We have around 3 acres of land now, most of it grass. I spend 5-6 hours a week mowing. We also have a barn with 4 stalls. Given these facts, Susan and I have been kicking around the idea of getting goats/sheep/alpaca that would help keep the grass trimmed, clear some of the land, and maybe produce hair for spinning and knitting. There’s also something of a principle at work here, which involves us working the land and trying to produce some of what we use locally ourselves. Mowing is a waste, but cleared land is an opportunity – for an acre of asparagus, or of sunflowers, or a bunch of goats, an acre of fruit or nut trees, or even just a field of wildflowers. We have several issues to deal with before we get there though, including getting water out to the barn (we’re thinking we’ll get a hand pump well drilled, since there’s a vernal pool nearby suggesting there’s ample groundwater close below) and how to contain the animals.
The well seems straightforward, but the fencing turns out to be complicated. There’s lots of ways to fence livestock. We could pay for or build permanent wooden, plastic or metal fencing. We could use horse panels, which are basically stiff steel wire fence panels with large rectangular holes, and move the animals around along with the fencing every couple of days. We could use corral panels, which are steel tube fencing panels which are sturdier than the horse panels but much more expensive. We could use movable plastic ribbon electric fence, which use plastic rods with foot pedals on them that you reposition periodically. Or we could do something we haven’t thought of yet. What would you do were you us? Permanent fencing doesn’t appeal much because of the cost and the lack of flexibility. Horse panels leave me nervous that I’m going to be chasing down escaped goats all the time. Corral panels seem pretty expensive (they run ~$8-10 a foot). The plastic ribbon fence is an eye sore and a lot of work to move around, plus even though they can use solar power, they do require the power. Basically, we’re not loving any of the options and debating what to do. Anyone else got an opinion they want to share, or other options?