Miniature Shetland Grazing

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2 November 2021
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Hello. I’m very recently a newbie owner to two miniature Shetlands.
I’m very aware of the risks of them over eating etc and therefore want to make sure they have the right amount of field for grazing.
They are currently in a 1 acre field, which I think could be too much? A couple of people have also noted that the field is too much for them. They are also getting feed daily.
Looking for any advice please? Thinking of electric fencing a section off?
 
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The previous owners were giving them a youngstock mix for added nutrition and suggested I carry on with the same feed. Obviously with them being out in the field now I won’t be giving them as much feed.
 
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I would start easing them off it then, and cut them to half the acreage.
Are you bringing them into a stable to handle and pick up feet?
I'd try and do one at a time so they become used to spending a short time on their own, leaving the other in a stable with hay, or you risk them becoming welded to each other. It's a very good thing to learn being on their own for a little while at a young age
 
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They spent a week in the stable with me going in every day and, they are slowly getting used to me. One letting me give him a right fuss! The other one is still a bit nervy at the moment. Previous owner did some halter training with them.
I was going to see if I can bring them in on halter next week to try with feet etc.
 

cauda equina

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About the size of their field - how big is too big will depend very much on what your grass is like
If the field is practically bald an acre could be fine, if it's ryegrass they'll need an awful lot less
 

Merry Equimas

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I have 5 miniatures on 1acres, the field is split into three paddocks. One is summer, one winter and the middle section is a 12ft across area originally for stallion separation but works now as a starve paddock for the major summer busts! I often have way too much grass and they all run a bit fatter than i would like so the (marginally larger) winter paddock is allowed to be totally trashed and the worst offenders get clipped and light rugged - they stay out overnight if its freezing and only come in if its to be wet and windy. Summer paddock is also allowed to be trashed because they don't need all the lushness and normally they end up on the starve paddock with soaked haynets for a few weeks while i weed spray, then come in for a few hours during the height of the heat as they run hot. No hay required during summer bring ins. They only get a handful off token chaff to come in so they are not on the grass all day and then a ridiculously small net about 1lb in weight of soaked hay in a 1" holed net if in overnight.

In your position i would consider a few options..1) get more ponies lol 2) split into at least 4 maybe even 6 areas. only rotate when one area is beyond saving and they are actively wanting hay 3) get more ponies, 4) create a track around the outside of the field approx 12ft across and let them live there exclusively.


By the way, electric won't keep them in.

you can also consider muzzles but what a bother they are.
 
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Apercrumbie

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Electric may keep them in - I appreciate that I've been lucky with ours but as long as the battery is charged, he stays put. (I say lucky, he has shimmied through a 5 bar gate with a rusty bar that he broke and then trotted down a main road, so I mean lucky by shetland standards)

I would split the paddock into 3 smaller paddocks and then rotate as necessary. You probably won't need to feed hay over winter - the trick will be making sure that come spring there is a paddock short enough that they won't be sugar-stuffed when it starts growing again. I would also keep the hard feed to a minimum, but I'm not an expert with babies so would seek advice on that front.
 
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I have 5 miniatures on 1acres, the field is split into three paddocks. One is summer, one winter and the middle section is a 12ft across area originally for stallion separation but works now as a starve paddock for the major summer busts! I often have way too much grass and they all run a bit fatter than i would like so the (marginally larger) winter paddock is allowed to be totally trashed and the worst offenders get clipped and light rugged - they stay out overnight if its freezing and only come in if its to be wet and windy. Summer paddock is also allowed to be trashed because they don't need all the lushness and normally they end up on the starve paddock with soaked haynets for a few weeks while i weed spray, then come in for a few hours during the height of the heat as they run hot. No hay required during summer bring ins. They only get a handful off token chaff to come in so they are not on the grass all day and then a ridiculously small net about 1lb in weight of soaked hay in a 1" holed net if in overnight.

In your position i would consider a few options..1) get more ponies lol 2) split into at least 4 maybe even 6 areas. only rotate when one area is beyond saving and they are actively wanting hay 3) get more ponies, 4) create a track around the outside of the field approx 12ft across and let them live there exclusively.


By the way, electric won't keep them in.

you can also consider muzzles but what a bother they are.
Haha I won’t be getting anymore ponies at the moment! It was hard enough convincing my husband with two! Thanks for the advice- we have sectioned off a small area around their shelter with an electric fence and at the moment they don’t seemed to be bothered by it!
 
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Electric may keep them in - I appreciate that I've been lucky with ours but as long as the battery is charged, he stays put. (I say lucky, he has shimmied through a 5 bar gate with a rusty bar that he broke and then trotted down a main road, so I mean lucky by shetland standards)

I would split the paddock into 3 smaller paddocks and then rotate as necessary. You probably won't need to feed hay over winter - the trick will be making sure that come spring there is a paddock short enough that they won't be sugar-stuffed when it starts growing again. I would also keep the hard feed to a minimum, but I'm not an expert with babies so would seek advice on that front.
Thank you! We have been able to section off a smaller section around their shelter and at the moment they don’t seem to be bothered at all by the electric fence. They are getting a large handful of feed once a day just to get them to come to me, handle etc. One is still very nervous, just about let’s me touch/ stroke down his nose- any tips on beginning to handle?
 

Apercrumbie

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Thank you! We have been able to section off a smaller section around their shelter and at the moment they don’t seem to be bothered at all by the electric fence. They are getting a large handful of feed once a day just to get them to come to me, handle etc. One is still very nervous, just about let’s me touch/ stroke down his nose- any tips on beginning to handle?
Long may the respect for the electric continue!

I would still seek advice on the feed front - a large handful is an awful lot when they're that small. I'm not experienced with unhandled ones so will leave more experienced people to give you proper advice. I was lucky as mine is obsessed with people, so it was a case of teaching manners, not comfort.
 
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