet of the coffee can, bury, and you are finished with this part.
Depending upon the soil where you live, you may want to give the areas at point A and B a few days to dry and harden. For real loose, loamy soils, simply dig deeper holes. Personally, I wet down both areas and let dry for about a week. This seems to solidify the ground to an almost cement like texture.
Line, Ropes, Chains, and Snaps
A good rope is worth every penny or dollar you spend for it. But I do not recommend rope. Rather, I prefer to use chain. Ropes tend to get wet, twist, snag, tangle, you name it. And a wet rope when you are in a hurry will leave you reaching for a bottle of aspirin. The length of whatever you use to fasten the goat to the braided cable is as important as anything you will use.

But first, how to fasten the chain to the braided cable. I have used two items, both producing successful results. One item is a large, round, porcelain donut insulator that is meant for use in making corners on an electric fence. The center opening of these allows for fast, unimpeded travel along the length of the braided cable. The only drawback is porcelain against braided steel - they will last a long time, but not forever. A donut needs to placed on the braided cable before attaching the braided cable on the eyelet at point B.
The next item which is perhaps far more durable is a regular snap hook. While these too will eventually show signs of wear, they work well. The only drawback to these is on a cold winter day, you need to pull out a pocket lighter to get the snap opened if needed. A certain advantage is that you can simply unsnap the hook from the braided cable at any time, alter the length of the lead chain to the goat, etc. Perhaps the best way to go.
For the purpose of example, let's use the snaphook method. Now you need to decide upon a chain and attach this chain to the end of the snaphook using wire, or more effective, a chain link extender. Depending up the overall length of lead chain you want for your goat, attach the same to the other end of the chain (snaphook, chain extender, to goat collar).
The size and type of chain you choose should be at least a 3/8" type steel chain. This chain will be unlikely to break and tangle. Using a larger chain might catch a goats hoof from time to time. So do not go into this area with overkill. I use the 3/8" chain with success and the length I use is anywhere from 12" to 25" - this just depends upon what kind of coverage you want your goat to have.
Final Notes
Now that you've installed the braided cable, built a lead chain complete with snaphooks, get a good collar for your goat that when placed on the goat, you can still get your fingers between the collar and the goat with ease. Go ahead and attach the other end of the lead chain to your goat, stand back and watch.

This is where your study on the behavior of your goat comes into play as well as watching for any potential hazards such as snags. Small bushes and stalks may need to be dealt with right away. Or you may be lucky to where your area has no obstacles and such, and the goat dragging the chain across this area helps to flatten any potential snags.
Most important, keep a close eye on your goat to ensure no potential hazards exist. I knew a person that went away for an hour and the goat had somehow wrapped itself up to the point that it was hardly breathing - all because of one small bush that snagged the chain. Also, on hot sunny days, do the right thing and don't let a goat get to hot or go without water. A little planning and patience and this system does work. The little bit of work that you do now to make sure it will work, will be the weed eating and brush control the goat will be doing for you later!


An article on goat tethering, hopefully it will help you with some safe ways to momentarily tether a goat.
 

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I have tethered but only when I was home and I used the vinyl coated dog cables attached to pegs with swivels...the cables are gentler on the legs than a chain.
Typically a goat is bait when tethered and I grew up with my mom raising goats on tethers... as kids it was mine and my sisters job to tie the big goats out, away from any tall stands of bunched grass or saplings that they could get entangled in, carried individual buckets of water to each of the six 3 times a day and let them loose to be stalled at night, my mom would milk right there where the does were tied. Only time there was ever an issue was when my sister pounded a peg in too close to a crab apple sapling and my moms saanen cross doe nearly strangled herself... my dad did rescue breathing after her collar was cut off, she recovered and died of old age. It's best to try and be safe as far as tying out...shade, water and un obtructed path for the cable.
 

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I testered 2 goats out and one crossed the path of another's rope just 1 time to many, cought his front feet and couldn't move.
Luckily I was going you there every 10 minutes and in tangling them.
Iv never tethered up a goatsince it was just to dangerous. If I can't let them in the pasture then they stay in their pen now.
 

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It sounds like in your case your goats are fairly safe. They can not get tangled, if you had them on a chain or a rope I sould suggest putting it threw a old hose. Yes you in a way are right if something really wants that animal they will get it, but when they are out like that there is no chance for them to try and get away. Yes you have house stuff to do, but can you hear if a dog is barking at them? Do you check on them during their time out? Im guessing the answer is yes. I have before staked my goats out, I can see them threw the window and would be able to hear if something was after them. There is nothing for them to get tangled on, I keep the water at the end of the line so it can not be knocked over. IMO if you use your head, they are just fine, but I would never stake them out and go to town for a few hours.
 

