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! Pasture restoration with horses  RSS feed

 
Katie Jarvis
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Any advice on restoring pasture with a horse and a mini donkey? We have been rotating them for 6 months with seemingly decent success. One part of the land is forest that we cleared and is now bare ground with weeds. The other part is eatablished grass with some mixed weeds

Should we mow down weeds after they go through an area? I know weeds help rebuild soil...also, with only two animals, mob grazing doesn't really happen, though we try to put them in a small area that forces them to eat less desirable plants. How short do you want them to eat down the grass? At this point they leave about 1/2 untouched and 1/2 eaten down to ground level. And we can't make the pen any smaller - and they basically refuse to eat the stuff they don't want to.
 
Kathleen Scott
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Location: Cornwall, Canada
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We cut down the weeds and knock all the manure piles to help control parasites.
 
Katie Jarvis
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We do have poultry that scratch out all the manure, but good to know about the weeds.
 
Judith Driscoll
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Location: Milltown, WI
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I have nothing but questions to add to your question--hope you won't mind my piggybacking on yours!  I have two goats and dragged their fencing 4 cattle attached panels over an acre or two before I got worn out and tilled and planted grasses and alfalfa on my 8 tillable acres.  Is cutting and haying it 3x / year (for weed control) damaging to the soil?  In Googling, I read on a forum that it is. 
 
wayne fajkus
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Haying, as in removing the hay, is removing future nutrients from the soil. If its fed to the goats and they add their manure back, then it balances out.

 
charlotte anthony
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this might help with how you determine what is the right time to move the animals. https://vimeo.com/savoryinstitute/readingyourland

also as horses and donkeys are not ruminants, you might want to consider adding in microbe teas to help increase microbes on your land.  if you want to grow your own microbes please see korean natural farming.
 
Natasha Flue
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From my experience with horses, they simply aren't going to eat the less desirable plants unless they are actually starving. They aren't ruminants and won't eat broadleaf weeds, generally only grass.

You would have to mix in ruminants like goats to get rids of other plants without mowing. I never did anything related to restoration with my horse's pasture but I would go through and mow down the weeds two or three times over a year so they wouldn't go to see.

You might want to try seeding in clover or alfalfa because they will eat those and they're legumes.
 
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