Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    How do you folks utilize paddocks? How big do you make them, and any details you wish to mention?

    Also, rotational Pasturing.... Fencing for this and size for how many animals?

    I'm thinking in terms of separating a pasture into smaller sections for best utilization and not overgrazing?
  2. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 26, 2003
    New York
    Hi Moonwolf. I only have 5 acres, and started from scratch just 2 years ago. I was eager to get a few goats and sheep, so I started with 2 areas. I fenced with 4"x4" woven wire fence, 4' high (my goats are a small breed). It's Red Brand sheep/goat fence. I used 6' metal T posts every 8'. Each paddock is about 100'x100', and I've since added a third, which is double that. This spring I'll put up an open-sided shed out there for more shade, so I can close the farthest gate and leave them out there. They tend to want to stay close to the house, and so eat that paddock down to nothing.

    I recently bought a 4th goat, and am planning on getting a pony in the spring, so I will continue to add paddocks as time allows. I move the sheep and goats about every 2 weeks. I work off my place, so I let them out in the morning and bring them back to the closest pen about 2:30pm when I leave for work. I hope to end up with several seperate fenced areas by the time I finish. I have a very large garden area and an orchard that I planted, but it leaves quite a bit of land for pasture. My animals are all pets, I don't have plans to expand.

  3. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Gene Logsdon, All Flesh is Grass, has a very good discussion on this very subject.
  4. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

    Nov 15, 2003
    My husband and I have ten acres that join my dad's larger acreage. We are cross fencing our 10 acres leaving 2 acres for the house and garden area. This is so we can separate our calves from our cows and run them on this acreage. We will rotate the cattle from paddock to paddock as needed. We have tried to rotating pastures on my dad's acreage and it has worked fairly well. However, my dad has overstocked his place by bringing cattle in from a lease property he has let go. He is set in his ways and remembers when cattle just fended for themselves without any help. He lost a lot of cattle that way. We have a friend who has divided his 50 acres into paddocks and planted them in improved pasture grasses and rotates his cattle. He seldom has to feed his cattle. He gives them supplemental minerals and they have done well. I am impressed as he no longer has to bale hay.
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    In a perfect world, you will have livestock in a paddock 3 days, maby 4. And you will not come back to a paddock for 28 days.

    So, you need about 7-10 of them, plus one or 2 for real wet or dry times - sacrafice one during wet periods to save your good ones...

    Your climate, rainfall, type & # of livestock, & grass/legume mix, and soil, will determime how big each paddock needs to be. You want it cleaned out pretty good in the 3-4 days the critters are on it.

    That is a perfect world. Start out with 3-4 paddocks and you will help your situation. Any rotation at all helps. But if you really want to get to the perfect world, plan for the best, setting up your big paddocks with more division possible, etc.

  6. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    There is no set answer to these questions as it depends on where you are, what you have, etc. Check local resources to get a better idea of what your land can support.

    I started with 5 paddocks, increased that to 10 the following year by dividing up them up. I had plans to further divide this year, but didn't get to do it. My fences are a single hot wire. Fast, easy and cheap. If I want to change my paddock, it's easy to move the fence or take it down.

    Water is often a critical issue in paddock design. My paddocks use a variety of watering methods from hooking up a hose/float to a tank, pond, streams, and trash pump into a tank.

    The rotation really helps the pasture and you can grow into it. Start with what you can and add more later.