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Discussion Starter #1
So I want to start a more vigorous rotational grazing schedule in the spring. What I currently have are three pastures, all bounded with electric fence. Does anybody know how long a pasture has to be off to effect parasite loads? The other issue is shelter. Me and DH have been cracking wise about building a mobile goat hut (I could train wethers to pull it! it would be a GOAT POWERED goat hut!) but I'm not sure if that's actually feasible. Anybody have a suggestion? Because if it were mobile, we wouldn't have to build as many huts, and could use mobile fencing to divide more finely. How do you guys do it?
 

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You could have a shelter in the middle or an alley system, so that they can have shelter in the hottest parts of the day in summer, and for in case of any storms. I think long, narrow strips are better grazed than more square shaped paddocks. I think each section needs about a month of rest, but that's also going to depend on time of year, water, etc. There may be a time of year that the grass is growing like crazy, and that is a great time to put up some hay for winter use.
 

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Use a centrally located housing structure and fence off a huge area with permanent fence. Rotate them through the large lot using electric netting. That will be cheaper than using permanent fencing, and more flexible.

Otherwise, use an alley and several gates that allow you to open/close off different pastures. Easier than having moveable housing, and if you have a central hub you don't have to worry about walking them around at milking time or moving water troughs out of the reach of the hose etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We actually have multiple pastures with an alley up the side - the problem is they're *much* bigger than I need. We have three approximately one acre sections, two in front of the house, and one in back - the one in back has the barn in it, and there's a shed off the back of the coop that opens on the alley (that's where my milk room is, incidentally).

My thought was that if I could use the two pastures closer to the house in quarters, it would be easier to keep them in fresh grass for longer, and I could continue to use the far pasture (which is a bit bitter than the other two) as a hay field. I like the idea of temporary fencing that I move around - it would be cheaper for sure! - but am still working on the logistics. Water isn't an issue - both near pastures are in easy hose reach of the house on one side. Which is the other reason I like the far pasture as a hay field, it is a pain in the butt to get water out there!

This is a moment where I'm seeing the value of starting from scratch - I could make it however I want! But our fences and buildings are really very nice. They're just not located quite where I would put them. :D
 

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I am really curious what you eventually did... I am planning my rotational grazing system for my boer herd
The pasture I use for spring through fall is 250'x500' with hard wire perimeter.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm still working on it, to be honest. This year we subdivided into strips - and they weren't so much taken off the old strip as offered a new strip periodically. It was better than just letting them have at - we got a good cut of hay off of half of that pasture and they seemed to graze it more evenly - but it wasn't perfect. The problem is I need to be able to get them to the milk room every day, and it's hard to divide to keep them off the quarter nearest it but also able to get to it, if that makes sense. This year we're going to set up a sort of semi-permanent lane along the front (where high traffic is killing the grass anyway) and then divide along it. Need more fencing to do that though. Doing research. :D
 

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I also have dairy goats, and I rotate them through our field. You already have electric fencing, correct? We have high tensile electric around the perimeter. I then use 3 strands of poly twine on reels and plastic step in posts to divide into paddocks. I create long, narrow strips with a lane in the back that goes up to the barn. Last year I moved them once a week and had 6 different areas. It worked well. This year I'm going to make the strips narrower and move them more often.
 

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Forget lanes. Just buy a border collie. You can open any fence and take them anywhere. Most herdable animals in the world are goats once they are trained. After you get a dog, and some good quality premier 1 electronet, every ditch, roadside and unused water way and piece of unused neighbors land can be your new free or low cost feed source. Throw up fence, walk goats to field, walk home, repeat.

https://youtu.be/XvmI5UXzF34
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I also have dairy goats, and I rotate them through our field. You already have electric fencing, correct? We have high tensile electric around the perimeter. I then use 3 strands of poly twine on reels and plastic step in posts to divide into paddocks. I create long, narrow strips with a lane in the back that goes up to the barn. Last year I moved them once a week and had 6 different areas. It worked well. This year I'm going to make the strips narrower and move them more often.
Yup, high tensile electric perimeter fencing. This is approximately what I mean to do. It's good to hear that three lines of polywire will hold them! I wanted to start with four areas and perhaps increase later, since I already know where the dividing point is for four lanes. Slowly but surely I will figure this thing out. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Forget lanes. Just buy a border collie. You can open any fence and take them anywhere. Most herdable animals in the world are goats once they are trained. After you get a dog, and some good quality premier 1 electronet, every ditch, roadside and unused water way and piece of unused neighbors land can be your new free or low cost feed source. Throw up fence, walk goats to field, walk home, repeat.

