A well-organised and thoughtful learning process is essential for your goats to learn Nofence with as few electric shocks as possible. Spend time observing your goats.
Do not put the goats into a Nofence grazing area without supervision! For example, you must not leave them in a mountain grazing area without first being well acquainted with the system. Leaving goats ‘free’ without them having learned the connection between the audio warning, the electric shock, and the boundaries of the area will lead to escape.
The following conditions must be observed when you start the learning process:
- Learning must take place at a location with sufficient mobile and GPS coverage. Refer to the sections ‘Designing grazing areas’ and ‘Accuracy of grazing boundaries’ later in the guide. If you have any doubts, you should conduct a test by walking around with a collar in your hand.
- The goats must have a sense of security in the area in which the learning will take place.
- Stay with the animals during the learning process.
- All adult goats must have a collar.
- The grazing area must be designed so that it is understandable for the goat, and the Nofence boundary must be placed in an area that the goats will want to seek out. Frequent contact with the Nofence boundary results in better learning
- In learning areas that are too small, the animals will become anxious. In learning areas that are too big, where the Nofence boundary is too far from the animals’ normal habitat, they will rarely come into contact with the boundary and the warning, and it will take longer for them to learn.
- Areas with sharp angles and narrow corridors can be perceived as illogical by the animals, so they will be unable to discern where the boundary is.
- Our experience of the learning process shows that goats must either receive an electric shock or see that another goat in the herd receives an electric shock in order for them to respect the audio warning as a fencing function.
- With learning in winter time, it may be challenging to get the animals to come into contact with grazing boundaries, as they will be strongly connected to the living area and feeders.
- When there are too many animals in the herd, those that normally stay at the back will not come into contact with the warning before the leaders of the herd have turned. Pay attention to ensuring that those at the back of the herd also get good training.
Here, we describe two learning principles, one which takes place within a physically fenced area and another in which parts of the physical fence have been removed. However, it is recommended that learning begins by using existing, physical fences. The physical fence is shown here as black fence posts, while the Nofence border is illustrated using a red dotted line between blue corner posts.
The Nofence boundary cuts off a part of the existing pasture area. This should be a place the goats will seek out for grazing as they have to cross the boundary to learn the system. There should be plenty of space outside the Nofence boundary (at least 50 metres) so that they have the ability to escape through all three warning fields and calm down before encountering a physical fence on the opposite side.
When learning, the first electric shock will often result in escape and the goat might need to be lured back into the grazing area using food. Therefore, it is important that you are present during the learning process until you can see that the goats are respecting the audio warning and turning around.
The most important aspect of the learning process is that the goats learn that they can turn the beep off by turning and going back into the grazing area. Therefore, it is important that the boundaries are placed so that the goats can easily understand what is in the grazing area. Define a simple grazing area with simple boundaries. And avoid placing the border in very rough terrain, on steep slopes or in areas with a lot of tall vegetation.
After an individual’s first or second contact with the Nofence boundary with subsequent electric shock, or seeing other goats receive electric shocks will normally allow a goat to understand the significance of the audio warning and the physical fence can be removed.
At the start, it is important that the grazing area is not changed often. A stable area and understandable grazing boundaries give the goats a safer and more easily learning experience.
It is also recommended to have the grazing area nearby so that you, as the animal owner, can oversee your animals often to make sure that everything is working as it should. It is necessary to observe the animals during the learning so that you learn how they respond to the system. Should you observe conditions that you need time to correct, it is important that you can collect the animals and disable the paws via the mobile app if needed.
When the goats have learned to master the connection between their behaviour and the collar warning, they can be moved to new pastures without using physical fences.
If you are certain that you will be able to lure your goats back after escape, you can replace part of the physical fence with the Nofence boundary.
Have you not had goats before? It is then important that you have had the animals in the area where the learning will take place for a sufficient length of time before starting the learning process. We cannot specify a minimum number of days for this as it depends on the composition of the herd and each individual. Experience from such situations indicates that approximately one week of living in the learning area is recommended.