What kind of animals can pasture together?

Future Homesteader

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Hello!
We have a two-year plan.....I'm trying to map out our set up. What kinds of animals can pasture together? Which need to be kept separate? I want to free range the chickens during the day. I'd like to fence off land for rotational grazing. We plan on a few goats, a few sheep, a couple of pasture pigs, chickens/guineas, a few rabbits. We don't plan on big herds, so it would be nice to be able to pasture some of them together. I'm not sure how that affects the rotational grazing. Is 10-20 acres enough to be able to make the most of free ranging for all?

Thank you!
:D =D
 

Baymule

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Sheep and goats can be pastured together, but sheep are sensitive to copper, so can't put out goat feed or mineral. Goats need copper, so give them a copper bolus. You'd have to ask a goat person for specifics on that. Run poultry behind the sheep/goats, they can eat the fly larva. If you run chickens ahead of the sheep/goats, they won't eat grass the poultry has pooped on.
 

Future Homesteader

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Thank you Baymule! I didn't know goats/sheep would be picky with the grass. Do you rotate your herds? How long do you leave them in, and how long do you leave a pasture open to "rest".

Sorry if I'm not using proper terminology. I was not raised in the country. Learning as I go! :)
 

Alaskan

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Is 10-20 acres enough to be able to make the most of free ranging for all?
I hear tell that Kansas is pretty good country, grazing wise. If that is enough... depends on how many animals.

How long do you leave them in, and how long do you leave a pasture open to "rest".
I would suggest you find your local extension office and ask them how good the land is in that area.

They should have soil maps that say something like this soil type in this county ranges from 4 to 10 acres per animal unit.

It is nice if you can start with a ball park idea of what you are working with.

An animal unit (AU) is one 1,000 pound cow with a little calf. Sheep and goats are usually thought of as about 4 or 5 Sheep or goats to equal one AU.

The above is all ballpark.... but some areas of the country are 30 acres for one AU, and some are 4 acres for one AU. So, it sure is nice to have an idea of what ballpark you are standing in! :old

Once you figure that out....

You want to figure out your local plants, and your local plants are categorized as decreasers, increasers, and invaders. And the grasses in those 3 groups are at times further categorized into C4 (warm season) and C3 (cool season) grasses.

Now don't panic... you can probably get a handy chart or list from the extension office, and you can usually get by just fine with learning to recognize the top ten most important.

So... the decreasers are your "ice cream", and your animals will find them and eat them first. The most desirable plants will be a bit different from one species to the next. But if you just memorize the 2 most wanted for each kind of livestock, that will work.

The increasers are the plants that will start to increase in number as the decreasers decrease in number.

The invaders are the nasty things you hate, that will start taking hold, and spreading, if the decreasers and increasers are over-grazed.

C4(warm season) and C3 (cool season) grasses just grow better in warm or cool seasons. So... the pasture you use for winter grazing will work better as winter grazing if many of the grasses are cool season grasses that keep growing in the winter.

Ok.... now that you know all of that....

And you have the top 10 most important grasses and plants memorized....

Every day you walk out and look at your animals. Watch what they are grazing. Keep a close eye on the decreasers, move the animals off of the pasture before the decreasers are killed.

Some plants can be grazed down to an inch of height, some if grazed closer than 4 inches will lose vigor.

So... learn those plants.
 
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