Friday, 1 May 2009

Grass management

If you have livestock grass management is important, especially so if you have limited space like us. It is important not to overgraze and to rest the land to prevent a build up of parasites.
We only have an acre plus the garden and much of our time seems to be spent on moving the livestock around and caring for the grass.

For the first time this year the grass is growing faster than the livestock are eating it. Today I cut the grass in the hen's run, trying to get a balance between it not being so short that they scratch it bare and not so long that it becomes straggly with no new growth at the base. It was really too wet to cut and the rain came again just as I was finishing, so the edges have been left. It needed doing though as the hens feathers were getting wet, also long wet grass is the cause of scald in young lambs (lameness due to inflammation between the hooves). The hens love the grass being cut as it disturbs all the bugs, an extra treat today was the discovery of an ants nest full of eggs.

Over the weekend we will concentrate on the land at the yard. The sheep are going to be moved into the orchard to graze on any delights the geese have left, before I strim the nettles and hog weed. They will then be moved into the paddock and I will top the Fowl's run plus the 'new' ground. The paddock geese will then be moved to the fowl's run to graze on the grass left by the sheep.This also helps to 'clean' the area. The next time the sheep are removed from the Fowl's run it will be the turn of the Orchard geese to graze there. This rotation seems to work well for us, with all three areas being rested from sheep and geese alternatively, the grass stays in good condition and along with a worming programme the animals are free from parasites.

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