Tips needed for protecting my plants from animals like cows and goats.

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    Would you provide more information regarding your situation. Is it a small garden, large? Is it flat, or on a hill side? Is it rented or owned? How many cows and goats are there? Are these yours or someone elses on the property? Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 2:31

2 Answers 2


You will have some difficulty (at least from goats). There are a few solutions I'm aware of -

  1. Kill the goat(s) - Its the only way to be sure.
  2. Put goats on a chain or in a run (arguably more cruel then (1) above.
  3. Build a fence.

For me, 3 was the only realistic option - actually we had a fence, but the goats kept on walking through it as if it wasn't there. Assuming your goats are not jumpers you will need something at least 1.2 meters high, and with fencing wire no more then 30cm apart at the top, and much closer (and taught) at the bottom. If your goats are jumpers, you may need to add an electric fence. (Note the fence pic below is suitable for content adult goats - when they were small, our goats would have gotten through this easily - they just could not be bothered as there were no people to play with on the other side)


A technique which helped us A LOT was to build lightweight yokes (3 pieces of wood, each about 50cm long, shaped in an overlapping triangle attached to the goats necks - this made it a lot harder for them to evade the fences) - See below. You need to make sure the wood is fairly strong initially, as they will break it otherwise - or maybe a different design - this is just something we came up with based on a loose description from an aquaintance, it helped a lot.

Goat Yokes

I have little expertise with cows, but I understand they are a lot easier to contain - our neighbour runs cows onto our land and simply uses an electric wire. If you do build a [non-electrified] fence, it will need pretty sturdy poles in case the cows lean on it. Cows are not interested in escaping like goats though.

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    Using electric wires is cruel to animals I think. Why would anyone do that ? Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 7:46
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    @newguy its more humane than letting them get through the fence & get slammed into by a 40 tonne truck. The electric is a deterrent, they quickly learn not to touch the fence anymore and thus it no longer bothers them after an incredibly short time period.
    – James T
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 8:03
  • Those yokes are a good idea. I saw them on a BBC show about living on a farm in the 1700s, or middle ages. But since the show hosts could find only descriptions, no drawings, they could not find out how it works. You nailed it.
    – Bulrush
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 15:02
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    I raised goats for years, and beg people not to do this! Goats don't like things around their necks, and will: get brain damage banging their head against anything that will free them; choke to death if they become partially but not all the way free; break a neck thrashing to get loose. If they fall over injured, it makes it hard to get up. My goat died when he got caught in a fence just trying to get off a small collar. @Bulrush can't find directions because people no longer do it. If it worked for your goats, fine, but in general it's a tragedy waiting to happen. Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 23:14
  • @Sue Thank you for your feedback - I really did not want to do this - but whenever I removed the collars the goats kept getting out the fence - no matter how much time or money I spent on fixing it up - and they did not (and don't) appear to be stressed or trying to remove the yokes (We have had them for about 8 months). Do you know of any practical alternatives, and, if I remove the yokes, are they likely to try and escape the fence again, or are they likely to be "house broken" ? My remaining avocado small plants really won't withstand being eaten again.
    – davidgo
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 23:35

You need to build a fence, or a wall.

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