https://youtu.be/XvmI5UXzF34
I have no dog experience, so this would most assuredly be a mistake for me. :)
 

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I have no dog experience, so this would most assuredly be a mistake for me. :)
I have zero dog-training experience myself. Also I lack energy and time. Considering how tragic this year had started, getting a dog or any more animal in to the farm would be a disaster...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Could you please elaborate on the semi-permanent lane?
Well, I don't have it completely figured out. But I'm thinking I'll have two pieces of movable fence that meet in the middle of the pasture, and are I dunno, six feet or so from the permanent front fence. Then when I make strips of pasture for the goats to go on (perpendicular to this lane), I would have it open up onto this lane in the front - so if I had four sections, each one I would fold the semi-permanent lane fence back by half to make an opening. The way the pasture is set up the lane could lead between the barn and the loafing shed (where the milk room is) so I could have them shelter whichever place was convenient. I'm still working on the details. It's similar in concept to the way my permanent fencing works (a lane along one side of the property that, starting from the road, opens up to pasture, pasture, house and yard, pasture) only on a smaller more mobile scale.
 

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I'm still working on it, to be honest. This year we subdivided into strips - and they weren't so much taken off the old strip as offered a new strip periodically. It was better than just letting them have at - we got a good cut of hay off of half of that pasture and they seemed to graze it more evenly - but it wasn't perfect. The problem is I need to be able to get them to the milk room every day...
We rotational graze a flock/herd of sheep, meat goats and dairy goats. We built a structure we call "The Rickshaw". It is a milk stand on wheels that also accommodates a water tank and shelter. It is movable on large wheels. We use portable electric fence to set up the rotational paddock and move The Rickshaw the same time we move the animals. When it is time to milk, we walk out to them.

To answer your original question....many, many factors and we've spent hours researching these questions. Best we can find is that how fast parasites go through their life cycle is determined a lot by time of year, weather and environment. Best estimate we got was to not return them to the same spot for a minimum of 60 days. Longer is better. Our goal is 120 days. Of course, we also recognize that in doing so, we are selecting for parasites with longer life cycles. Such is life.
 

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Hello All
Re: Parasites on Pastures that are Rotated.
#1 I feed DE to all my horses and goats, it goes strait through gets the Intestinal track parasites and then remains active to kill fly's in the field.
In a milking stand situation you just sprinkle a TSP every day into the grain goat get and you done with with Intestinal track parasites and pasture fly control. DE can also be "Dusted " externally and brushed in their coat to control external parasites like mange mites/Lice,etc.
DE is not a "Insect" Repellent it kills by "Physical" action.
No way for "bugs" to develop Resistance to it.
You still need to use a Insect repellent externally for your animals protection/comfort from Skeeters, Biting Fly's, ETC.
BTY: It is good for the soil when the manure breaks down either in the compost pile or pasture.
In ending I do agree 60 -120 days of pasture "Rest" is good management.
But many people don't have the acreage for that.
Or the $$$ to do the fencing required.
DE will let you manage a healthy herd of animals on smaller acreages by non-chemical methods.
DE also works on Fire ant hills. :)
Happy Trails
hihobaron
 

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Hello All
Re: Parasites on Pastures that are Rotated.
#1 I feed DE to all my horses and goats, it goes strait through gets the Intestinal track parasites and then remains active to kill fly's in the field.
In a milking stand situation you just sprinkle a TSP every day into the grain goat get and you done with with Intestinal track parasites and pasture fly control. DE can also be "Dusted " externally and brushed in their coat to control external parasites like mange mites/Lice,etc.
DE is not a "Insect" Repellent it kills by "Physical" action.
No way for "bugs" to develop Resistance to it.
You still need to use a Insect repellent externally for your animals protection/comfort from Skeeters, Biting Fly's, ETC.
BTY: It is good for the soil when the manure breaks down either in the compost pile or pasture.
In ending I do agree 60 -120 days of pasture "Rest" is good management.
But many people don't have the acreage for that.
Or the $$$ to do the fencing required.
DE will let you manage a healthy herd of animals on smaller acreages by non-chemical methods.
DE also works on Fire ant hills. :)
Happy Trails
hihobaron
I tried DE (Diatomaceous Earth) for my hens and it worked great. Never knew I could use it for goats. Thanks for your note. I looked up and found http://www.skylinesfarm.com/parasitecontrol.htm. I am concerned that the worms might become immune to ivermectin in my herd. Hence I am going to try preventive non-chemical deworming and ROTAIONAL GRAZING
 
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