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multi-species grazing questions!

 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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I decided to post this in the cattle section because it seems to get more viewing and posting. plus it seems like more people with cattle do multi-species grazing than if I look to goat-people or sheep-people. mods/admins/whoever if this might be better suited in a different section I apologize! (:

I found something online that I had noted ages ago and wondering what yall think.
1) if the land is good pasture your stocking rates suggested about 1 cow equal to 5-6 sheep or 6-8 goats. or stock it with your 1 cow plus 1-2 goats.
2) if the land is brushy your stocking rates suggested about 1 cow equal to 6-7 sheep or 9-11 goats. or stock it with your 1 cow plus 2-4 goats.
3) if the land is being worked for brush eradication stocking about 8-12 goats per acre or about 0.5 cow plus 6-8 goats.
4) if the land is being worked for brush management stocking about 1-3 goats per acre.

I thought the 3 & 4 were a bit odd.. I mean what would equal 0.5 a cow?? hahaha! a small feeder calf that you butcher young?? I don't really know.

so my questions:
I have a 5 acre pasture that I want to fix up the fence and (as I can afford it) put up fence inside that area to divide into at least 3 paddocks for rotating the animals. previously it has held goats as a single permanent pasture. we had in it anywhere from 5 young dairy does up through: 7 milk does, 1 6y/o breeding dairy buck and 1 yearling dairy buck,.. plus weaned kids from 3m/o to yearlings and some years only having 2 out there for a few months or having 15 out there for a few months or even still having 5-8 out there from spring weaning through fall selling as breed ready yearlings.. and all the while add to that an appaloosa mare, an idiot little pony, and once a jersey steer calf bottle fed up through 15m/o at butcher.
the only time it ever looked bad was the one year it was extremely hot pretty much spring to fall with very little rain. and we are used to a decent amount of rain here in ohio. it was bad though, creek dried up, lake too low to allow swimming, our huge old black walnut trees across the yard would creak and whine and snap and dropped several big limbs (a few the sizes of decent yard trees themselves!).

1) a few spots that I have noted as tending to get dry and not grow in the hottest of the summer I would like to hand dig some small swale. suggestions on what to plant that over with?

2 a) my focus is on sheep, mainly a wool flock and dabble in meat and animal sales.
2 b) I would like to also raise a smaller breed dairy cow for household milk, a butcher calf to raise out, and maybe help raise out some cheap bottle baby animals.
2 c) my dad wants to get a few goats again and rotating them in here sounds like the obvious thing to do. even if he doesn't get into goats I would be wanting to get a trio or so of Nigerians or pygmies because I love goats and the things are just so good at eating brush. plus kids can be easily butchered out alone, hides worth tanning, and little goats are less likely to kill my fence like I so well know big goats love to do.

3) I was thinking it would be best to rotate goats (eat the tall brushy stuff) followed by the sheep (eat the shorter stuff and graze better). but I am really unsure where the cow would fit in then! with the sheep to graze as well? or with the goats because cows tend to spot graze and sheep with follow and clean over things?

4) I feel like with the previous ideas now I am setting up the sheep for bigger chance of worms /: I like to avoid un-needed medicating but I am not adverse to a little dosing in animals that get worms or in an all-in-one-swoop medicate em all at this time and make sure everyone is good. but I think I would go with first of culling for hardiness and resistance to parasites and spot dosing as needed.

5) based on my rambling explanation of the field usage prior and the stocking suggested rates would you think my land could handle quite a few animals in a good rotation system? I plan on doing a walk of the pasture here soon to check over current state of it (unused now for 3+ years) and hope to flesh out this thread a bit with pics of the pasture then to help as well.


I know I have more questions I will remember later...
thanks everyone for any input you can give me though! (:
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I have had the best results with all three in the same "herd."

I have 60 acres of about half weedy pasture, half open brush (approaching Savannah with grass growing under the trees). My herd is about 30 cattle, 30 sheep, and 10 goats. And one horse as a guardian. That is well above the normal stocking density for this area.

I found that I could add 1-2 sheep for every cow and they actually improved the stocking density of the cattle on my pasture. More than that started to reduce the amount of cattle I could run. That is my mix of cattle and pasture. YMMV.

Goats are really a separate equation, as it is the brush that determines their stocking rate, but those numbers you gave sound like good ballpark figures to start with. I used to run a lot more goats, but scaled back after I cleared the brush.

For the record, I run mostly Scottish highland cattle with some jersey highland cross, mixed breed hair sheep, and saanan dairy goats.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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thanks!

the goats we had were saanen bucks, a couple saanen does and mainly alpine-mutt does.

this area is big for cattle and hay. my one neighbors have commercial dairy cows and the milk truck comes by each morning. my other neighbors are actually my aunt and family across the road and they have black angus (and a couple black crosses) meat cattle, although I really hate how they run there cows and their fields look nasty. and a neighbor sorta down the country block that has a smallish herd of Scottish highlands.

I really love the Scottish highlands! depending on how things go when I am all set up I would love to do either highlands or a smaller dairy cross from my one neighbors (: they have mostly Holsteins and a few jerseys and crosses. they are about to buy up a group of new cows that i'd never heard of. Montebeliarde : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montb%C3%A9liarde_cattle

my sheep will probably be mainly Icelandic and Shetland but I have several breeds of interest and of course nice fleeced crosses.
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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I wouldn't worry so much about the worms with the sheep as they have a much higher tolerance of them than goats.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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