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Rotationally grazing horse  RSS feed

 
Katie Jarvis
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Any advice on rotating a horse and donkey, and the effects that will have on the pasture? We have been rotating them for about 6 months now, but they don't eat nearly as much of a variety as ruminants would. Should we mow the weeds down that they leave? We cleared trees and have a lot of bare ground and weeds in our biggest area, but we also have some areas of established grass. Thanks!
 
Annie Lochte
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Location: The Ocala National Forest. Florida, USA
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I mow the weeds. I have one horse, 2 cows and a few goats I rotate ove 1-1/2 acres of grass and do mow the 'roughs' and weeds periodically. Equids typically won't eat over their bathroom areas and grass an weeds get to go to seed there. If I have desirable weeds I try an harvest seed to scatter elsewhere then mow it... I haven't mowed it yet this year, but have chopped some undesirable stuff with the swing blade. It will get mowed soon...
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Non ruminants can't digest things like goats or cattle, because of this even the browser donkey will be picky about what they eat.
Our donkey loves grasses, tender branches except for oak are on the dinner plate (fruit trees except for Figs are apparently a real treat).
She will bypass many of the weeds and tough grasses but she does a fair job of keeping the pasture areas mowed, leaving just the tough, woody plants for me to scythe down.

Our donkey is free range, no fences for her as yet. When we do fence some areas for her, she will get about 1/4 acre per day to munch. I came up with this size by watching how much she grazes down every day.
If we had more than one, I would have to increase the size to 1/4 acre per animal per day I think.

Over seeding with those plants your animals cherish is a good way to get rid of the nasty, non palatable weeds, just mow close and over seed heavily a few times to make sure those undesirables are shaded out.

Wheat is great for winter greens for horses and donkeys, it will grow to around 8 inches tall and regrow every time they eat it down, in the spring you can let it go or they can keep eating it and it will then die out because it has been clipped close when it needed to grow tall.

Redhawk
 
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