Multi-Species Grazing: Horses and Cows and Goats, Oh My!

A handful of horses graze in a pasture one week; a herd of goats mow down its bushes and weeds the next. This multi-species rotational grazing system has its advantages, but whether they outweigh the disadvantages will depend on your situation, purposes, climate, and forage growth.
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Grazing cattle or goats in rotation with horses can be beneficial if you have the time and resources to manage the process.

A handful of horses graze in a pasture one week; a herd of goats mow down its bushes and weeds the next. This multi-species rotational grazing system has its advantages, but whether they outweigh the disadvantages will depend on your situation, purposes, climate, and forage growth.

Advantages of grazing multiple species on land over grazing horses alone include more efficient plant use, better weed and brush control, improved natural parasite control, and more income per acre if you farm for a living and can accommodate more animals on your pastures. Disadvantages include possible disease transmission from one species to another and the need for more facilities, labor, and management

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Written by:

Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses and Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at https://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

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