“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rotational Grazing

http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/rotategr.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managed_intensive_rotational_grazing
Two Saturday's ago was the first day for this group in the paddock nearest the barn. If you look closely you will see the white posts from the electric fences that we use to divide the paddocks into even smaller grazing areas.Every time we move the sheds on sleds, I try to place them where they can stay for two weeks, and to a place that I can see them from the house. Then I make as small a section of the paddock as I can, for the goats to move into, using the electric net fences. They are connected to the high tensile fence with a clip. This is the way I do rotational grazing, and it works pretty well for giving the goats fresh pasture everyday. I don't move the goats to a new paddock daily. I just move enough of the netting fence so that the herd has enough new vegetation to keep them busy for a day. Then the next day I do it again. You can see the line of new food from where the fence was moved a few more feet, each day, in each of the photos. Each day the goats RUN to see the newest area I've opened for them. They all have their favorite food they go for on their first browse around. Then they come back and look again. Its like a buffet where you eat dessert first, and then end up with the boring stuff at the end, IF you are still hungry. We try to give them enough that they are happy, and leave plenty behind to start the next set of growth.These last pictures were taken two Thursdays after we started, and the electric netting fence was removed on Friday. The paddock was neatly trimmed, but with plenty of growth to continue growing for a future turn in a couple of months from now. And of course, the fields have been pretty evenly manured by the goats because of the rotational method we use, so that also keeps things growing.The goats are getting very little grain or hay in the barn. The nursing goats are getting hay and grain rations, but as the kids approach weaning, the nannies are also being weaned from this feed. As we hit the summer months, we will depend on good rotation and growth to keep the goats fat and happy!

11 comments:

Feral Female said...

Great entry! Very informative. =)

aLmYbNeNr said...

I must say, this is really cool to read and learn about. I wouldn't know what I was doing, but I would love to have a farm.
And I love your grass! SO lush and green!

Deere Driver said...

From my Juliann:
"Your animals have to be the most content I've ever heard of!!"

Lois Evensen said...

It is so much fun to learn about all of this. Very, very interesting.

Best,
Lois

Kittie Howard said...

Great info. Loved the pics. Actually, I'd wondered how you rotated the grazing. When we lived in Nairobi, I got a sheep (Fergie) but we'd stake a long leash and move it about...the vet said Fergie was about 90 years old so we'd have to supplemnt...and Fergie could eat non-stop, so I multiplied, knowing a goat eats more...but moving your fence every day is a lot of work...oh to have half your energy!

Aunt Krissy said...

Your goats eat grass? I have Nubians and they may nibble at it but they go for the brush/leaves. Would be nice to have some built in mowers.

Deere Driver said...

This particular area is very grassy with many types of grasses and weeds. Other areas have more roses, brambles and saplings that keep coming up. My yearlings are in such an area and the first thing they go for are the roses!

That's the thing about doing the fences. You restrict their choices, so eventually they eat everything if they are hungry. Without the fences, they wouldn't do such a thorough job of trimming everything. They do not eat poverty grass no matter what though. I end up having to trim with the tractor at some point at the end of the summer. Do you give your Nubians hay at the end of the day? Now that the Timothy and all sorts of grasses are growing like mad, I will let them mow and bale in their guts. Saves a lot of work - and cost!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Loved reading your blog, including older posts. Feel like I know the "family." We also live in a small town - really small (pop. 500) on the VA eastern shore. We're orig. from NJ, retired (?) and have a small mini-farm we blog about..thefrogandpenguinn. We love drop-ins, so feel free to stop in and we love comments too! We are Dorothy & Pat (aka as Beatrice & Grenville) ps...I went to Temple U!

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Lehua of MauiFarmlet.com said...

Thanks for the post! We are trying to sort out a 'mobile' rotation model, as well and would love to learn more from you about your perimeter fencing and your mobile fencing.

Deere Driver said...

Lehua,
Let me know what details you need and I'll do my best.

I am so jealous of your views!