Horses and roe deers

Late this afternoon a roe deer came for a visit and a snack of fresh grass. The horses made no business of that, probably didn’t want to scare her off. After a while the roe deer walked under the electric fence and back into the woods. Last summer she (or some of her “collegues”) had two kids grazing in the pasture all summer, we saw them last week too. Good grass tends to be popular.

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13 thoughts on “Horses and roe deers

  1. Your spring really is long, long ahead of ours… and now we are getting more rain mixed with a little snow 😦 But do you know what different kinds of grass there are in your summer pasture? It looks so lush already, how many leaves has a typical plant already? It is even making my mouth water… maybe i need to go get some nettles (nässlor) 😉 Best to all!

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    • We’ve had many warm sunny days now, maybe some rain by the end of next week, would be good for the grass. Now it’s mostly British Rye that you can se coming up fast, some flowers like Anemone and Buttercup, leaves of Dandelion, small amounts of Fescue and also Horsetail in shadows, the Nettles are still small but there will be more of those. Every grasseater loves British Rye lots of sugar, carbs and energy, good for cows 🙂 but probably too much energy for horses? Horsetail is poisonous, has not been a problem before, but we try to get rid of them. Then there are a few other plants we have not yet identified. Best to all of you too 🙂

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  2. It depends what the horses are doing, among many other variables 😉 Lolium perenne is potent in sugars and fructans and can indeed be dangerous, but on the same hand it would be perfect for our mares with young foals this time of year and likewise for your fast growing youngsters, so it very much has its place. It is heckishly tough, too, and i am guessing came with the farm from previous owners? If there are other grass species that you wish to protect until they are more established then it is better to wait later to graze, but if the Lolium perenne dominates then maybe it is best to turn the horses out on it for an hour a day now already… i have a fair bit of faith in the 3.5 leaves per plant = prime time to begin grazing theory but in your circumstance with Lolium perenne would be tempted to have a go at it even earlier, but i am curious to hear more of what you have in mind as you surely know your land better than i and i have a lot to learn 🙂

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    • The pasture had been abandoned for 20 years when we bought it. Before that it was used by a farmer (nicknamed “Baron Silverlök”) for beef cattle. The area has been inhabited by the “Fjäringar” for several thousands of years, the pasture was used probably for sheep, goats and horses. The Rye grass was possibly introduced in the 18 hundreds and yes it easily dominates other grasses because it grows early and fast. The pasture is pretty small so we plan give the grass two weeks or so to get a good start.

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    • I continue…:) The smaller winter pasture has of course been grazed down to bare soil, but as you can see now the grass is still coming up, inspite of the horses grazing all they can reach, so grass roots are really tough, almost impossible to wipe out. We hand pick some grass for them and it makes them dog crazy. If we walk into the pasture with a hand full of fresh grass and try to run away from them they come after us like a pack of wolves;).
      As you know some like to divide their pasture into small bits too be able to switch between them and get maximum productivity, but it’s nicer with one large pasture for the horses sake, even if it has other disadvantages. The feeling to live in a big pasture must be great compared to a small confined square, especially for Nokotas? Horses living in small pastures can actually have a difficulty to learn how to walk a straight line :). In a big pasture they learn to walk to places and plan their route. So I wish we had a big and a little slower growing pasture like yours, even if an early spring and warm summer is nice ;). Our best to you all !!

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    • The moose always catches the horses attention and the cat can make them jump high when he sneaks up behind them, but never the roe deers. Thanks for your comment!

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  3. Big pastures definitely have unsung advantages, like for excercise and to keep them happy, not to mention to keep them thinking for themselves as they search out the good stuff instead of mindlessly grazing the same monotany. But we still have lots of “improvements” to do here… this strange wet and cold spring has me wishing we had a better “sacrifice” area for them to be on when everything is so wet and muddy yet too cold to grow, and Kvikrot (Elymus/Agropyron repens) is the only grass i really know that can tolerate such abuse. Last year we were lucky when some kind neighbors gave us their no longer in use electric band and matching light temporary posts, so in some places we actually used that to expand the pasture just a little every few days to minimize the damage from stomping to the new stuff, and it worked pertty slick. But now (once this coffee gets me totally awake) i need to get back to working on fencing the big clearcut, which will also be an interesting experiment. There is a fair bit of some finer and low but still green grass there, and we will thin the brush heavily to encourage more, while i know that our Nokotas like rasberry and mountain ash, which are both plentiful up there. It will also be interesting to see what they think of the numerous stands of brunrör (Calamagrostis purpurea) in the wet spots, as it is so early growing and already about 5 cm tall, and last year they seemed to like it early… but lots more for me to learn and the best way to do that is to get out there, so best and thank you for sharing, i am curious to hear more about the Fjäringar and am sure they would have much rich knowledge to share about grazing after a long history living by the land 🙂

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