How would you rotate these fields?

prosefullstop

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We're building a three-stall barn at the end of the year, and next spring will start fencing fields. The drainage is good to excellent, and I know that I'll need to supplement plenty, as they aren't the biggest of pastures, but how would you do it? Three days on each space, poo pick, and move?

We will have three areas, and two horses and a small pony. Subdividing further with tape is not an option.

Area 1 is 2 acres
Area 2 is 1.1 acres
Area 3 is 0.6 acres

I do have an option to create a fourth field (1.4 acres) but I'd rather keep that aside for schooling, as it's nice and flat.
 

mrswad

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If they are sociable have you looked at pasture paradise, Jaime Jackson? A system of running a track round the outer edge of field which encouraging natural feeding behaviours. You adjust the inner fence to allow more or less access to fresh grass, and leave hay & water at different points.
 

missyclare

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The pasture should be no longer than 6" tall and no shorter than 3". How long that takes, depends on the weather/time of year. Ideally, you'd want to mow the field behind them and give it time to recover. Making more sections will just have you moving them faster. If you can attach the gates to all these fields, to a central holding pen at the barn,then rotating is just a matter of opening one gate and closing another. The foyer area where these gates are on is very handy if you don't want them out on pasture for day or so, cause chance has it that all the fields need a rest for a bit, or the grass is too rich and you want to limit. I leave the gate open that they are in to give them free access to foyer with hay, water, salt and the barn. Then I went one further and opened 1/2 the barn to give them free access to shelter as well. I eliminated my stalls, put down 6" of drainage rock covered with 6" of crushed limestone. I no longer have to clean stalls, no longer have to buy bedding, except for one sick stall I never use and can clean in half the time with a many-tined fork like kitty litter. I guarantee that if you get out the rake, you'll get a zen feeling, lol! The old girl prefers to stand on it. They are fly-free in the barn and high and dry. My paddocks are the same size as yours and I also have 3 horses. I have electric fences and hang slow feeders on tree branches, saving $400/yr on hay. My horses all have rock crushing/well developed feet that can go anywhere, anytime. My goal is to make horse care as easy as possible, cause I'm getting on and if I can't take care of them anymore, well, I'm not going to be a happy camper. Hope this helps with some ideas...a little different, but works for us. We're in Canada.
 

smellsofhorse

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I think it depneds on ground condition, weather and how much they eat.
On a dry winters days, the ground should be ok and you could leave them in the 0.6 acres section.
on a wet day, you would want them on the driest field and them move them accourdign to how muddy/worn it gets.
 

Archangel

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I have more land than you but 3 fields and a field shelter. Very good drainage.
Field 1 is largest and has the shelter.
Field 2 & 3 same size (smaller than 1).

Field 1 is the main area of grazing. At this time of the year Field 2 is used during the day and shut at night Field 3 is resting and growing well and the grass in field 2 lasts a bit longer.

In two weeks or so time. Field 2 will be shut off and resting. Field 1 will be split in two to rest one half. Mare only will be put in Field 3 during day as she needs more grass then back in half Field 1 with her good doer friend (where the shelter is) at night.

Once she has made an impact on grass in Field 2 I will shut off the rest of field 1 except for a small area to allow them to access the shelter. Field 2 is only field in use, 1 & 3 are now resting.

Field 1 will get the longest rest as it is used the hardest. I will then strip graze (moving every other day) throughout the summer so that one field is in use and a second field partially in use, the third field is resting. As I open a bit in front of them I close a bit behind if you know what I mean. The aim being that by autumn I will have two fields with long grass that has gone over a bit lasting until Christmas. The idea of the long grass is that the horses get a period of lots of fibre but they have to work a bit harder to get the goodness.

Once the weather breaks they get ad lib hay and I open shut fields according to the wind direction. I keep one field ungrazed so that if it gets wet I can move them to a dry field.

Missyclare - your system sounds great.
 
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