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We have been using electric fencing to keep our Kiko goats in all spring and summer, moving them at least once a week or more often to make sure they have plenty of food to eat. We don’t have goat proof perimeter fencing, some areas have no fencing at all. We are working to remedy that problem, but have had pretty good luck so far.
Suddenly it was fall. The leaves started to change colors into a beautiful world. A beautiful world where the goat’s favorite foods (brambles and woody plants) are losing leaves. The goats suddenly had to be moved every other day, they would eat every edilble thing they could find, and fast! We were watching the goats and their food supply closely, but one Wednesday afternoon when Travis and I went to move the goats, the goats were gone!
We quickly found how they got out, one of the posts had fallen over. The ground is very rocky and hard due to lack of rain, one of the posts must not have been in the ground as far as it should have been and had fallen over. One of our Kikos, Cricket, is always on fence patrol. She is always walking the fence to see if there may be some way to get out. She found a way! Travis and I got on the 4 wheeler and started looking around our property, we looked EVERYWHERE. No goats. Where could they have gone?? Then the neighbor called and asked, “Are you looking for some goats?”. Another neighbor had spotted 7 goats while sitting in his deer stand. Yay! The problem was that the neighbor lived 5 miles away and the goats were in some thick woods.
I stayed home to do evening chores and Travis went over to the neighbors to check out the situation. He came back about 30 minutes later with 2 of our goats, the only 2 that would come up to him. After putting these to runaways in with our dairy goats, Travis took our son and went back to attempt to put a portable electric fence around the remaining 5 goats. After several attempts and I’m sure a lot of cursing, the goats were safely surrounded in electric fence for the night. As they finished fencing them in, the coyotes started to howl close by, confirming the definite need for the electric fence!
The kids had a homeschool field trip to Caney Mountain the following morning (Thursday) and Travis had promised to go along with the kids and I. We knew the goats were safe for the time being so we didn’t get to the goats until that afternoon. I had to pick up our food co-op order, so Travis and our son went to see if they could get the goats into the trailer. Travis managed to get the trailer close to the fence and all was looking good. The plan of attack was to slowly make the pen smaller until the goats ran into the trailer. Sounds plausible, right? It was working well, until one of the posts started to lean a little and the goats jumped over the fence and were gone in a flash! At this point, we were seriously wondering why on earth we ever decided to get Kikos! Our best guess was that the goats had high tailed it to Arkansas. We talked to our neighbors that lived in general area that the goats were headed, but honestly didn’t think that we would ever see those goats again. Especially with deer hunting season starting, and most of our goats being brown.
Fast forward to Friday evening, 2 days since we had discovered our goatie girls missing. I was standing by our guest house, looking at the roof progress, when I looked down into the holler and noticed 5 goats wandering around in the pasture by our dairy goat barn. At first, it looked like the 2 Kiko goats that Travis had managed to grab had found a way out and had taken the dairy goats for a tour around the farm. But after looking again, this was not the case. Our renegade Kiko goats had come home! I jumped on the 4 wheeler and Travis took his pickup with the electric fence and fence charger still in the back to see if we could catch them. I grabbed some alfalfa pellets from the barn as a treat on my way to the pasture the goats were in. The girls were very flighty, but we managed to keep them in the pasture thanks to those alfalfa pellets to distract them while we quickly put the electric fence around them. It was to our benefit that it had rained the night before, the posts for the electric fencing went right in. The Kiko girls settled down by the next day and would let me pet them once again. The treats I gave them definitely helped.
The moral of the story?
1. Goats are ornery; even though they are cute you can’t trust ’em.
2. In the fall, rotational grazing for goats is interesting indeed! Keep the hay coming!
Do you have a story about your animals getting out?