In order to preserve and manage our grass quality in our pastures, we do rotational grazing. Our 16 acres of pastures are divided into 10 small pastures and 2 winter sacrifice pastures, which turn into dry lots by the end of the winter - we reseed them in the spring and they have good grass for a while in the fall. The barn's pastures were originally configured as 3 large board-fenced pastures and three smaller ones. We've taken the 3 large pastures and subdivided them into 3 smaller pastures each, and also use one of the small board-fenced pastures in our rotation. We save the other two board-fenced pastures, which are closest to the barn, as our winter sacrifice pastures - we use these for about 6 months of the year. Once the grass is exhausted, we use round bale hay in these two pastures until spring.
Rotational grazing has helped us greatly - no area gets over-grazed and we can move horses as need be. Usually the two horses herds - we keep mares and geldings separated - move about once a week - sometimes more often if the grass is less profuse. Our boarder who manages our pastures religiously measures the grass every week at a precise distance from the pasture gates and keeps detailed records. We do some reseeding in gate areas every year, but by and large the pastures do very well.
One aspect of moving pastures every week is that electric fences have to be turned on and off, and batteries sometimes have to be moved. And the water has to be set up in the new pastures. We have four frost-free water hydrants, one by the barn, one by the small paddocks, one that serves the two dry lots and two of the grass pastures, and one that is far out and serves the remaining 8 grass pastures. Tomorrow we're moving pastures, so I tried to get some of the work done ahead of time. This morning's set-up was particularly difficult - the mares are going into a pasture that is missing a water tank, so I had to move the nearest one from another unused pasture - luckily the tank was plastic and already empty, so that wasn't too bad. We use automatic floats which join with the hoses using a coupler - they just snap together. When I turned over the tank, the coupler part attached to the tank was plugged with mud - so I took that apart and rinsed it. The geldings are going to our very-farthest-away pasture, and somehow the hoses that usually are ready for use to that pasture had been moved, so there was much hose dragging, straightening and rearrangement. I turned on the water and partially filled the new tanks - I'll do the rest tomorrow.
I don't mind this work too much - I'm not in a hurry and it gives me time to watch the horses in turnout, which is always enjoyable. Tomorrow my (non-horsey and long-suffering) husband will be back from his trip and will help out by emptying the old troughs that are still full of water - we don't need any extra mosquitos around here!
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Now here's a lovely caterpillar I noticed this morning - by this afternoon there were two! It's a Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar, I discovered, and of course it was on a milkweed plant:
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Update: this evening when I came back from the barn, the two caterpillars had been joined by many more, some of which were much smaller - the eggs must be hatching!
And I noticed that I forgot to mention the slugs - yes, indeed, there were several slugs in each of the water tanks I had to overturn and fill this morning - removed by hand (mine).