With Nofence, you can design grazing areas arbitrarily, irrespective of terrain and surroundings. The only limitations is the size, the grazing area can have maximum 39 fence posts and 3,2 km radius.
It is important to have the animals’ natural behaviour and familiarity with Nofence in mind when creating grazing areas and transferring them to the collars. If the grazing area has angles that are too sharp or has narrow corridors, the goats will encounter the boundaries almost any time they turn. It must be logical and easy for the goat to understand where it can go when the collar warning starts. You must also consider that in practice, the grazing boundaries will fluctuate somewhat (see section on GPS accuracy). Information available at my.nofence.no gives you an overview of where the goats are staying, where they are receiving the most beeps, and where they have received any electric shocks. Use this information to adjust the Nofence boundaries.
If the grazing area is too small, has too little food, or has other characteristics that make the goat not want to be there, it increases the chances that the discomfort they experience from staying in the area will be greater than the discomfort of the electric shock they receive when leaving the area. It is important to examine the cause of any escape to prevent it from happening again. If an animal is exhibiting unexpected behaviour, there is a reason for it.
Goats are herd animals, and Nofence recommends conditions that facilitate protection of the goats’ herding instinct. In addition, one depends on the herd instinct if a goat escapes, it is the need to get back to the herd that causes the goat to turn and return to the grazing area. Therefore, Nofence does not recommend the use of the technology on herds of less than 4 goats.
In a herd there will normally be different relationships between the animals, such as kinship, friends, enemies, and drifters. Nofence discourages the use of our grazing technology to split herds into smaller groups if the distance between the grazing areas is so small that the goats can see or recognise each other’s smell. Nor is it to be used for overlapping grazing so that 2 herds have partly the same grazing area and partly their own grazing area.
The figure below illustrates good and bad grazing area designs. This is a general illustration and it is important that you use your knowledge of your farm and your goats to design good grazing pastures that are suitable for your own use.
Here, the boundaries lie too close to the house. The GPS position will be incorrect due to reflections from the building. You may find that the goats can walk along the wall of the house and do not get a good enough position before coming into an area that is more open. In such cases, there will also be a great risk of drifting if the goat lies along the wall of the house. Refer to the section on GPS.
Here, the boundary is well located in relation to the building, and there is no risk of disruption to the GPS signal.
Where Nofence is used to fence off a smaller area from a designated grazing area, you must consider the size of areas available to the animals.
For example, if you fence off every individual fruit tree in an orchard, it will be difficult for the animals to understand as they will have only narrow corridors to move in. In such cases, they will encounter the boundaries regardless of which way they turn.
Here, all fruit trees are gathered in a ‘hole’ in the pasture, which is straightforward and easy for the goats to understand.
Grazing boundaries that run straight through buildings will shadow the GPS and there will be a great risk of drifting. The goats may receive the sound and shock inside the building if they do not have contact with the beacon.
One possible solution within the farmyard: Here, you can add grazing boundaries with the red dotted line and also set up physical fences (marked in green) if you want to have the animals close to the farm buildings.
Here, there is steep terrain and forest on the slope down towards the water. When the goats are resting, there may be poor indication of their position, which may be perceived as being outside the grazing area if the boundary is too close. Steep terrain results in inaccurate positioning due to GPS shadowing. In such cases, they may experience the sound/electric shock when they are lying down and resting.
Here, the bad positions have been taken into account and a good margin has been entered down the slope.
The perceived accuracy of a grazing boundary is affected by 2 factors. One is the movement patterns of the goat when it passes the grazing boundary, the second is the perceived GPS accuracy of the collar at any time. Therefore, before you start using the collar on your goats, Nofence recommends that you walk around with a collar in your hand and observe where the collar warning starts. Try several times and at several different places along the grazing boundary. This will give you a good understanding of what the experience can be like for the goat to wear the collar, and it will give you important information about how to design the grazing boundaries. Places at which it is especially important that the goats do not stay should be fenced off with relatively good margins at the start. According to what you observe from the behaviour of the animals in these areas and in my.nofence, the grazing boundaries can be adjusted.
Experience shows that the goats may stand and graze in the warning field for a short time (up to 20 seconds) before they turn back to the grazing area in order to avoid electric shock.
Here are three different examples of unsuitable grazing areas that will be too complicated.
The corridors become too narrow so the goats encounter the boundaries whichever way they turn. The grazing area will be too small and the goats will not understand which direction to turn in to turn off the sound.
Furthermore, GPS drifting will become a problem when the collar goes into ‘Quiet’ mode when the goat is resting. They may then experience the beep and electric shock when lying at rest because the pasture boundary is too close.
Have a larger area on one side.
Grazing in the channel after haymaking, then the goats can walk on the adjacent ground.