pasture management and rotation for small herd

ND Goat Lover

Just born
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
5
Points
6
We have 4 Nigerian Dwarf Goats and 7 chickens. In researching before buying the goats we found that you need at minimum 200 - 300 square feet per goat. So we built the goats a completely enclosed 12 X 14 housing where they sleep at night, have food and water for really bad weather. They then have a pasture area which is 125 x 125 with a permanent fencing area and electric fence for predator control.

After two weeks on the pasture i'm realizing that their is alot of goat poop on the pasture and I'm getting mixed reviews on how to deal with it. I've seen post with people using pasture sweeping machines to clean it up. On 1 forumn outside of this one I've had someone tell me to buy their book that talks about rotational grazing and that I should get a dry paddock that is permanent and divide my larger pasture into 2 smaller pastures and graze them between the 3 pastures with 2 - 3 week intervals.

I would love some additional opinions. We have an acre of land and not alot of room to expand the overall pasture area by to much, we could easily add a 30 X 30 dry lot for the goats and chickens to use between grazing on the 2 pasture lots. If my understanding is correct the dry lot is helpful because they eat the hay and it allows us to easily clean the manure out but because their is no grass the parasites die.
 

Wendybear

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Jun 9, 2018
Messages
54
Reaction score
50
Points
93
Location
Westminster, Maryland
Im sorry, I dont know how to help, but Im marking my spot bc I am interested in the replies. Thanks for asking this. :)
 

Alaskan

Herd Master
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
2,775
Reaction score
6,056
Points
383
Location
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
The amount of poo will not change...


So really the question is, do you want your paddock to have green stuff in it... or are you happy with bare dirt.

With that said... I do not think your paddock is big enough to keep it green... and I also do not think it is big enough to bother dividing it into separate areas.

You could keep the goats locked into the barn and only let them out at limited times in the paddock. But, then the goats would be getting limited exercise.

I think the best idea is to see your paddock as a dry lot, understanding that they will kill all growing things... and fill the paddock with goat toys.

As to parasites... there are many different kinds, some need grass, some don't... I would just watch the goats, do a fecal if you need to know what parasites you are dealing with... and treat as needed.

For the poo... it just needs to be shoveled out of the barn area...

Can't imagine using a pasture sweeping machine... no idea really what that is.

In the right climate the dung beetles work well and fast, and you only have to shovel/pick up the poo in the areas where they like to congregate.
 

Tigger19687

Chillin' with the herd
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
15
Reaction score
8
Points
26
Location
Massachusetts
You can't do rotational grazing as you don't have enough land for that. There is not enough time for the grass to regrow with goats.
To be honest, I don't know much about goats, but I thought grazing is more for cattle and sheep. And aren't goats more for clearing ?

But they sure are cute !
 

ND Goat Lover

Just born
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
5
Points
6
The amount of poo will not change...


So really the question is, do you want your paddock to have green stuff in it... or are you happy with bare dirt.

With that said... I do not think your paddock is big enough to keep it green... and I also do not think it is big enough to bother dividing it into separate areas.

You could keep the goats locked into the barn and only let them out at limited times in the paddock. But, then the goats would be getting limited exercise.

I think the best idea is to see your paddock as a dry lot, understanding that they will kill all growing things... and fill the paddock with goat toys.

As to parasites... there are many different kinds, some need grass, some don't... I would just watch the goats, do a fecal if you need to know what parasites you are dealing with... and treat as needed.

For the poo... it just needs to be shoveled out of the barn area...

Can't imagine using a pasture sweeping machine... no idea really what that is.

In the right climate the dung beetles work well and fast, and you only have to shovel/pick up the poo in the areas where they like to congregate.

Thank you - the more information I'm getting on this forum and other's the answer is consistent that we should turn our current pasture into a dry lot. Including images below if it helps for others reading this post. Given that we already have some grass in the pasture what are your recommendations for turning this into a dry lot. Going to start researching on this now. Being a dry lot I was concerned that this would become a muddy mess if it was a dry lot.

We have alot wood chips all around the property from when they cut down all the trees to clear the lot and I've seen a few post where folks use that but that doesn't seem all that comfortable to walk around or sleep on.
 

Attachments

  • gt2.jpg
    gt2.jpg
    624.4 KB · Views: 10
  • gt1.jpg
    gt1.jpg
    465.1 KB · Views: 10

Alaskan

Herd Master
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
2,775
Reaction score
6,056
Points
383
Location
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Given that we already have some grass in the pasture what are your recommendations for turning this into a dry lot.
No work on your part. The goats will take care of that for you.

Being a dry lot I was concerned that this would become a muddy mess if it was a dry lot.

It might....

You can sculpt the land around the paddock to keep overland water from entering the paddock.

Then, inside the paddock, I would wait until it gets muddy... then raise up the muddy spots with gravel, dirt or wood chips. Some small areas with hard stuff (gravel, concrete, or chunky mulch) are fine, as long as it isn't the entire area.

If you end up with only a small muddy part, you could just toss a fun pallet goat climbing thing over it.

Do be very careful to not have any toys close to the fence.
 
Top