09/15/2011: "Preparing Horse & Livestock for Winter"
(SJI Conservation District photo)
Now is the time to be planning for the winter months. Tackle the hassle by making your property as chore-efficient as possible. Here are some ideas to better prepare for the upcoming winter months. FREE workshop Sunday, (9-25-11)10am-3pm at Blazing Tree Ranch on San Juan Island.
Some of the things you will learn:
Buy your winter supply of hay-
Be sure to look for green, leafy, fresh-smelling hay without mold, weeds, dust or discoloration. For example nutritional recommendations are that a horse should receive 2% of its body weight in hay (or forage) per day. For the "average" 1,000-pound horse with moderate exercise, that will be about 20 pounds of hay per day or about 600 pounds of hay per month. Since hay is usually sold in bulk by the ton (2,000 pounds), one ton of hay will last about three and 1/3 months per average-sized horse. So, do the math to determine how many tons of hay you'll need for the winter.
Bring your livestock & horses in off your pastures-
If you're lucky enough to have pasture, now is the time to baby it. Pastures grazed too closely will be subject to winter damage. It's best if you allow the grass plants to produce a good amount of leaf growth for winter protection--at least four inches. A good option for managing your animals during this time is to create a winter paddock or sacrifice area. Confine your animals to this area during the winter and in the summer when pastures become overgrazed.
Bring in footing material for paddocks, confinement areas and other high-traffic areas-
Now is the time to think about getting hogfuel (chipped wood), gravel (1/2 to 5/8 inch crushed rock) or sand (coarse washed) needed for footing in sacrifice areas, paddocks, walkways, and in front of gates. Remember it is much easier for trucks to back into paddocks and drive through pastures rather than once these areas have become slick or muddy.
Plus many more tips ...For more information go to www.horsesforcleanwater.com or to our website www.sanjuanislandscd.org
Sponsored by the San Juan Islands Conservation District and Horses for Clean Water. Made possible by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.