Improving our pastures are important to us. We bought an old hay field that seems to need some tender loving care. We are hoping that over time we will be able improve our land with running cattle, chickens and pigs, Oh My!
Keep in mind we don't run a lot of cows, we are not trying to feed the world! We are trying to feed ourselves and maybe a few other families. We have 9 head of Irish Dexters. We are building our herd slowly because we need to make sure we do a good job with what we have. Plus that, we need to add fences as we add cows. That is a big project to add fences! However, when our family has worked hard together, it is so satisfying at the end of the day. Even on this wintery day, it brings a smile to my face to think about the family togetherness that we have had to work through.
It is so important for a family to learn how to work well together and I have had to ask myself this question? "Even though this is work, can we enjoy this? Can I have a good attitude through this so my kids can learn how to enjoy hard work? Can we laugh at all through this job? Can we look for the ways that our kids are doing the right thing?" I don't want my family to be miserable, with lot's of yelling, because it's a hard job. Let's work together and be a team!
Don't worry, I am coming back to the way we graze our animals. Sorry about the rabbit trail.... Any way, we don't make huge pastures when we are fencing.
This above picture is a narrow and long pasture that is split in half. Our cows had just finished grazing on it with mob stocking. We move a temporary fence within that fence once or twice a day to give the cows fresh forage. Go out in the morning when you can get dew all over your jeans and move your temporary fence. Give your cattle enough space to eat until supper or the next day. I always make that decision based on what we are doing in the late afternoon. That is the ideal time to moooove the fence, but it is okay if it is once a day.
I have read that your pastures will improve faster if you move your temporary fence twice a day but sometime life moves faster then you want. Just make sure you give them enough so they aren't trying to escape. You will get to be an expert in how much space to give your cows if you make sure you are paying attention to how much they eat in 12 hours. I know that you already know that you have to give more space to the more cattle that you have out there! You're kinda smart like that!
Our experience with Dexters has been if you have a hot wire they will stay in the fence even if it is a single strand. Make sure your fence is hot! However we have had a couple experiences as we have learned how to handle cattle is don't separate the bull from his favorite girls on a single wire. He won't care about a little bitty hot wire. We have had a lot more success with keeping him in the fence, when we let him be with a couple of his favorite cows if we have to separate the herd.
I believe that is my thoughts on rotational grazing. I am sure I will think of more later!
Let all the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.