Goats are remarkable creatures and important livestock animals the world over. But despite this, they tend to be among the peskiest animals you can own. They are destructive, prone to mischief, and expert escape artists. In fact, some beleaguered owners suggest that there is no enclosure they can’t escape from!
Most breakouts occur when a goat just leaps right over a fence, and that’s a known risk you’ll need to account for. So, just how high will goats jump?
Domestic goats can jump anywhere from 3 to 5 feet high, depending on breed and individual. Wild goats, and especially mountain goats, can make astonishing vertical leaps of up to 12 feet!
Goats really are superb climbers and mountaineers, and part of their excellence comes from their leaping ability.
If you don’t build your fences tall enough you might as well not have them at all as far as goats are concerned. It isn’t something to lose sleep over, though you’ll be doing plenty of that anyway.
Keep reading and I will tell you more about how great at jumping goats are.
Why Can Goats Jump So Well?
There are two parts to this answer: the “how” and the reason for it. Goats jump well due to a combination of their relatively overdeveloped legs, excellent balance, and natural instinct for climbing.
Jumping facilitates climbing in the sheer, rocky environments where many of them live, so it is natural they are able jumpers.
These jumping skills have evolved over time to help them reach food that might be out of reach for other animals. And more importantly, jumping can be crucial for escaping predators!
This ability to quickly ascend heights and place themselves out of reach of jaws and claws can mean the difference between life and death in the wild.
Even though our domestic goats face far fewer threats, their ancient adaptations persist.
How High Can Domestic Goats Jump?
Most domestic goat breeds can easily jump anywhere from 3 to 5 feet high. This, obviously, can be highly problematic when striving to keep your goats contained: they can leap right over common livestock panels and fences!
It’s essential to consider this jumping ability when designing and building enclosures for your herd: A low fence will be less than useless and no impediment whatsoever to a goat ready for some out-of-pen adventuring.
How High Can Wild Goats Jump?
If you thought domestic goats were impressive jumpers, wait until you hear about their wild cousins. These most-agile goats can jump frankly astonishing heights. Wild mountain goats, for instance, can easily clear 12 feet in a single vertical bound! Truly incredible.
This skill is needed not only for reaching higher ledges and footholds to navigate and find food, but also for evading equally agile predators like bears and mountain lions, and sometimes large birds of prey, that hunt them.
Even more impressive is their sure-footedness that allows them to make these leaps and traverse steep and unforgiving terrains with confidence.
Are Pygmy Goats Good Jumpers?
Pretty good, considering their size, and comparable to most other domestic species. A pygmy goat can usually leap around 3 feet, but some have been known to reach heights of up to 4 feet.
This is quite impressive considering their diminutive size, and it does help keep them in place compared to other, more athletic domestics. Pygmy goats may be tiny, but they can certainly still impress when it comes to their acrobatic abilities.
How Far Can a Goat Safely Jump Down?
It depends. Generally, a healthy domestic goat can safely jump down from heights of around 8 feet at most without injuring themselves.
When it comes to jumping down from a high perch, goats are generally as skilled as they are at leaping upwards but often more reluctant to do so. Though their bodies are designed to handle the serious shock of landing after jumping significant heights, but it’s not as much as you might think.
Injuries from long drops or missed jumps are hardly uncommon, especially to the hooves, legs, and joints. You might gasp to see your goats hop down from some high spot now and then, and they might seem no worse for the wear after, but it doesn’t mean they should be encouraged to do so!
How High Do Your Fences Need to Be to Contain Goats?
To effectively contain a domestic goat, your fences must be no less than 4 feet tall and preferably 5 feet tall or taller. Some athletic breeds can easily clear a 4-foot fence!
Also, any fence should be sturdy enough to withstand a goat’s weight, as they will invariably try to lean and rub on it and might try to climb it.
Keep Obstacles and Ledges Away from Fences
Note that goats are avid explorers and surprisingly good problem solvers. If you have any obstacles or objects near your fence line, even a thin ledge, your goats can leap to it, and then leap over the fence.
Remember, they do not need a running start! They will also “lily pad” from an object farther away to the next, to the next, and to the next before finally hopping over a fence.
Think this through when designing their pen!
Consider Electric Fencing if You Cannot Build a Tall One
Another option you can consider for containing goats: is electric fencing.
Electric fencing works by delivering a small and painful but ultimately harmless shock to a goat whenever it comes into contact with it. This greatly discourages them from even going near it, and will stifle many attempts to jump over or climb through it.
Although it seems counter-intuitive, the goal is to provide a safe and secure environment for your goats to live in. This type of fencing can help you do that, and may work better on containing hardened escape artists compared to typical and taller fencing.
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.
Find out more about Tim and the rest of the crew here.