Thursday, February 2, 2012

Goat Care (Part 4)

Rotational Grazing

This is everyone out today..
 We have had a mild winter and still a little green grass.

 Rotational Grazing is suggested to help in parasite control. In order for it to be effective you need to rotate every 10 days if possible and try not to be back on that same section for at least 30 days. The more room you have to longer you can go.. 90 days is optimal. But here on our property we don't have much room last year I started rotating in July and I still had grazing in October.. Well technically I still have some but not enough to be grazing alone with no hay..
 I would like to be more Managed Intensive Grazing(Joel Salatin Style) and move daily but that would take much more fencing than I have. So for now I have 3 main paddocks that they rotate through every 10 days. They all open up to the barn and a main lounging area.. Where if needed I can close them up into and keep them completely off pasture. So far they can barely keep up with it.. That was about 12.. This year I will have about 20 rotating. I let them eat it down to no less than 6 inches.. Last year I would think okay this is the last time they will rotate through and then would check out the next paddock. It would be grown back up and ready to be grazed!...I was very pleased with it as when it was one large pasture they ate it down and it was done by August.
  Hopefully I will be able to divide my back pasture in half and have 4 paddocks to rotate through.. That will give them each 40 days of resting.. I will have chickens and turkeys moving around the back pasture this year and Pigs grazing with the goats till they are ready for butcher. They will be mostly pastured after Aerating the goat and chicken bedding to be moved out to garden spots.. I wont let them stay any longer than October or so because I don't want pigs in the same places as goats that will be kidding. Since pigs are Omnivores and would be attracted to the smell of blood..
 Now on to Water...  
Common sense tells you they need fresh water daily.. I use rubber or plastic water tubs because I add Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV) to their water. As it helps with over all health. If you put it in a metal or galvanized tank it will leach the metals into the water and it can cause serious problems. I lost a young doeling years ago because of this.. I learned a tough lesson. But plastic water tanks don't have that problem. I usually put a few "glugs" in the water tanks. Increase it to about 3-4 cups for a 50 gallon tank. it helps with flies and to use their minerals properly.
 You don't want them to walk to far from their food to get a drink. If the paddocks are to far from their original water tanks I will put more out for them in the paddock they are in.Usually a couple of 5 gallon buckets for the day. Only if I don't have small babies as they can get stuck in 5 gallon buckets and drown.

2And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

 3Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

 4Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

 5Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

 6Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. Deuteronomy 28:2-6


Anonymous said...

We don't do much rotational grazing since our pastures are dry-lotted.


momto12 said...

Thank you for your blog! I have been reading for quite awhile and have used a lot of your medicinal remedies for my sheep. I have used your electrolyte drink for my sheep with diarrhea several times and I saved one the vet thought was a goner! I just wanted to say "Thank you"!

small farm girl said...

I just love when you write about how you take care of your goats. But, it makes me realize that I don't do enough. lol