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Just a thought...I have a fenced in area for my goats. I sometimes see my neighbor's dog running around and would circle outside the fence area because of my goats. She has not tried to dig under, thank goodness. If I had my goats tethered only, that dog would probably killed all my goats. She attacked my dog once. We also have stray dogs that visited a few times also.
Any animals that is tied in the open have disadvantages to free running animals...that's all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, you are absolutely right Catahoula. I was just trying to say that a determined predator will get 'em anyway. Especially one that's hungry.

I'm not going to tether them like I was. I can see them right out my window, so I am always checking on them...just because I'm a paranoid mama...but I'm going to only tether them for a short period so they get some browse time, then I'll just cut some browse and put it in the shed with them until we get that enclosure finished.
 

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I only tether a goat when he or she is under my direct supervision. When nobody is in heat, I often tether my buck, while allowing my does and the buck's wether companion to free range. The buck, despite nobody being in heat, would still chase them like a horny dog, even if they don't respond to him.

I've had him on a swivel type post with no trees or ANY obstacles and he still manages to get himself tangled around the swivel. He is pretty pathetic when he gets all wrapped up. If I left him alone, I'd likely come back to a dead goat.

Also, some goats will bolt at the tiniest thing. Kind of like how a jumpy Arabian mare in heat bolts at a blowing leaf. If restricted by the lead, they'll reach the end quickly and could injure their necks.

Oak is not toxic to goats, by the way. It is a little high in tannic acid. If you provide them some baking soda, free choice, they can regulate their intake better. Actually, such a pasture with young saplings would be absolute heaven for a goat, given that they love browse. Save yourself the trouble and let them clear it for you!
 

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I only tether when I'm home, and if my mom wants some munching done:) I only take 2 at a time and check on them regularly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Also, some goats will bolt at the tiniest thing. Kind of like how a jumpy Arabian mare in heat bolts at a blowing leaf. If restricted by the lead, they'll reach the end quickly and could injure their necks.
Now THIS makes sense to why you shouldn't tether a goat!! I can see that happening...sometimes my babies jump and run and I never hear a SOUND...it's like the wind tickled them the wrong way and ZOOM!!! They're gone (usually up the stairs to the back door, bawling to get inside LOL)

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Oak is not toxic to goats, by the way. It is a little high in tannic acid. If you provide them some baking soda, free choice, they can regulate their intake better. Actually, such a pasture with young saplings would be absolute heaven for a goat, given that they love browse. Save yourself the trouble and let them clear it for you!
SIGH. I have seen some poisonous plant lists for goats with oaks listed on them...lemme see if I can find them...

Here it lists red oak and some oaks I don't know what they are right behind it: http://kinne.net/poi-list.htm

Here it just says "Oaks": http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/poison/common.htm#O

Another list where Oaks show up: http://www.mountlehmanllamas.com/poisonplants.html

And another:
http://essmextension.tamu.edu/plants/?collection=toxics

And one more:
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/php/plants.php?action=indiv&byname=common&keynum=1

THIS is why I thought oaks were poisonous!!! They are listed on ALL these toxic plants lists! If they aren't poisonous, why are they on so many lists????
 

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I would just be sure you're around when they're tethered so you can hear them if they get caught. Another thing to consider, is that a pen mentally may be better for them, as they can wander more freely as goats are meant to. :) Sounds like your babies are *very* well loved!
 

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They are on so many lists because most assume that they are sheep without wool. Goats can clear tannins and oxides out of their system much more efficiently than sheep or cows. I have a red oak right in the middle of my pasture. They have never been bothered by it. The neighbors pasture has hundreds of Red Oaks. Their goats and cows never are bothered by them.
Chestnut Oaks are what we here call Swamp Oaks. They have so little tannin that you can make flour out of the acorns without leaching them. They are fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Goathiker, if these lists I'm finding aren't accurate, is there one out there that can tell me the names of plants that are definitely toxic to goats? I'm so paranoid they'll eat something toxic.
 

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I've tethered before. Sounds like you are super careful, so your goaties are probably fine! So long as you keep a close eye on them. ;) As for the oak, my goats eat oak like it is going out of style! The oak trees lowest branches are always the FIRST things totally cleaned off on our property. They've never had so much as a stomachache from it. I too see them on all the "poisonous" lists. But, never had any issues!
 

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oh yeah mine love oak! If it kills then mine are all walking dead :p I even feed the acorns as treats

your most dangerous plants that you will come across in most natural situations are:

Rhododendron, azaleas, Japanese Yew, cherry trees (and all pitted fruit trees, the fruit is ok just not the leaves of the trees - but mostly when wilted but I keep them away just to be safe), & Mountain Laurel

this is a fairly accurate listing for poisonous plants for goats http://fiascofarm.com/goats/poisonousplants.htm
 
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