Rotational Grazing - What Animals Can Rotate With Horses? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-22-2011, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Wisconsin
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Rotational Grazing - What Animals Can Rotate With Horses?

I was just wondering what is the ideal animal to rotationally graze with horses when the pastures aren't on rest. I know that some animals will eat what horses left over, and others will just trash it all. I will just put a list of animals that I was thinking about and hopefully you all can give some feed back from direct or second-hand experience. Note that if we do ever get more grazing animals we will have a buttload more pasture.

I would be interested in the following.
- Cows (Either dairy with a very rich milk good for making many products, or beef steers. My family farm was a fully-functional dairy farm up untill 2008 we milked 200 cows.)
- Alpacas (I have experience with them; they would be used as fiber animals and possibly cart trained with light loads.)
- Llamas (Also experience, cart animal and fiber.)
- Sheep (Fiber, we have herding dogs that I would train to work them, adorablefluffsheepflufffluff.)
- Donkies (? Driving animals probably, maybe just little hobby drives, packing)

They all have to serve a purpose. Also, no goats. My family has had bad experiences with goats, and convincing them to get more is out of the question. I live in Wisconsin, and the only thing that isn't real popular in my area is Donkies, otherwise I could drive a mile in any direction and find hundereds of cows, and at least 30 alpacas/llamas. I am straying away from cows because more than likely the will be beef animals. Quoting my father, "We won't own any cow if we can't eat it." If I took it to the fair and trained it I would probably get attached. Although I have always wanted to break a cow to ride, but that is a different story.~
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-23-2011, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Oregon
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To bad you are leaning away from cow becasue that's what I would go with on your list. Cows eat by wrapping their tounge around what they can and ripping it off. Grass with a good root system will not be tore from the ground. Due to this grazing method, they don't eat the grass down to the dirt.

Sheep is a big no and I believe (but have no personal experience with them) Llamas/Alpacas all eat in the same way. That is the way their mouth is designed can eat grass all the way down to the dirt. Hence the cattle/sheep wars in the old west. Sheep can destoy a field faster then other critters if over grazed. Not sure if you'll be in an overgrazing situation but kinda sounds that way with pasture rotation.

Donkey=horse when it comes to grazing style.

As for what they'll eat. They all pretty much eat the same types of grasses and only move on to other stuff when their favorite grasses are gone. I believe goats (and here I think your family is smart in not wanting them) are the most likely to munch on brush out of that list.
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post #3 of 4 Old 11-23-2011, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: The sandbox
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I would go with the cows and unfortunately the goats as well...sorry, I know that isn't what you wanted to hear. Sheep probably wouldn't be bad if you didn't have many and moved them often, because they can do some damage. The sheepherders would turn out large numbers of sheep up in our summer range to tromp down the Larkspur before we turned yearlings out. The sheep would kill it by walking over the top of it so the cattle wouldn't eat it. Larkspur is poisonous but cattle will eat it because it tastes salty. Anyways...

The best would be to contact your local Ag Extension office. They are always more than willing to come out and give advice!
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post #4 of 4 Old 11-23-2011, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Canada
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I like sheep, goats, llamas or alpacas, because all are in some way a browser, plus they nip not ripe grass out. Think like a deer they will also kill trees and brush if given the chance). Plus they'll eat some times of weeds. I believe sheep are less effected by the same worms and parasites that horses are and the other way around as well. I won't put alpacas and small breeds of sheep with horses (it the same field) because they are more delicate than llamas and larger sheep. All of them need different foot care and deworming than a horse.

My top picks are sheep (sheared once a year) and llamas (they are sheared only every two years), because they will eat all kinds of different things.

I've never heard of sheep doing damage, maybe in a large herd but I've only handled 5 to 10 on a few acres. Moving isn't overly hard with a couple people and contacting gates, because they tend to run blindly together.
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