Cows and grass

Blackgold05

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Do cows need to have any restrictions when it comes to the amount they graze like horses/donkeys? how much do y’all let your cows forage or graze?
 

Mini Horses

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Cows can graze 24/7. Horses and donkeys have limits due to types of grasses and they don't have the stomachs that cows and goats do to process. However many horses can be 24/7 pastured.
 

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Horse digestion is more delicate than a cow's. So if there is a sudden shift from dry graze to super lush spring graze that can mess up a horse, but will not mess up a cow. But if the pasture stays relatively constant in quality, a horse can be out there 24/7. A horse just can't handle sudden feed shifts. There are also some horses that put on fat super easily, so if they are out on "great" pasture they might get fat, and will need to be restricted.

Cattle handle sudden change in feed way better than horses, and don't usually have the weight gain/pasture too rich kind of issues. So yes, in general are kept 24/7 on pasture.

But, there are reasons why you might have to restrict graze on cattle.

Usually it isn't because of the cow, but because of the pasture. So, there is a drought and you have to drylot the cattle to save the pasture.


Or, you have them in a small paddock or drylot so you can keep an eye on a potentially problematic calving.
 

Blackgold05

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Horse digestion is more delicate than a cow's. So if there is a sudden shift from dry graze to super lush spring graze that can mess up a horse, but will not mess up a cow. But if the pasture stays relatively constant in quality, a horse can be out there 24/7. A horse just can't handle sudden feed shifts. There are also some horses that put on fat super easily, so if they are out on "great" pasture they might get fat, and will need to be restricted.

Cattle handle sudden change in feed way better than horses, and don't usually have the weight gain/pasture too rich kind of issues. So yes, in general are kept 24/7 on pasture.

But, there are reasons why you might have to restrict graze on cattle.

Usually it isn't because of the cow, but because of the pasture. So, there is a drought and you have to drylot the cattle to save the pasture.


Or, you have them in a small paddock or drylot so you can keep an eye on a potentially problematic calving.
How can you properly care for cattle if they reduce their pasture to dry lot
 

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How can you properly care for cattle if they reduce their pasture to dry lot
Not sure what you are asking?


If there is a drought... you either have to sell the cattle, or drylot the cattle (put them in a smaller sacrificial area) in order to save the pasture.


Or.... are you saying that if you keep cattle 24/7 in a pasture, that they will turn it into pure dirt?? In that case... you have way too many animals in way too small a space.


Ideally, you make sure that the number of cattle matches the number of acres. You have enough fence so you can keep moving cattle from one pasture to the next. You carefully watch the pastures to see when it is best to move the cattle. You only need minimal (as in tiny) amounts of supplemental feed that is used more to keep them tame, and help to move them easily than to actually feed them.
 

Blackgold05

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I was planning to graze the milk
Not sure what you are asking?


If there is a drought... you either have to sell the cattle, or drylot the cattle (put them in a smaller sacrificial area) in order to save the pasture.


Or.... are you saying that if you keep cattle 24/7 in a pasture, that they will turn it into pure dirt?? In that case... you have way too many animals in way too small a space.


Ideally, you make sure that the number of cattle matches the number of acres. You have enough fence so you can keep moving cattle from one pasture to the next. You carefully watch the pastures to see when it is best to move the cattle. You only need minimal (as in tiny) amounts of supplemental feed that is used more to keep them tame, and help to move them easily than to actually feed them.
cow alongside the minis in my backyard so I was concerned that the cow would rid the whole area of grass
 

farmerjan

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Dry lotting cattle to save pasture say, during a drought... you will be feeding hay to the cattle in the dry lot.
There are types of forage that cattle can get into trouble when grazing... several different plants can have high prussic acid if drought stressed.... and should not be grazed... sorghum, sorghum-sudans... johnson grass.... and then alfalfa should not be free grazed as the cattle can bloat and that will kill them quicker than anything... frothy bloat is a terrible thing to deal with and you don't want to ever put hungry cattle out on lush green pastures of any kind. We always move our animals out to summer grazing after they have had some green grass to graze... and we make sure they have filled up on hay before taking them to pasture...
Transition is the key to most summer green pasture grazing. We do not restrict the cattle except when they can destroy or damage the plants due to grazing too short or drought conditions. We also rotational graze all we can so they do get some pretty lush pasture, but they are accustomed to it by having short times on lush pasture with some hay fed inbetween to keep the microbes in the rumen working and to not get grass tetany... which is low magnesium in the early fresh lush green grass... it sends the cows system into a tailspin and you can lose them to that... using a hi-mag mineral before you turn them out for a few weeks, and then while they are first out there will balance the needed magnesium in their system due to the low amount in early green growth.
 

farmerjan

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Horses will do more damage to grass than a cow will... cows have only bottom teeth.. they cannot eat it as far down into the dirt as can a horse... and cows will graze then take a rest and the rumen will digest the feed/grass/hay... that is what "ruminating" means.. to digest...
 

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I was planning to graze the milk

cow alongside the minis in my backyard so I was concerned that the cow would rid the whole area of grass
The cow will only "rid the whole area of grass" if there isn't enough area/pasture.

If you are dealing with just a backyard sized area, a milk goat might be easier to manage than a cow.

But... several grazing and browsing animals in a backyard will end up making it all dirt.

If you have 4 acres, and can cut it up onto 3 pastures, with one sacrificial paddock area at the barn.... it sounds like in your area of the world... that would work great for 2 milk goats and 1 mini or for 1 milk cow and 1 mini.
 

Mini Horses

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I believe you mentioned a "backyard" and "about an acre". A mini can be sustained, probably not a cow without a LOT of hay. You may want to consider the expenses. Pasture and yard grasses are way different, usually. You didn't ask about what, just CAN they pasture 24/7.
 
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