Monday, September 13, 2010
Why We Believe in Rotational Grazing
Earlier in the summer we had Brandy in the lower pasture to help her "separate" from Angel, but when the heat index started climbing into the 100°s, we moved Brandy into this pasture because it has better shade. Near the pond is a grove of trees which provides much cooler shade than the run-in shed where Brandy was seeking shade in the other pasture. And even though the pond isn't as huge or deep as we'd like, it's still a reliable water source that we didn't have to worry would run dry in the extreme heat.
Ideally, we would like to divide this pasture into at least two sections. The run-in shed would provide shade in this end, and there is one decent shady area at the far end. Our problem is water. Right now the only water we have is at the far end of the pasture, and it comes from a series of hoses strung down the hill from the house. It's not possible to string enough hoses together to get water to this end of the pasture. So for now, we'll have to content ourselves with moving the animals back and forth from one pasture to the other until we can get adequate shade and water to subdivide into paddocks.
For Angel and Brandy, it was as simple as putting their halters on and leading them from one to the other! Unfortunately, Sara isn't quite so amenable to being led--she won't even let us close enough to put on a halter!
We hope it will start to rain soon so the ground will get soft enough to use our post-hole digger. When it does, we have one more pasture to fence in, the one on the hill behind our house that runs down to join the far end of this pasture. Our plan is to fence that hill with a double gate right across from the double gate of this pasture so we can open all four gates to meet across the road and make a chute for the animals to pass into the hill pasture. Then up by the barn, we want another double gate that opens the same way into the barn yard (which we also plan to build once the ground is soft).
Without having to add any water lines, that will give us three pastures for rotating our animals; that's Stage 1. Once that's implemented, we'll look at water and shade options for subdividing the pastures into paddocks. That will be Stage 2. Everything in its own time!