Friday, April 13, 2012

Pallet Fence for Goats

Being short on money, short on time, and short on pasture, we decided to try our hand at a pallet fence for the goats.  The bucks are currently in a pen that is about 100' x 100', and we wanted to extend it out to our mound septic system, which has to be fenced off anyway.  After scouring the Internet for ideas on how to make it stable, we used a modified system similar to many we saw.  Today, over a couple of hours of me mostly watching because I had the baby in a sling and Rob screwing and drilling, we put in 116' of pallet fence:

 This is the fence we are replacing.  It is saggy field fence that was only hand tight because we didn't have corner braces.  Our full size milk goat bent the crap out of the wire reaching over to eat, so it was in danger of collapsing and letting everyone free.

 You can see how the fence is bent if you look closely.  In the distance is our green barn.  It is something like 20'x20', so very small, but enough to house the hay, goats and a tack room.  When I had horses, two fit in one side with enough hay for the winter in the other.  I like this use for it better. :)

 Logan is king of the pallet pile, and he flashed a cheesy grin after insisting I take a picture of him.  For 116' of pallet fence, we used 33 pallets.  Five pallets, with four standing up and one laid sideways for a brace, make 14' of fence.

 It's hard to see much detail in this photo, but here is the 116' of fence, with a 16' cattle panel as a gate.  We drive in this side to unload hay in the barn, so we wanted a big access gate and had panels on hand.

Our pattern to make it sturdy was this: two upright pallets, followed by one laid sideways to help support the fence from tipping back and forth, and another two upright pallets after that.  The two upright and one sideways alternate the entire length of the fence.  We started at one end with a t-post driven in to provide stability, and used two t-posts for the pallets at the gate, and finished with a t-post at the other end.  Otherwise, using the sideways pallets provides enough support and no posts are needed to keep it upright.

To connect the pallets, we screwed 3" deck screws into the top.  We started out using them top and bottom, but it turned out that they stayed just as stable with only one screw in the top of each side.  Pallets are made of hardwood for the most part, so you have to drill a pilot hole first or fight fight fight to get the screws in.

We used all of the pallets we had available, so we're waiting for more to complete the other side.  We need close to 40 more to complete the other side, which is also 116' even though we didn't plan it out at all.

The bucks are so preoccupied with the does on the other side of the fence by the barn that they hardly even venture out to this side.  I expect the 4' height of the pallets will be enough for Nigerian Dwarf goats to stay in.  I wouldn't use these on the fence between bucks and does, because I would worry that they might get to thinking about how easy it would be to climb over.  For the fence between, I will use cattle panels and plenty of t-posts.

We finished this entire side of the pallet fence in about three hours.  It would have gone much quicker if I could have actually helped, but doing nothing while the colicky baby sleeps is a much better idea.


  1. I wanted to know how well this fence has kept your goats in. We have nigerians and my husband was wanting to build pens out of pallets. I was concerned about them getting over the fence.

  2. It has mostly worked extremely well for our Nigerians. See how in the last picture the laid down brace pallets are on the short side? We had a buck figure out he could jump on that and then go over, so we turned them to be upright and the same height as the rest of the fence. It didn't affect the stability but makes it harder for them to jump on it - it kept him in after that.

    I had about 30 goats, including kids, this spring, and one doe kid did figure out she could get on top. She would balance and walk across the top of the fence. Drove me nuts, but she was the only one who ever did that. She also gets out of every other fence, so I don't know that it makes the fence bad, but there will probably always be some that can escape if they're determined enough.

    So with all that said, I still like this fence best. I can put it up myself in a few minutes, tie it together with baling twine (we only used screws on this one side) and have $0 fencing.

    Also, I did end up using it between the bucks and does and as long as those brace pallets are upright, no problems. Plus, no worries about fence breeding because they can't connect with the pallets between them. :)