Pasture Rotation and Grass Compaction

An old idea in our home is the concept of leaving the grazing animals in their paddock long enough to “force them to eat it all” before moving on.  This is one concept that came from the big ranches up north where my husband spent his early 20’s working as a ranch hand.  Before going overseas, and when we had more cows than we do now,  when I was busy with the children and not as involved in the livestock side of things as I am now, this was a statement that was often heard.

However, we’ve restructured our small farm and I’m the primary “farmer” while the hubby works long days with an intense commute!  Even before I became the sole farmer in the family, we had moved away from the “make them eat it all” concept.

As you can see, they have left a nice amount of foliage behind and this is okay!  We are building soil and harvesting the grass via our grazing livestock who recycle the grass back into the soil.  Our perspective has changed over the years and we are excited to see how our land and our animals will respond to our evolving concepts.

The same concepts at work with the poultry, though in this location the grass is so tall that the birds simply cannot graze it.  Their tractors sailing through this sea of reeds is pressing the grass down and compacting it with the top dressing of manure.

They are almost at the grassy nole where the juvenile hens will be able to explore outside of their tractor for the first time.  The water trough for the cows are just across the fence from this little nole and the older hens will do their work with the manure left in the alley way.  While they reside on this little nole they will add their manure to the straw strewn about as a cover over the sparse grass that is growing in the sandy soil here.  This will not be their permanent home for the grazing season, just for a little while as they help build some soil in this location and move on to another spot.

 

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