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We want to keep costs down, but want something that will last, that wildlife can't get in and our critters can't get out.

Saw 6ft high steel fencing with rectangular mesh that got smaller at the bottom (for rodents).

Wildlife: deer, skunks, coons, rodents Critters: Couple of German Shepherds, chickens, maybe goats Terrain: somewhat hilly, Northern California terrain (rainy winters, hot dry summers)

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    Hungry deer laugh at six foot fences. Would you consider zones of interest in your backyard? veggies surrounded by 8' double fence, house area by 6' fence, no fencing for pasture or forest? – kevinsky Jan 6 '20 at 12:54
  • You can't. You will be doing well just to keep mice out of your house, forget a barn/shed. – blacksmith37 Apr 6 '20 at 16:24
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Hello & Welcome Doug,

You left coyotes & cougars off your list. There is no way to keep out Raccoons. They can climb any fence. Deer can leap anything lower than 8'. Skunks & rodents can dig there way in. Unless you put up a concrete barrier both below and above the ground.

Most fences as long as they are not too low will hold most dogs, unless they are diggers. Chickens need to be in a coop/hutch at night or skunks will kill them, as well as owls, raccoons, & coyotes. If you get chickens you will attract rats. The chickens can run around in the daytime, but you risk Hawks picking them off unless you keep them in a large enclosed area at all times. Goats need enclosed building to go into at night. Otherwise they are easy cougar prey.

You can install a 6' tall cedar fence with a 2' lattice on top. That will keep the deer & coyote out. Other than that you moved to Northern California.

Welcome to Cascadia.

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    Consider the long term expenses of repairing and replacing and install the best you can afford. – That Idiot Jan 6 '20 at 12:23
  • I ran across a deer fence product that was relatively inexpensive ($28/100 ft), but the sellers were quite clear that because it is a mesh it is likely to entangle small animals and even deer if they don't see it at night (recommendation was to tie light-colored ribbon on it at the 3-4;' height). To avoid accidentally trapping and killing small wildlife, they also suggest that the mesh be mounted at least 6" above ground level. It might be less expensive to build a large chicken coop and conventionally fence the goats in a smaller pen than to keep out everything you listed. – Jurp Jan 6 '20 at 12:49
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It is difficult. The best method: look around you, to see what other have done, and ask how their method is effective. There is a lot of try and error loop, and it is good if the "error" part was done by others ;-)

An option is to use the electric fences, ask to a local dealer: it depends on soil, vegetation, and wild animals which and how to set up an electric fence: you need probably many lines near (and maybe below) soil, for the small games. You can have the electric fences with are powered with a solar panel (and a battery for night).

Maybe you need an hydrid one: steel fencing with rectangular mesh for the very bottom part (and also undersoil! or rats will dig a hole to pass), and above the electric fence, so that nobody could pass over it.

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