My friend is on 15 acres in temperate climate Australia. She has 3 horses and a pony (she's a horse person), 3 miniature goats and a small flock of geese. She's also open to keeping other small animals or poultry.
I've been talking to her about using a rotational paddock system, where one species follows another through the paddock shifts to help break the parasite cycle. There's a fair bit of info about to his out there for ruminants and chickens, but nothing dealing with horses, goats and geese.
So I have a few quick questions. First, is it even feasable to use a paddock shift system with horses? The main concern is to keep the pastures healthy and break the cycle of disease, not minimising feed costs (she will definitely still need to provide feed to her horses and goats). Or will the horses just compact the ground and ruin the pastures? I'm not sure if they need to sleep in their stables every night or what exactly happens with horses, as I've never kept them.
Secondly, what animal/s would ideally follow horses over the pasture? I was thinking chickens or guinea fowl might be good, but I'm not sure. What animals would ideally follow goats? And what about the geese? Or should she just keep the geese out of the paddock system and use them to weed her orchard area?
I'd like to help her work out a better system, but I've never kept any "farm" type animals and know nothing about their care or disease issues.
You can rotate horses, just need to use electric tape instead of twine so they can see it easier. Bringing them back to the stable every night doesn't break the parasite cycle. They need to stay COMPLETELY out of an area for 30-60 days. You usually can't afford two stables, but can get a simple loafing shed or just natural shelter during good weather to break that cycle. Keeping chooks in the stable can help, too. That is a good use of silkies, as they don't fly and roost up high which would make a bigger mess.
You do have to pay attention to timing of the rotation, it is similar to cattle but you have to watch closely for signs of stress on the pasture. I don't know enough about your pastures or weather to give even a guess as to paddock size or rotation timing.
Chickens are usually best behind the big animals because they scratch down the piles. Or pigs, but most do not want to deal with pigs. I would run the chickens and goats together. They need similar fence but eat different things.. Running the geese with them would be very good for the pasture fertility and be good guards for the chickens (if they aren't bullies) if there is enough for them to eat. That depends on what is left after the horses. Those three animals make a great herd for small spaces, maybe they can rotate around the edges and the orchard part of the time to reduce pests and feed. The geese act like miniature cattle as far as what they eat.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
As far as chickens of any sort in the barn or a shed with my horses? Not on my grandmothers tintype. I was raised on an Old McDonald's dairy farm and personally know all that chicken manure deposited in the human yard, where I ran barefoot is disgusting and vulgar.
One of my horses has had a nest of Barn swallows over him for the last several years. I am ok with wiping a few dollops of barn swallow p--p off his back but, if I had chickens, they would have their own house in their own fenced area. Besides, the coyotes would kill them in short order, if they were left loose.
Marie van Houtte
posted 4 years ago
Thanks for all the info folks
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