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I have a couple of goats I like to let run around my yard, problem is I have a few flowering plants out there too. The goats seem to target these heavily, I was wondering if there was some way to keep them from eating specific plants/groups of plants? They get all the free choice hay they want at their pen, so I know they're not starving.

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I know goats are terrors for eating just about anything. One thing I know from my keeping my own livestock (though not goats) is that they like variety so just providing abundant tasty high quality hay is unlikely to ever keep them from exploring and even stripping other plants. –  Tea Drinker Jul 10 '12 at 9:18
    
We tried to spray the plants with olive oil and cayenne pepper. It stopped em for a while. Like one second. They licked their lips and continued to eat. Oh well. –  Rosemary Sep 26 at 2:12

5 Answers 5

Goats are browsers rather than grazers. That means that they prefer to eat woody shoots and stems of trees and shrubs (including your flowering plants) over grasses like hay. In this regard goats are more closely related to deer than to other domestic livestock like sheep or cattle, which are both grazers.

Like Tea Drinker mentioned they also like variety and will try pretty much anything if left to their own devices.

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They're smart too! They know to sneak back inside the fence just before you come back home. –  kevinsky Jul 13 '12 at 17:09

Sure: a 6-foot high fence. Preferably with some electrification.

Given that goats will, on occasion, eat things as diverse as cardboard, newspaper, clothing and cat food, nothing you can spray on your plants is going to dissuade them.

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You don't need electric fences that high. 3 feet will do. We got our poultry and sheep fencing from Premier 1 - (not affiliated - just a customer of 3 years) –  Tim Aug 27 '12 at 4:14

Good quality electric fence will do the trick. It only needs to be 32 or 36 inches high. It will also keep them from standing on your car.

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Some goats are immune to electric fences. I usually chase my goats out of the roses and various other plants with a stick. I have also resorted to waving my arms and rather ugly words. I never touch them (well today I whacked the female for the first time) she had just finished off the last of the newly potted plants, in our enclosed anti-goat terrace. They are lovely but the male goat pisses on the children's toys. Yes, he is a goat, not a dog. I have a 3 foot wooden fence and it is just something fun to jump over. I also have a four foot electric fence that deters all other animals but goats.

My advice is to love your goats more than the plants because they will eat all your favorites, perch on everything like parrots, bleat early in the morning and their mating habits are not good morning material.

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We have goats on our farm. Larger ones and small, Dwarf Nigerian ones. One things is true about animals in a fence, they'll test the fences. Horse, donkey, pig, goat... they'll test the fence and if the fence has a weakness, they'll likely find it.

We use goat/sheep fence to keep the goats within their fields. This is a woven wire fence with 4" x 4" openings. The woven wire is more expensive than the welded wire but it is considerably more durable. Our goat fence is 4' high and that is certainly sufficient to contain a goat as long as there is nothing nearby upon which it can climb. We utilize electric tape to encourage the larger animals to respect the fence (a horse can put tremendous pressure on fence posts) but the goats tend to be happy with their pasture.

To keep them off of a particular area, I'd think step-in posts with electric netting and a sufficiently powerful solar charger would be a good choice.

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