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View Full Version : Re-claiming an old pasture.



Laurierace
Aug. 2, 2010, 02:16 PM
I am trying to get an old pasture set up so that I can put my two weanling colts in it. The shelter is the backside of a bank barn. It has a doorway that is as big as a stall opening. I would estimate the shelter to be around 12X20 so it should be plenty big enough for the two babies and a babysitter. The floor is covered with very old manure (at least 6 years old) that had broken down to the point that it looks like dark sawdust. I spread it around to even it out but I think I am going to leave most of it for cushion. There was not a single fly in there. Sound ok?
My biggest concern is the tree in the middle of the pasture. Its obviously a walnut tree but I don't know what type. Its at least six feet around at the base so it wouldn't be an easy task to get rid of it. If we cut it down it would crush the fence. If we hire someone to cut it down it would negate the savings I hope to have by putting my foals on pasture board in the first place. As would a huge vet bill obviously. Are there some types of walnut trees that are safe? I should add the trainer who has been stabled there for over 20 years says there have been horses in that field for over 50 years until recently and he never heard of anybody having a problem. It would be just my luck though...

Laurierace
Aug. 2, 2010, 02:32 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot this question. The grass/weeds was over five feet high so I had them mow it for me. In some spots the cut grass/weeds is pretty thick like you could probably rake it and bale it. How long does that have to dry or cure or whatever it is that cut grass does before its safe for them to eat it? Raking it up is not an option, there is tons of it. There are plenty of places where the cut grass is not piled up but I don't know if you can trust them to eat there and not eat the cut stuff.

shakeytails
Aug. 2, 2010, 03:28 PM
Walnut is only bad when it's in your shavings- the trees won't hurt anything. If you're worried about it fence off the tree.

I mow crap, including tall weeds, all the time with horses in the pasture. As long as they're not starving, they won't eat icky stuff. They usually won't eat where I've mowed weeds for several days until the grass starts re-growing.

Laurierace
Aug. 2, 2010, 07:02 PM
Well that sounds comforting. Glad to hear I was worried about nothing! I only have a couple of sections of fence to fix and then they are good to go I guess. Great news!

Chaila
Aug. 2, 2010, 07:15 PM
If it's a black walnut the wood is worth BIG Bucks. A black walnut with a six foot diameter trunk is worth about 30 or 40 k in wood.

If you don't like the tree and don't care if you cut it down, I'd check out what the wood is worth.

Laurierace
Aug. 2, 2010, 08:10 PM
The tree in the pasture is mostly dead. If I understand correctly the sawdust is the dangerous part so cutting it down would make the pasture unusable. Right There is a young, healthy three with tons of leaves overhanging the pasture. That one worrid me the most. Thanks again for the input.

ReSomething
Aug. 3, 2010, 08:48 AM
It's always something - if the tree in the pasture is mostly dead then there is the possibility that part of it will fall in a windstorm. There was a big black walnut over the run in shed on my place that came down the year before I bought and banged up the roof on the run in pretty good, it was over 3 foot in diameter but the center was completely rotted out.

Horses can move, we have another dying tree down the hill and they get to use it as a scratching post. I figure that they get killed even if you take out, fill, bury cover and pad every possible source of injury. Just make sure you get rid of big metal parts, wire, and septics and wells that might be out there for them to fall into.

vineyridge
Aug. 3, 2010, 08:53 AM
I've got a black walnut tree in my pasture. Hasn't caused any problems for any of mine. I wouldn't plant one, but since I have a nice old one, it stays.

Buy some Pasture Pro from Tractor supply, which is 2,4-D, cheap and good on weeds. Once you burn them back, keep mowing and next year will be better for you.

What I HATE are prickly weeds--Palmer pigweed--, but pigweed is actually quite edible for horses.

carolprudm
Aug. 3, 2010, 09:59 AM
A few goats will eat many weeds that horses won't touch

WildBlue
Aug. 3, 2010, 12:05 PM
Regarding the first part, there's actually a stall management technique where old, dry manure is left in place as a base. As long as it doesn't get waterlogged and the ventilation is good, it wouldn't be high on my list of worries. Eventually, you'll probably want a bobcat to come in and clean it out (at which point, you'll have a gazillion people begging to take it for gardens).

I'd be most concerned about having a single 3-4 ft doorway in a run-in shelter. It's not unusual for two horses to try to exit at once (particularly if the alpha horse is chasing them out) and get hurt. It's also not unusual for the alpha to park him- or herself in the door and not let the others in or out. I like to have a big opening at either end so there's an escape route or for one side to be a huge doorway.

I agree with the advice to just keep mowing frequently and maybe use a broadleaf weed killer like pasture pro. Horses will pick through and eat the good stuff first. Just walk the paddock frequently to keep an eye on how eaten down the grass in the non-bathroom part of the field looks and adjust how much hay you feed accordingly.

AnotherRound
Aug. 3, 2010, 12:22 PM
Regarding the first part, there's actually a stall management technique where old, dry manure is left in place as a base. As long as it doesn't get waterlogged and the ventilation is good, it wouldn't be high on my list of worries. Eventually, you'll probably want a bobcat to come in and clean it out (at which point, you'll have a gazillion people begging to take it for gardens).

