Livestock and stream question.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by homebirtha, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    We're putting an electric fence for goats, pigs, and possibly some other small stock in the future. Do we let them in the stream or fence them away from it? My vote was for fencing them away from it to protect the stream from waste. DH thinks we should let them have access to the stream, because, hey, free water. What do you think?
     
  2. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    Away from it. I got a grant from Soil & Water Conservation to help pay for the costs of doing this.
     

  3. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    It is better to fence them out and more and more states are requiring this. It is not just the waste issues, but also erosion issues, which could result in problems for you later.

    If you still want free water, pump it out of the stream!

    Jena
     
  4. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    It's free water but if you wouldn't drink it why are you letting your livestock drink it? Water quality can affect animal health. Erosion can result in gradually losing part of your pasture. For some reason folks want to mow everything to the bank edge. That's the worse thing you can do. You need the shrubs and trees (a buffer zone) to stabilize the bank and if you have fish in the stream shade the water to keep the water cooler. Even downsteam the cooler water can make a difference. The macroinvertebrates that fish feed on do better in water without sediment and the high fecal counts that can come from animals wading in the stream.

    Buffer zones also help intercept the fertilizer runoff that's partially responsible for destroying the Chesepeake Bay. The animal manure in the water is also contributing to the decline.
     
  5. My hat is off to robbin, jena, and darren and with a big thanks for your concern to the environment. Most people could care less what happens to the streams and the aquatic life in them. I've watched a beautiful and fun creek die right before my eyes due to cattle ranchers, chicken farmers, and town pollutants entering into the stream. So please if at all possible keep the livestock out of the streams and keep all trees and vegetations within 50' of the stream edge. This will ensure clean and deep water for years to come.
     
  6. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I always let my stock to my spring.Hardest part was keeping the fence up when the water come up.

    To agree with the others stock is hard on the water.But with my place if I worried about the woods a water so much when I had stock,wouldn't get nothing done.And I do have to admit now that I'm wanting trees to grow it is taking a long time to recoop.

    big rockpile
     
  7. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We fenced our horses out of our creek, but pump water out of the creek into a huge tank inside the fence.
     
  8. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

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    Keep the stock away from the creek. If there are any overhanging banks the stock will destroy them as well as all streamside vegetation. All you will have is a gravel bar with little diversity left to the stream habitat. You should also consider downstream effects of having stock playing in the creek/stream.
     
  9. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. I love it when I'm right. :haha:
     
  10. reluctantpatriot

    reluctantpatriot I am good without god.

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    I have a creek running through my property that is downstream of a trout fish ranch, however, downstream of me will be a package plant to process the sewage from the small town I live near. Though it will discharge "treated" effluent that will meet or exceed cleanliness standards for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, it will not be potable. And it is going to be discharged into the Lake of the Ozarks, where people fish, swim and boat.

    From my point of view, there is little reason to worry about the section of creek that runs through my property as downstream the water will be polluted anyway. However, if it were a situation where it would cause problems for someone downstream, I would be more careful about the stream treatment.

    For sake of livestock safety, it would be better to pump the water into a tank than let them drink from the bank.
     
  11. hatwoman22

    hatwoman22 Well-Known Member

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    Big rockpile, I read your other thread, I agree.

    As to this one, around here no one fences off water! What about all the enzymes that are naturally in the water that our animals need to have in their stomichs to help digest?? Or thats what I was always told,, as too waste, it depends on the creek bottom, if it is stone or gravel the water washing over it will clense itself.. Although I"m probably not explaining that right. :0 Anyway, no one fences off water the creek that runs through my horses pasture runs through a pipe under the raod from a cattle pasure accross the street. No problems, He only gets water from faucet in a barrel when that small creek branch runs dry. Although he did have to figure out how to put his head down to the water to drink when I first got him, poor guy barn kept, had no idea what a creek was.
     
  12. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    Enzymes from what? My, there is a lot of nonsense floating around out there. As to streams cleansing themselves, all that manure and silt still have to end up somewhere, which in this case would be the first deep hole in the stream bed. When that one is full, the stuff moves on to the next one. The gravel areas just appear clean, you can bet that much of live there has been smothered by the heavier particles which will fall between the rocks.
    It is completely irresponsible to allow livestock access to a stream.
     
  13. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Only thing I would not put in the stream is Hogs.But with all the other if your going to use all your property,you will have double the fence,plus you will have to find a place for stock to cross the stream.

    big rockpile
     
  14. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    If you let pigs in a waterway, then you're just plain letting them out to go where they will. Pigs thrive on and around waterways, and they will root under any fence you can imagine putting across a stream or gully. Apart from the fact that you only have pigs as occasional feral visitors from then on, they will also wallow in the stream - upstream as well as down - your waterway will be destroyed, and the water polluted with pig - uhmm - this forum asterisks the word out if you use a four-letter word for manure that starts with "sh" and ends with "t", but use your imagination.

    LisaInN.Idaho had the right idea - fence stock away from your waterway, then pump water to a trough or drinking tank. Use a rake to scratch some dry cement powder into the ground around the drinking trough so that it won't turn into a muddy mire.

    Yes, fencing both sides of the waterway will be expensive, but a permanent waterway is a valuable (& I mean $'s) resource and worth preserving in good condition. You might start out just penning the hogs and letting other stock roam free if you're really strapped for funds, but don't let it run too long - particularly if you can get a grant to finance your fencing/protecting of the waterway. Besides, you can USE the fenced-away area - orchard, woodlot, hunting, hayfields, crops - you can grow a lot of trees if stock are fenced away from them.
     
  15. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    Part of the grant that helped pay for the fencing to keep livestock off the stream banks and out of the water will help pay to develop springs. We have several good springs that don't dry up in the summer. We will clean them out, tile them and make them easily accessible to the livestock.