Cost to Install Goat Fencing
Updated: Mar 22, 2020
Bottom Line Up Front: When installing a new fence to contain goats, expect to pay up to $2.00 per linear foot of fence line. There are variables that may increase or decrease your fencing expense, but plan carefully to ensure you have a proper fence for your needs.
If you are considering adding goats to your farm operation, one of the first things you need to plan for is proper fencing. This is an area where you simply should not take short cuts. Good fencing is imperative to keeping your goats from getting out of your pasture as well as ensuring their safety. As such, proper fencing for goats is not cheap, but it's a necessary investment that will last many years when done correctly.
So, what does it cost to install goat fencing? Let's look at a couple of scenarios to get an idea. In both of these examples we assume all the necessary tools are available, and it's just the wire, posts, and associated hardware that must be purchased.
The first example is simple and gives you an idea of basic costs: Betty has only a straight run of fence line to build. The distance Betty has measured is 320 feet. Her fence will consist of 2 wood H-braces, steel T-posts, and 48 inch tall goat & sheep woven wire fencing with 4 inch x 4 inch squares. She will place her posts 8 feet apart. And lastly, she is building this fence herself and not hiring a contractor.
Betty decides to make her H-braces out of 2 - 6 inch diameter posts (end post and brace post) and 1 - 5 inch diameter post for the cross member. Her line posts will be 6 foot long steel T-posts. Other supplies she needs include T-post clips, smooth brace wire, wire strainers (to tighten brace wire), brace pins, and fence staples.
Going through her supply shed Betty realizes she has none of these supplies on hand, so she heads down to the farm supply store and gets to shopping. Here is Betty's list and associated costs (based on San Antonio area prices in 2020):
6 inch diameter 8 foot long posts: 4 @ $19.99 each for a total of $79.96
5 inch diameter 8 foot long posts: 2 @ $14.99 each for a total of $29.98
6 foot long T-posts: 37 @ $3.69 for a total of $136.53
330 foot roll of goat & sheep woven wire fencing: 1 roll for a total of $259.99
100 foot roll of 12.5 gauge brace wire: 1 roll for a total of $19.99
T-post Wire Clips: 2 packs (to allow 5 clips per T-post) @ $9.99 per pack for a total of $19.98
Wire Strainer: 2 @ $5.99 each for a total of $11.98
Brace Pins: 4 @ 1.19 each for a total of $4.76
Fence Staples: A single 1 pound package for $2.99
Grand total for these supplies is $566.16 (not including taxes), and in this example of a 320 foot length of fence line it comes out to $1.77 per foot of fence line. (Note: technically we can break out the cost of woven wire and brace wire to a per foot amount, and also the clips and staples down to a per unit used amount, but that only changes the per foot calculation by a negligible amount. And we can't buy half of a roll of wire or half a bag of clips at the store).
Betty is jazzed by her first fence and decides to fence off a new paddock on her farm. She's doing a few things different for this project. In this case she will include a top strand of barbed wire, use 6.5 foot T-posts, and put a wood post in every 6th post position. Also, she will install a 12 foot gate for entrance into the paddock.
This paddock is a simple square layout at 320 feet by 320 feet. The terrain is flat with no obstacles to fence through or around. In this example her braces will be corner braces where two braces share the same end post (corner post). 3 of the corners will be like this, and the 4th corner will have two regular braces with the gate between them. 8 foot post spacing will be used again.
After careful planning, here is the list that Betty came up with:
6 inch diameter 8 foot long posts: 13 @ $19.99 each for a total of $259.87
5 inch diameter 8 foot long posts: 8 @ $14.99 each for a total of $119.92
6.5 foot long T-posts: 123 @ $4.19 for a total of $515.37
4 inch diameter 8 foot long posts: 23 @ $9.99 each for a total of $229.77
330 foot roll of goat & sheep woven wire fencing: 4 rolls @ $259.99 each for a total of $1039.96
1,320 foot roll of 12.5 gauge 2-point barbed wire: A single roll for a total of $69.99
100 foot roll of 12.5 gauge brace wire: 2 rolls @ $19.99 each for a total of $39.98
T-post Wire Clips: 7 packs (to allow 5 clips per T-post) @ $9.99 per pack for a total of $69.93
Wire Strainers: 8 @ $5.99 each for a total of $47.92
Brace Pins: 16 @ 1.19 each for a total of $19.04
Fence Staples: A single 8 pound bucket for $21.99 (she'll use more with the wood line posts in this scenario)
Gate: A single 12 foot tube gate for $129.99
Betty's latest fence project is more robust than the first one and comes out to a grand total of $2,563.73 (not including taxes). The perimeter of the project is 1,280 feet, and that comes out to $2.00 per foot. At just 23 cents more per foot of fence than in the first scenario, Betty has a sturdier and more functional fence. Naturally that adds up as the distance increases, but the expense is manageable when you plan properly.