I'd be most concerned about having a single 3-4 ft doorway in a run-in shelter. It's not unusual for two horses to try to exit at once (particularly if the alpha horse is chasing them out) and get hurt. It's also not unusual for the alpha to park him- or herself in the door and not let the others in or out. I like to have a big opening at either end so there's an escape route or for one side to be a huge doorway.

I agree with the advice to just keep mowing frequently and maybe use a broadleaf weed killer like pasture pro. Horses will pick through and eat the good stuff first. Just walk the paddock frequently to keep an eye on how eaten down the grass in the non-bathroom part of the field looks and adjust how much hay you feed accordingly.

Interesting about pasture pro - how do you use it and how toxic is it for horses for how long? When can you let them back out again? Is this something which you apply, let kill, mow the die off? What if you don't put horses on it, then after you pasture pro it, you mow it, then turn it under and plant rye or green manure for the winter? Have you kilt off the weeds and their roots? Will the rye grass grow ok, and if so after how long after the pasture pro app?

ToiRider
Aug. 3, 2010, 12:33 PM
If it's a black walnut the wood is worth BIG Bucks. A black walnut with a six foot diameter trunk is worth about 30 or 40 k in wood.

If you don't like the tree and don't care if you cut it down, I'd check out what the wood is worth.

Well, I got excited because I have a few HUGE walnut trees in my pasture I was ready to sell down the river if they would buy me a new truck (even though I am a bit of a tree hugger). Unfortunately, the odds of having a valuable walnut tree are slim. Here is a good article on the topic: http://ohioline.osu.edu/for-fact/0044.html

Sigh, for a moment there I was envisioning camping with my new truck and new living quarters trailer ...

Laurierace
Aug. 3, 2010, 02:00 PM
Regarding the first part, there's actually a stall management technique where old, dry manure is left in place as a base. As long as it doesn't get waterlogged and the ventilation is good, it wouldn't be high on my list of worries. Eventually, you'll probably want a bobcat to come in and clean it out (at which point, you'll have a gazillion people begging to take it for gardens).

I'd be most concerned about having a single 3-4 ft doorway in a run-in shelter. It's not unusual for two horses to try to exit at once (particularly if the alpha horse is chasing them out) and get hurt. It's also not unusual for the alpha to park him- or herself in the door and not let the others in or out. I like to have a big opening at either end so there's an escape route or for one side to be a huge doorway.

I agree with the advice to just keep mowing frequently and maybe use a broadleaf weed killer like pasture pro. Horses will pick through and eat the good stuff first. Just walk the paddock frequently to keep an eye on how eaten down the grass in the non-bathroom part of the field looks and adjust how much hay you feed accordingly.
I agree with you about the doorway but there is nothing I can do about that. Its concrete block. They will just have to be careful As you can see, they get along pretty well.

DiablosHalo
Aug. 3, 2010, 03:45 PM
OMG Laurie- the boys are adorable!!!

I would not worry about the tree- if there is enough grass out there- they won't bother eating the bark, etc. Of course don't be surprised if it becomes their rubbing block!

Grass- they will push their noses through the mowed grass to eat the new shoots that are growing. Keep it mowed to keep any of the weeds from going to seed- that is the best thing and least expensive to do!

I think you'll be just fine without much worry!

anchodavis
Aug. 4, 2010, 11:46 AM
I've boarded at several places with walnuts trees in or around the pasture - I was worried at first but there's never been an issue in any place and I talked to a lot of people I knew to find out when I moved into the first one. I would take the precaution of fencing off a little ring around the tree just to keep them from chewing on the bark and to protect the base of the tree and the roots. but otherwise it sounds like a nice shade tree - don't cut it down!! :)
In the next 9 months or so I hope to fence our back 8 acres and there are several walnut trees back there. I plan to leave 'em to it!

chance2jump
Aug. 6, 2010, 10:24 AM
Pasture Pro --

I've used this a lot this year reclaiming our pasture. Per the label, you can let them back out after 1 hour after spraying. It takes out the weeds and leaves the grass alone, and it is safe for livestock. We spot sprayed as needed and let things wilt and die off in April and the pasture was brush hogged once in June. Now, those areas are dense grass and we didn't clean up the weeds, just let the grass take over. You purchase the gallon concentrate, mix per directions, and then spray with a hand sprayer or mix for larger quantity in a field sprayer. It works QUICK kills from the top down to the root. It took out every weed we wanted gone including poison ivy - and none of those weeds have returned thus far.

Laurierace
Aug. 22, 2010, 07:25 PM
I looked a few places for pasture pro but had no luck. I moved my babies to their new field today. They were so happy with the grass that they felt no need to come to their feeders for grain. That wouldn't be a problem normally but one is on antibiotics so I guess he will have to be dosed. They sure seemed happy.

fivehorses
Aug. 22, 2010, 10:20 PM
was it mowed with a mulch mower or sickle mower. A mulch mower(rotary cutters) will leave chopped up leaf, where a sickle will leave a more long leaf.

I'd want a mulch mower to cut, and new grass will shoot up.
Is there anyway you can get in there again to mulch up this cutting?

The boys certainly are cute. As far as the run in, my only concern would be dust from the left over manure.

good luck in your decision.

I know nothing about the walnut trees except to stay away from shavings with black walnut.