Monday, July 14, 2014

Fresh Pasture

Since I started using the solar electric charger this year I slowly moved the fence to the side yard, out behind the house into the backyard, along the second driveway beside the garden, between the garden and the raspberry patch, and to the far side of the garden.  We've only had one escape- right down the road to Mom's place- when they were in the second driveway section.  There were some awkward corners in there, and somebody knocked out a post. 

They're averaging 4-7 days per section, based partly on the condition of the grass, and partly on the weather.  I've left them an extra day, or moved them a day or two early because rain was forecast.

I haven't gotten brave enough to cut them off from the pasture yet.  They have a walkway back at all times, and then we close the gate overnight to lock them in- except once.  One night #4 forgot to close the gate when he put them away, but still shut off the electric fence.  They were out grazing in the morning, and may have been out all night.  Amazingly, no escapes!

We still haven't got the second solar charger repaired, so the pasture is still not divided.  It's obviously not as stressed as it usually is though.  The grass is growing slowly, about 3" high.  Normally it's cropped off just above the roots in the open sections by this time of year.

Friday I moved the fence to the first clearing behind the house.  It's a bigger section than they've had to date, and the grass is longer, though thinner.  The cows are all looking lovely.
The calves like to duck under the fence and munch ahead of everyone else, or just stop to nap.  I've kept the fence well back from the trees, keeping a cleaner fence line.  The cows will duck their heads under the fence to get most of the edges, and there's less risk of the fence grounding out.
This is the trampoline section.  The trampoline doesn't get used much because the bugs get kind of wild in the long grass.  #4 is happy to have company out back, and soon the cows will have the grass eaten and trampled down, reducing the bug population.
The cows like to be let out of the pasture early in the mornings to graze, then return to the barn to chew their cud, hide from the sun, and nap in the afternoon.  Around supper time they head out again, and graze until nearly dusk.  They usually put themselves to bed then, but occasionally need some prompting.

I have one more section that I can fence off and maintain the pathway to the pasture without buying more supplies. 

The horses come out to graze from time to time, though they're a bit skittish through the pathways where the fence is narrower, and seem to prefer the openness of the pasture.  They're also adverse to change.  They tend to leap before they look, and skid to a stop when they see the fence line has been moved. 

The last time we tried using electric fence out back was just for horses, and it was a total fail.  They always wanted the grass on the other side of the fence, would knock it down or ground it out, and escaped regularly.  Now that I see the behavior differences I'd really like to separate the pasture to keep them in at all times.


  1. I like that the cows put themselves to bed. I wish my chickens would do that instead of roaming the neighborhood at dusk! Patsy Cline is a bad influence. The trampoline in use must stir up lots of bugs!

    1. Do you feed them at night? We do morning and night time feedings for the chickens. Night time is always inside their shed, so they pretty much round themselves up to get the feed.