Managing grazing

horsefixer

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I moved to a property with 3 and a half acres of paddocks and an acre of garden at the beginning of this year. In Co Waterford. The paddocks were in an awful state, little grass and alot of it under water, having been grazed flat by 2 horses, now removed. I got a small rescue Shetland (36 inches) and she has lived happily in the garden since January but is now in a 1 acre paddock with another rescue Shetland (41 inches) recently arrived. Paddocks are now drying out and growing. My question is how best to manage the paddocks for the rest of the year so that I will have grazing this coming winter. I am taking steps to improve the drainage. Also, is 2 Shetlands enough to keep the grass under control without getting laminitis, or do I, God help me, need to get another one?
 
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L&M

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Tbh 3 1/2 acres is a lot for 2 shetlands!

We had 2 that we kept on a 1 acre paddock all year round, and let them graze it bare, then left it that way. In winter they had a slice of hay am and pm as a top up. Even with having it bare, they needed muzzles on in the summer if there was a grass flush.

Could you keep them in 1 acre, then rent out the rest? Or just grow your herd....!!!!?
 

horsefixer

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that's what I was afraid of....:)....Renting out is not really an option as the daily invasion of my privacy would drive me nuts. I have been offered another Shetland, looking for a home, so I will take her and see how it goes.Thanks for ur input
 

dollyanna

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What about making a fairly narrow track round it all for the summer months, and then opening it up gradually for the winter so you would have plenty of grazing in the winter for them? You could just use the middle in the winter to let the track rest if needed, and possibly cut your own hay from it in the summer if you wanted to, or just leave it as standing hay.
 

horsefixer

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hmmm.....................now that's an idea worth considering.....and that would make them exercise....right?......thanks
 

The Fuzzy Furry

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2 x little people can mange on an acre for the whole year.

My 2 are in under a quarter of an acre & have a 2nd paddock the same size to go in during the daytime.

I have 4.5 acres for my 3 fuzzies (CF is a cob), 2 acres has already got away!

3.5 acres is a vast amount, you could easily keep 6 - 10 mini's on it ;)
 

ace33

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The best thing for managing grassland animal wise is sheep, lots of benefits of cross grazing with horses too. If your fencing is secure perhaps it's something to look into?
 

twiggy2

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keep just 2 shetties on 2/3rds of an acre for the whole year and get contractors in once or twice a year to take hay of the rest of the land-do not allow them to use any chemical fertilisers though as it does drift anf could make all of your grass unsuitable for the shetties
 

Fuzzypuff

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How about setting up your track with room to move it inward in winter then use the central area (2 acres?) to make hay?
 

horsefixer

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nice idea, but here in Ireland, it's easier to find the Holy Grail than a farmer willing to cut grass on such a small acreage.
 

horsefixer

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yep, that's what I've done. After dollyanna suggested it earlier I found paddockparadise and a blog by a woman in Clare, Ponies at Home, and made a track around the one acre paddock. I am planning to extend it around the entire property, through the orchard and up to the 2nd and 3rd paddocks......going to be heaven on earth for these ponies. And another homeless one arrives on Sunday to help them......:)
I have very poor drainage (this is Ireland, after all) so i am going to do ingenious things in the middle of the paddocks to sort that out.
 

twiggy2

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yep, that's what I've done. After dollyanna suggested it earlier I found paddockparadise and a blog by a woman in Clare, Ponies at Home, and made a track around the one acre paddock. I am planning to extend it around the entire property, through the orchard and up to the 2nd and 3rd paddocks......going to be heaven on earth for these ponies. And another homeless one arrives on Sunday to help them......:)
I have very poor drainage (this is Ireland, after all) so i am going to do ingenious things in the middle of the paddocks to sort that out.

heaven on earth for shetties is NOT lots of grass
 

horsefixer

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am not being smart, a track that runs around the perimeter of 3.5 acres is far too much for 2 or 3 shetties
I have to disagree. The total area of the track will be between 1/2 and 3/4 of an acre and I think that is about right for them, plus they will have to walk about 3/4 of a kilometre to access all of it. The beauty of the track is that, since it is fenced with plastic posts and tape, it can be adjusted constantly to suit them and weight and laminitis problems can be quickly addressed.
 

horsefixer

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:)
and if you are so aware of how much grass is too much, why ask your original question?
Clearly, I asked my original question because I was not aware then, but thanks to constructive advice from others on this thread I am now and have taken steps to implement that advice.:)
 

ILuvCowparsely

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I moved to a property with 3 and a half acres of paddocks and an acre of garden at the beginning of this year. In Co Waterford. The paddocks were in an awful state, little grass and alot of it under water, having been grazed flat by 2 horses, now removed. I got a small rescue Shetland (36 inches) and she has lived happily in the garden since January but is now in a 1 acre paddock with another rescue Shetland (41 inches) recently arrived. Paddocks are now drying out and growing. My question is how best to manage the paddocks for the rest of the year so that I will have grazing this coming winter. I am taking steps to improve the drainage. Also, is 2 Shetlands enough to keep the grass under control without getting laminitis, or do I, God help me, need to get another one?


That is a lot for little fuzzies we have 1 10 hand long eared person and two 12- 12.2 ponies on under an acre they get too much grass in the summer so we divide into 3 this year and strip graze.

I would say strip graze with a track maybe outside. or maybe get a livery or another pony albeit or keep the best drainage one for winter months. As your ponies live out its different to mine - you may need muzzles or erect some mobile shelters to bring them in part time with hay. Or maybe rent part of it out to someone for some income
 

horsefixer

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That is a lot for little fuzzies we have 1 10 hand long eared person and two 12- 12.2 ponies on under an acre they get too much grass in the summer so we divide into 3 this year and strip graze.

I would say strip graze with a track maybe outside. or maybe get a livery or another pony albeit or keep the best drainage one for winter months. As your ponies live out its different to mine - you may need muzzles or erect some mobile shelters to bring them in part time with hay. Or maybe rent part of it out to someone for some income
Thanks, I've gone with the track system, and will see how it goes. At this stage the grazing area in the track is probably less than a 1/4 acre. They have 24 hour access to a stable which is situated in the track but they have not been in there yet.
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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The best thing for managing grassland animal wise is sheep, lots of benefits of cross grazing with horses too. If your fencing is secure perhaps it's something to look into?
This, a friendly farmer will also have ability to mend fencing and rolling and topping grass, but sheep are best things for grazing. Lambs are lovely things.
 

horsefixer

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What about making a fairly narrow track round it all for the summer months, and then opening it up gradually for the winter so you would have plenty of grazing in the winter for them? You could just use the middle in the winter to let the track rest if needed, and possibly cut your own hay from it in the summer if you wanted to, or just leave it as standing hay.
Just thought I'd let you know that I went with your suggestion and built a track which has worked a treat. I started in the bottom paddock where the stable is and I am gradually extending it.It has now gone through the orchard and along one side of the top paddock, across the drivewayand down one side of the third paddock back to the start. It's probably about half a mile long.They love it and are not putting on any weight. I also acquired a third Shetland X who was very fat when she arrived a month ago and is now looking considerably slimmer. Getting out of my property is now slightly more complicated as I have to close off the two sides of the driveway like a railway crossing but its worth it...so pleased you told me about this system.
 
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