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Farming for Dummies
Farming for Dummies
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Commenced:
01/06/2012
Submitted:
15/06/2012
Last updated:
07/10/2015
Location:
Parkes, NSW, AU
Climate zone:
Mediterranean





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Farming for Dummies

Farming for Dummies

Parkes, AU


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Horses

Project: Farming for Dummies

Posted by Alexandra Berendt over 10 years ago

I spend a lot of time with them and my main reason for buying acreage was to enable me to keep my horses at home. Here they are.

Horses are what I love.

Every day I spend many hours with my horses. Not just riding. It is not all about riding. I do enjoy it, don't get me wrong, horses are an expensive hobby to have and I do enjoy riding, driving and generally working them, but I also like just being around them.

Pony Club 2012

A lot of time is spent grooming, rugging on and off, collecting manure, moving paddocks around, filling up water, cleaning gear, buckets and the float and generally horsing around.

Pinkie

I only have two horses. Really, they are not very economical to own. They are not generally used for meat or milk in Australia, and I don't personally know anybody who actually uses them to farm and even if anyone did, cattle would be far more beneficial, since they can also produce milk and meat as well as work. They eat A LOT and do not use their food as well as many other types of lifestock.

My Horses

A horse will need to eat about 1-1.5% of its own weight in roughage (dry feed such as hay) PER DAY. If the fodder is of poor quality, they may need more. This means, a 500 kg horse will eat more than 5kg of hay per day. That is a lot of hay. That is at least 35 kg of hay per week. That is at least 1.8 metrical tonnes of hay per year.

Riding Pinkie at home

I have two such hay burners and my property does not have good enough pasture quality to sustain them. Sometimes they need to be handfed for weeks at a time because a lot of rain means the soil is more vulnerable to erosion and being stomped bare by a pair of horses. During those times I need to feed each of my horses about half a (small) bale of lucerne hay a day. Each bale costs $10. That is $10 a day to just feed two horses.

Pony Club 2012

Lucky I like them so much. 

My HorsesHowever, my goal is to grow most of what they need to eat on this place within a few years. To achieve this I will need to grow fodder trees and shrubs and improve my pasture (or rather, my soil) to a level where it will grow nutritious pasture on a large enough area to enable me to rotate pastures sustainably.

Pinkie

I may have a go at growing some grain to use as hard feed so I do not need to buy large quantities of commerical pellets any more, however I still need to learn a lot before I can make any of these changes.

Squirt

Not every kind of grain is good for horses and too much of any kind can be dangerous. A lot of research is also still to be done to determine the best fodder trees and shrubs for horses, since most efforts in this area are concentrated on cattle and sheep, which are not only ruminants and thus much more effective at extracting nutrition from their food, but who are also better able to tolerate some chemicals which may cause poisoning in horses.

My Horses

On a positive note, they definately poop a lot, which gives me plenty of composting material to help improve soil fertility.

2012 Dubbo Show

In any case, these critters are the reason I started becoming interested in permaculture in the first place and they are definately worth the time and effort I spend on this project!  

2012 Dubbo Show

2012 Yeoval Show

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