Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cross Fencing

Rotational grazing is a crucial part of grazing animal management. Rotational grazing is when you create small paddocks within a larger field, and rotate the animals around so they're not overgrazing the pasture. Creating smaller paddocks helps make sure the grass is grazed more evenly, since the animals don't have a huge choice in where to eat.

Rotating also creates much healthier pastures, since the grass gets much needed rest time between grazing. It's ideal to get at least 30 days growth on any one paddock before regrazing it. This helps keep the grasses from getting depleted by having an animal graze it over and over. I won't got into much more detail, but there is some good information here and all over the net.

Since my pasture is really small, I'm going to try my best to make sure I keep the grasses around. Today I fenced a sacrifice area so I could keep the animals off the majority of the pasture so it can grow in. Sacrifice areas are a hugely important part of rotation grazing. Sacrifice lots or areas are small areas to keep animals if the pasture isn't ready for grazing, if it's muddy and you don't want them mucking up the fields, etc.

I don't think they're very happy with me at the moment. They seem pretty confused.

I wanted to buy some of this fencing to use, but it's pretty expensive and I didn't want to spend that much money. Instead, I went to our local Tractor Supply Co and got some of this 1/2" poly tape. I wanted to get the 1" wide stuff, but they were out. I got a 656' roll for about $35. I only used a fraction of the roll. The fiberglass fence posts were $2, but I already had some, so I only bought 5. This fence was extremely inexpensive to put up. Not only that, but it took about 10 minutes to set up, if that.

I just hooked the poly tape to my existing hot wire. And it works. Just ask the lambs! Oh yeah, and the concrete blocks are for the lambs to play on.

I just fenced in a small area.

Of course I made sure to give them access to the water, shelter, and hay.

June is not impressed!

I'm hoping the grass hurries up and grows in! I know the sacrifice area is small, so I'm hoping the grass in it won't totally get destroyed before they're ready to move to the next area for grazing. I'm sure this cross fencing will help save my grass, even if it is slightly more work for me. It's worth it!


Becky said...

They may be bummed now but they'll thank you when the pasture is lush and green soon :) Great idea!

Jennifer said...

Hummm... interesting post today =) but your post are always interesting to me, lol This is good for me to know... cause one day I'm gonna have some goats.

Dad said...

Very smart Katie. I would set up a little movable circle of fence and move it around the yard so you won't have to cut grass!

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