The enclosure where we keep the goats is not large enough to supply them with adequate grazing so we have to feed them hay every day. During the green months, I usually pick a lush area of grass and weeds and stake them out on a long braided rope with clippy-doo-dads on each end.
One clip gets attached to the goat's collar, the other to the tree or t-post (or wheel of the truck, boat trailer or heavy tractor implement).
Although this may seem like the answer for those of you who desperately want goats, but have yet to install goat-proof fencing for your dreamed-about caprine buddies, let me tell you that it is NOT.
Goats are escape artists. They will lean on, push, shove, nose under, climb over and generally make your fencing look as if a tornado ripped through your area and just dropped a mess of wire around your homestead. We sold a doeling to a couple who claimed that she would scale their 4' high chain link fence to go visiting with the neighbor's goats. The best "fencing" in not only a physically tough barrier, but one that contains the BEST greenery, as we all know that the grass (and briers) are always greener on the other side. This is, of course, almost impossible, but it does help if your goats do not harbor pasture-lust for things outside of their enclosure. If they are happy munching on what's inside their pen, they'll be less likely to want to go outside the fence. But this post is not about goat fencing; I'll do one in the near future though.
Even though the clippy-doo-dad method of staking out goats sounds perfect, it also has it's drawbacks. First of all, you must be within eye or at least ear-shot of them. Because even though you may have picked a relatively snag-free area of grazing for them, they will find the smallest twig to snag the rope on. And in three minutes flat, they will have wound themselves around said twig no less than three-hundred and fifty-two times until they are laying on the ground because there is no more slack in the rope. I had staked Pan outside several weeks ago and he tangled the rope into a knotted mess around a long dead sapling that was, I kid you not, sticking up only three inches from the ground.
It pays to make sure the grazing area is clear of such obstructions even those as unassuming as large rocks as those will also be used to create a sort of knotted-up goat-macrame project that you will not be able to un-knot. Even when the grazing area is cleared of any obstructions, it is only a matter of time (say, four minutes after you've left the goats and just started a conversation with your insurance agent on the phone) before they get themselves tangled up in the rope.
So why do I still clip the goats out on a lead? Because it's the best I can do right now to get them fresh, green grass. And as long as I can easily see and hear them, it's just a matter of going back outside and untangling them. Now that I think about it, it's usually Pan and Annette that get the rope all messed up; Nettie and Chop Suey must be more rope-savvy. But at least I won't have to worry about Pan much longer.