Warning: You may be look at how much fence you have to put up and be thinking to yourself no way I'm paying that much per foot of fence - I have a lot of land to fence off! I will be smart and use nifty shortcuts to decrease this cost. Don't do it! Yes, there are ways to effectively decrease some expenses - which I will write about in another post - but there must be no substitute for quality. Going with smaller brace posts will lead to a weak brace which will fail on you. Shorter T-posts spaced farther apart will be pushed over easily. Generic, larger square woven wire is cheaper but will result in goats getting their heads stuck in the fence or them just getting through the fence altogether. It's an investment, so don't cut corners on quality.
Note: We chose a tube gate in Scenario 2 so as to have the cheapest gate option for this scenario, but keep in mind a tube gate in of itself is not a great choice for keeping goats contained; little ones will easily slip through the horizontal tubes. But covering a basic tube gate with excess woven wire easily remedies that problem and results in a perfectly functional gate for goats and sheep. If it's something more visible to passers-by and you'd like a more professional looking gate, you should plan to spend at least $170 for a wire filled gate.
Yes, there are ways to effectively decrease some expenses ... but there must be no substitute for quality.
Variables That Will Affect Cost
You see the change in expense from the very basic fence in the first scenario to the more robust fence in scenario #2. Here are variables that will change your cost to build a fence.
Size of and number brace posts: 6 inches is really as small of a diameter as you should use for the vertical posts on your braces. I personally would use larger posts if I have access to them, and that drives up the cost. Also, longer runs of wire may require double H-braces, thus increasing the number of brace posts.
Size of T-posts: I personally like 6.5 foot T-posts so that I have the option to add more wires along the top of fence while still keeping the post in the ground at a good depth. Again, another increase in expenses if you chose the longer 6.5 foot posts over the 6 foot option.
T-post clips: Some supply stores will include clips as part of the T-post purchase, so you may be able to avoid buying clips depending on where you shop. Tractor Supply Company includes the clips in the purchase.
Wood posts to the fence line: I like placing a cedar post every 5th post position on my fences for extra stability. I'm fortunate to know a guy who sells them for $5 apiece, and most wood posts you'd use on the fence line will cost at least that and usually more.
Wire Strainers: You may elect to forgo the wire strainer assembly and tension the brace wire using a "Spanish windlash" where you twist the brace wire until it's sufficiently tight. I believe the strainers are easier to maintain and safer, but twisted wire works fine if you know what you're doing and will save you some expense.
Barbed wire: It's not uncommon to add a strand of barbed above the woven wire fencing or along the bottom to deter predators from digging under your fence. A roll of cheap barbed wire runs around $50, but looking at it from a cost per foot basis it's inexpensive since barbed wire normally comes in rolls of 1,320 feet in length.
Gate: Hey, you need to get in and out of that paddock you're fencing off. As such, you should factor in gates as part of the fencing costs.
Post spacing: For goats, I keep my posts spaced at 8 feet apart and would not recommending going beyond that. Goats looove to lean upon and rub their bodies against a fence. The closer the posts the sturdier the fence will be and better able to withstand the goats' constant pressure. But some folks are comfortable going out to 10 feet between posts, and doing so will decrease your costs.
Labor: If you are reading this article my guess is you intend to build your fence with your own hands. But some folks may not have the time or are otherwise unable to do it themselves for one reason or another. If hiring someone to install your fence you will have to consider labor fees for doing so.
There are other variables that we don't discuss here that you may need to take into consideration for your own project. You may need to buy fencing tools if it's your first fence project. You might have obstacles to fence over or around. Clearing overgrown brush from you desired fence location will take money and time. Waterways have a whole host of special planning considerations for fencing. You may want to add on electric wire. Likewise, the cost of wire and other supplies varies depending on location. Each of these things will affect your own bottom line in some way. Do your research, and take your time planning out your fencing project.
Putting in a proper fence for containing goats can come with an eye-popping price tag, but it is important to use quality materials and build in correctly. Look at it as a long term investment. Take time to plan out your fence project, and this will allow you to come up with a good budget to work with. Hopefully this article gave you ideas of what to plan for. Share your thoughts in the comments.