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
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    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. – user7222 Sep 26 '14 at 2:12
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    After watching a goat eat a rag with car polish on it ; I doubt you have a chance. – blacksmith37 Sep 17 '19 at 19:02

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

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.


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.


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.


Try applying fresh cow dung or goat dung on leaves. The stinky odor keeps the goats away from them. Check the type of plant before spraying it. Sometimes it might harm the leaves.

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    And don't even think about that practise in your veggie patch! – Stephie May 7 '16 at 15:16

A tea of goat dung has been use since before I was a kid that was 65 years ago and my grandmother told me about that and she passed at 87 abut 40 yrs ago they lived and didn't get diseased and the tea helps the plant to thrive. secondly after raising a herd of over a hundred goats I've found that a 39 inch woven wire fence with two strands of barbed wire with a strand of electric wire between them and one half way up on the woven wire does good also if you can rotate them bi-daily and into areas that has some brush that seems to entertain them and they aren't so apt to want to got out as quick.

  • I strongly disagree with the use of barbed wire for animal enclosures. It is not only cruel (because animals can also get tangled by accident, e.g. when frightened or startled), but also can cause nasty infected wounds on the animals. The use of uncomposted dung directly on plants is risky as well (parasites, pathogens!), that your grandmother suffered no ill effects does not make the practise safe. – Stephie May 7 '16 at 15:02

Dog poop does the trick for my sheep. You have to replace the bags regularly or it will contaminate the soil. It does not look pretty but it will do the job.

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    That's a bad idea because of the risk of disease/parasite contamination. – J. Musser Dec 3 '15 at 3:42

Shooting in the air will work for about 1 hr then they are back again. I can't afford the chain link fence (don't think that would keep them out) and definitely would not put up a electric fence around my yard with kids around.

  • this is a comment, not an answer – black thumb Apr 4 '19 at 17:11

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