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Pasture, dust, and size questions

This is a discussion on Pasture, dust, and size questions within the Barn Maintenance forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category

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    12-29-2013, 12:09 AM
Green Broke
By my approximate calculations I see 80x80 metres as 1.3 acres; 90x90 is 1.65 acres; 180x180 is 6.62 acres.

To answer your question, 1.7 acres would do for your two horses if that is what you have to work with when the time comes. You'll have to feed hay most of, if not all, the time. If at some point you are in a position to make a 6.62 acre pasture then you will find that size is likely large enough that the horses will be able to actually graze, without hay, for a couple of months if the environment supports it.
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    12-29-2013, 12:22 AM
Hmm, so I want around a 3 acre pasture, so how many meters on each side would that be?
    12-29-2013, 12:40 AM
What's the best, cheapest, safest fencing?!
    12-29-2013, 02:24 AM
Originally Posted by MinuitMouse    
What's the best, cheapest, safest fencing?!
That depends. Each person has their own preference for best or safest. For small dry lot spaces I would use board fencing or no climb fencing, reinforced with a top and bottom board. For pasture fencing, electric wire or rope is inexpensive and works well IF properly installed and maintained. Use quality posts, fasteners and charger and make sure your ends and corners are properly braced. Cheap fencing can be very expensive if it doesn't contain or injures your horses.

As an example, I have two 3+ acre paddocks fenced with 3/8" electric rope (4 strands) hung on treated 5-6" treated wooden posts, spaced 16-20' apart. We electrify the top and third strand and use screw in insulators. The posts are 6+' long pounded 2' into the ground. I also keep the grass trimmed under the fence and mowed just outside the fence to discourage the horses from reaching through. For the past 4 years (and counting), this fence has been safe, inexpensive and easy to maintain.

With 4 horses on about 7 acres, I have to manage my pastures carefully. We pick up manure at least once a week in spring and spread / harrow a couple times a week in summer. I watch the manure load and weeds carefully to decide whether to pick up and pile manure or harrow. I use inexpensive plastic step in posts to cross fence and rotate my grazing areas. One or two strands of electric is fine for this, but the perimeter fence is much more secure. If the grass gets short and needs a rest, I either assign a sacrifice area or arrange to pasture the horses elsewhere for a few weeks at a time. We have productive summers but cold, long winters so I feed hay from about Oct 1 to the end of May. You can count on feeding at least 100-150 60lb square bales per horse per year in this time.

With less space, you will have less grazing and so will need good fencing and more hay. A dry lot paddock with shelter and water would be a first priority. Also make use you have some place and means to handle manure. Some people rent a dumpster that is dumped every couple of weeks, while others compost a pile or arrange to give it to a local farmer or mushroom farm.

Keeping horses at home is no small task and requires a huge commitment to the horses, the fencing, and maintenance of the property. I wish you the best in this new adventure!
    12-29-2013, 10:18 AM
I moved my horses home earlier this year and the more space the better is very true. I moved in with 2 horses and acquired a pony a few months ago. Over the summer I had more than enough grass for my two, but I had seeded when we moved in, kept fields picked every other day and they are not on it 24/7. I have about 3 acres fenced into two large fields, a riding arena and 2 smaller paddocks. Hopefully this summer I will be fencing another 1/4-1/2 an acre and making a 3rd paddock with a shelter. I will also be re-seeding, spreading manure and liming.

Having horses on small acreage is work, but more than possible. I would actually read Cherry Hill's book about horsekeeping on small acreage. There are some farm layout plans that are amazing on the amount of land provided! If I had the money to re-do all of my fencing I would certainly use that book lol.

Oh, and I have 3 board wood post and rail fencing with a hot wire on top. Also since October I've gone through almost 150 bales of hay (some were 50 lbs, some more like 30 lbs). My grass has died off for the most part now since we've had a very cold winter already,
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    12-29-2013, 11:09 AM
Lol those were good readers

So I want the smallest pasture possible for our needs, we have quite good grass in our area, I figure that 2 acres would be okay for one horse for a while? Would I need to build on to that if I were to include anther horse? This seems so expensive (didn't expect it to be cheap! But these are a lot of different things that hadn't occurred to me. Luckily I didn't beg my papa to get the the three horses I wanted last year D:
    12-29-2013, 01:57 PM
It does get pricey, that's why finding a place with some shelter and fencing in place was a must for us.

