Strip grazing Qs
We live on a little mountain as I call it, there's lots of hidden rocks and kind of steep hills. I can't mow it all, nor regularly with my tiny riding mower.
I put up 2 hot wire fence for my pony and he did a wonderful job of eating it nice and short!
But my mare has the rest of the 4 acres to herself and the 4 sheep to help eat it up. It's still fairly thick over there. I was hanging streamers on the pony's fence so he will remember the fence likes to bite him. And I stopped and started up the fence line. One side was neatly trimmed up and lovely and the other 'hairy', made me think of putting up another fence and toss my mare in there and have her 'mow it down' for me.
What I'm wondering is how steep of a hill can a horse stand and graze on?
How wide should these strips be? I was going to do at least 10ft wide and up to 40ft, depending on how long they will be.
My mare respects hot wire, should I go with one wire or two like the pony has?
I use bare 14ga wire with white step-in posts. I don't use the black ones because they are less visible for the horses. Are there any cheaper easy posts out there?
Can insulated wire be left on the ground and stepped on or will I need to attach it up to the barn?
I don't think my mare will attempt to jump the fence, so what height should the wire be at? Her chest, lower or higher?
Pics of the land and some lines where the fencing would generally be.
New Q! Should I use some kind of electrified rope so I can easily pick up the fence on post and move it over? That way, I won't have to buy a million posts and keep wire on each strip. Or is that actually better, to always have them up?
Would I be able to connect poly rope or the such to 14ga wire??
I have a few thoughts:
- have you seen poly wire? I would use a hardwire for perimiter but then if just going with step in posts the poly wire is very easy to roll up on a spool and move.
-10 feet seems very narrow, even if it's just the sheep 10' seems very narrow
-the pictures give me a good idea of what is in your mind but what is in my mind might not work as well:
My idea for your pasture situation would be to run one center laneway (build it up with some driveway mix about 8" deep) then split your padocks off of that into probably 4 or 8 sections (either 1 acre or 1/2acre aprox)
at the top of the laneway you will have your main gate, as well as your water tub. then a few slinky or bungee gates (i really like the bungee gates since they don't tangle like a slinky) close the horse & sheep out of all but one section and rotate through.
you will quickly be able to figure out (partially depending on rainfall) if you need to move your animals to a new section every 2 days, ever 5 days ect...
I would deff keep them from getting it too short though, some people deffinition of "my horse ate the pasture down short" varies, if rotational grazing I would pull them out when the pasture is down to 3-4inches tall and move them to the next. If I remember correctly the ideal height is 6-10" of most pastures so the grasses are still good but pulling them out before they do damage
you might also need to go through and clip pastures right after you pull the horse out so the whole thing grows at a uniform height
yes a lot there, probably won't go quite that technical but just my .02 to make the land work the best and get the most out of it
This is what I was thinking of.
Mare would have a long rectangle where she can go in to get to the barn and the water. From that rectangle, I can attach hotwire and move her over. The rectangle would be all wire gates hooked together on the posts. I'd have an extra spool for the pens that aren't against an established fence.
Sheep are not penned at all, they roam free where ever they want.
I fence off the green area further with solid fencing when we have lambs. Rest of the time they are open.
Personally I would remove every other yellow line and have it as 4 sections to go into.
then just 4 simple bungee gates and see how that does for next summer
might need to adjust individual pasture size since some areas look to have more scrubby stuff to them but I think you have a good grasp of what to look at.
Well, it's 4 acres and just one horse, so I rather have many narrow sections than a few fat ones where she won't mow and just wander instead. Right now they could be wider, since the grass is done growing, but spring/summer will have to be strips and not blocks.
Instead of what you have in mind, why not build a track 15' wide that follows the perimeter fencing? This will leave an untouched area in the middle. The track will encourage movement. If it goes thro a rocky area that will help toughen hooves. Ever few days put them in the middle. The horse will have no trouble grazing steep land. Check out Paddock Paradise and see how other folks have set up tracks. Mine is a little different because I started with one large rectangle than a few years later another was added, then a third much larger area then a fourth. Openings were made at the top end so the horses have to come up to the top end to enter another pasture and it keeps them moving. Moving aids digestion and helps pump blood back to the heart.
Do the animals get along? does the pony and mare fight? chase the sheep ? If not , and the pony is not a stallion, I would simply Make two larger pens, the sheep will graze what the horses dont. ;) let them graze down one side then put them in the other while the other pasture recovers.
"Paddock Paradise" does nothing for mowing, not what I want.
Pony is a pony, aka fat, he needs to be in his pen only. I do not restrict the sheep and if I tried, I would need solid fencing 3ft high. Plus their water is in the pony's yard [2ft deep, mare's water is a 3ft trough, sheep are 2ft minis.]
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