Where we live we aren't allowed to have cows... We have two horses, goats, and chickens. I want to do pasture rotation but don't know if horses can "replace" the cow's job. Does anyone have advice or insight to this?
I would probably do sheep as a replacement for cows since they are closer to grazers than goats are. Goats really do not do well if forced to eat from the ground where they pick up parasites. Goats prefer to eat above their shoulders. This is why I am getting rid of our goats. They were nice to clear out some brush areas, but I am at the tree planting stage and a goat can eat $100 in trees in an afternoon. A herd can eat thousands of dollars worth of fruit trees before you realize they have gotten through the fence.
It is harder to do, but it is better for the pasture.
Horses will overgraze the best areas really quick, but will not eat anything close to their poop. SO, you need to spread the poop mechanically. If you can figure out a way to move the piles to the "good" spots it will help with the selective overgrazing.
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for my 2 horses, a sacrifice area (the round pen) is necessary and I have had to become the grazing "nazi". No mater how pathetic, ornery or sweet they are, they wont get out on the good pasture till May when the grass has some energy to the roots. If i can stick to my guns this year hopefully it will be earlier next year. They also stay off the pasture at night (which means they need a little hay) or they get way too fat.
Sheep have helped a lot, spreading their futility more evenly and eating almost all weeds. we have only had to mow 1x a year since we have had them.
If i feed some whole oats and whole corn the chickens and turkeys go through the piles and break them up. Hoping they will follow the horses into the pasture for larvae in the piles out in the pasture when it get warm.
My pastures have improved greatly since rotating and am going to try and manage better this year. It's always a work in progress.
posted 6 years ago
Thank you all for the relpies... Right now we have a huge arena and seperate corrals for them. We have been using their manure in the garden areas and letting the chickens spread it around. It is just a lot of poo hauling, which is fine, but we are thinking of ways to section off pasture areas to rotate them first, then maybe the goats (but it sounds like they suck for grazing), finishing off with the chickens. I wanted to use the horses in Lou of a cow so it seems that I can as long as I'm careful that they don't over graze....?
We have a lot of mature trees that have great grass and soil established around them so I've letting the horses trim it down so I can try planting various things around them and see what takes off.
Thanks again, everyone!
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