April 24, 2013

Rotational grazing

It's Spring. Grass is back. The pastures are looking beautiful. It's time to start rotational grazing again!

The first group to get some new grass is our five Ossabaw/Tamworth piglets.  We've had them in the barn, training them on electric fencing so we can safely put them out in the woods to graze on acorns and root around in the dirt.  The last time we tried this, the piglets were still too small and they easily escaped under the electric wire. Now that they are a bit larger, they were contained in the paddock area. They loved all the space, the green grass and all the dirt to dig their snouts into.  They immediately found a way to make a mud puddle.

The next group to move was the two steers.  They are used to rotational grazing and know that when we lower the electric tape, it's time to move to a lovely, munchy new location. They come running!  To put weight on them, they will be on intensive grazing. This means we give them a relatively small area to eat down, then a day or two later, move them to a new, small patch of pasture for another day or two.  We'll continue to move them until they get to weight and are ready to be butchered.

Then we gave the pregnant cows a very large piece of pasture.  Seven pregnant cows and three cows with calves were moved to where the grass really was greener on the other side of the fence.

They bottle-necked as soon as they walked through the gate. New grass is very appetizing!  With some mild encouragement, they moved through and let the other cows and calves come through.

Happy cattle on green grass.  It's great to have all our livestock on pasture!

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