For one horse I would say 2 acres with hay and not on pasture 24/7 would be fine. I stick with 2 acres for the first horse and an additional acre for each additional horse. Some people prefer more while some get away with less - but I have been to the boarding facilities where they crowd as many horses as possible into a field and it just isn't healthy for the horse.

Now that I have my own farm, I wanted to give my ponies the most space I could :) We looked at one farm that had 8 stalls on just over 3 acres...that was a bit much for me and the land said the same thing. Our whole farm is 4.23 acres and when we bought it there were 5 drafts and an appaloosa here. Two fields were sand only and the one nice field was barely allowed to be used.

Now with my guys and proper management, I was mowing every 3 weeks lol. Also keep in mind that small acreage needs a GREAT manure management program. I have my manure picked up and hauled away every 6 months and it's $250 each time. Unfortunately I have yet to find someone who wants 20 cubic yards of horse poo for free locally lol.
    12-29-2013, 02:26 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by MinuitMouse    
Hmm, so I want around a 3 acre pasture, so how many meters on each side would that be?
I believe it would be approximately 360 metres on each side.
    12-30-2013, 03:30 PM
Lol, does horse poo do the same as cow poo? Well, he has a little farm (or wants one) full of sunflowers and veggies and stuff... Although it would seem a bit gross we could use some manure for that right? And for keeping the grass good even outside of the pen. The thing is that it would be much easier to have a smaller pen,mbut bigger is better. So if we had a smaller pen, we could keep the horses there (or a shelter that could close up) and I could drive a lawn mower (it's like a tractor) and get some sort of trailer behind it, maybe with a sort of barred part to distribute some manure around? Also I'm sure there's a few people around who would like some free stuff, especially since the nutrients for about a 1 gallon bucket of all the gross stuff can get over $7. I think it's fair for the adults to pay most costs, and the kids to do the caring? Right? I mean, my brother and I drive the tractor around, and my friend who would come probably every Saturday to ride and muck the feild and do everything.

Oh, and if the horses only work every weekend or so, a few bales of hay in the pasture everyday with some salt would be okay right? And then maybe a couple small apples after riding?

I really wish there was a really clean really small pond near the field place, that would help a lot, not as a main water source but as an extra... Hmm I guess not having one is better than having a wet horse to dry off and ride, or get a horse through ice or anything D:
    12-30-2013, 05:39 PM
Horse manure can be used in the garden, but it must be thoroughly composted first until all the pathogens are gone. If you use or spread horse manure that is too fresh, it will basically seed weeds and spread parasites throughout your garden or field. Even harrowing manure in your field can be a problem if it isn't hot and dry enough to kill the parasites, and it will spread weeds. If you do compost, it can take between 3-6 months for the pile to be ready to use as fertilizer. It is done when it smells like dirt and not like manure. If the pile smells like poop, it's still poop, not fertilizer. Even then, many claim horse manure isn't great fertilizer as it isn't specifically balanced for the soil like the fertilizer you buy from a bag.

As for feeding hay, you need to adjust the amount based on the weight, age and work of the horse and the quality of the hay and / or pasture they are getting. Treats once in awhile a are fine, but not really considered part of a horses balanced diet. Access to fresh water is also a just. Most ponds don't offer clean enough water.

I recommend Cherry Hill's book, Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage to help you learn what is required to feed and care for horses at home. There are many, many things to consider and many costs involved. It doesn't sound like you have a lot of experience caring for horses, so I also recommend you find some good books on horse care, feeding and basic first aid. If you really want to learn, volunteer to help care for the horses at a local stable. While stable care is a bit different than caring for horses at home, the basic principles of health and nutrition still apply.
MinuitMouse likes this.

dust control, pasture, size matters

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