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Appropriate Pasture for Minis (and Maybe a Goat)

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  • Appropriate Pasture for Minis (and Maybe a Goat)

    I have a 1/2 acre yard. Not huge, but my house is tiny and only takes up an 18'x33' foot print. Then there's the 2 car detached garage. Problem is, I HATE - LOATHE - DESPISE - lawn cutting. I can't stand it. I have thick grass and have often thought that either I can buy a robomower, pray for an army worm infestation to eat all the grass or get a pair of small minis and possibly a dwarf goat (or two).

    The area that I would be fencing in would be about half the yard - so a quarter acre. There would be the side yard which is about 70x100 and the area behind the garage which is probably 30x50. I would extend the fencing all the way around the house and have the other quarter acre available to them as well. My truck is too big for the garage so I never park in there so I would set up their stalls in there.

    Would this be a suitable set up? The only real experience I had with minis is with the ancient old rescue who was actually probably an inch too tall to be considered a "real" mini but he was little compared to the draft horses. He had cushings and old founder on his fronts. We rehabbed him and had 7 wonderful years before the cushings affected his immune system to the point where he could no longer fight off any infections. I'd want another oldie or a rescue. Something that just needs a soft spot to land.

  • #2
    Be careful: minis and goats won't make your field look like a lawn! I have both, and they leave the poisonous plants alone which means my verdant meadow is now a buttercup sanctuary. It still requires mowing.

    That said, I think you should get a mini and a goat (or two of each) for companionship. They can't be beat, and your setup sounds great.
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives


    • Original Poster

      The lawn actually - surprisingly - doesn't have a lot of weeds. It's thick, dark green, lush grass. Which I know I'd probably have to muzzle the ponies because I'm sure it would be a recipe for founder. If I didn't have to fight to try to get the mower through super thick grass and only have to cut down weeds - fine by me.

      I'm a goat virgin so correct me if I'm wrong - could I put the goaties out on the pasture first to have them eat it down a bit before putting the ponies on it? Would this be a problem for the goats? Are they prone to any health problems from eating too rich grass?


      • #4
        Goats and horses are both "selective browsers", so you'll end up with a pasture effect--low, overgrazed spots, and long "potty" grass spots, and weeds...believe me, you'll have weeds...so completely eliminating mowing is not going to happen. In fact, mowing your new paddocks will be required to control grass and weeds.

        Also, you'll need to pick manure daily in such small spaces.

        Oh, and if you're in a muddy climate, a sacrifice paddock connected to the garage would be ideal--a gravel dry lot.

        But..hey, don't let that stop you from acquiring a herd of small grazers!!
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #5
          We used to live in the middle of Portland, Oregon, on a 1/2 acre and kept first a mini and a goat, then 2 minis. We had a dry lot fenced within the back yard, but also a perimeter fence, so we let the horses out to "mow" the lawn.

          They did a good job, but I'm not into the All-American green swath of lawn, so I couldn't care less if they left bare patches -- which they occasionally did.

          I did care if they chewed on my heirloom roses, and believe me, they knew it. If I were gardening instead of doting on Mingus, he'd walk up to a rose and look back at me. If I didn't react properly, he'd take the plant in his mouth. By then I'd react, so I never really knew what he'd do next -- he had me well-trained.

          They had room to romp in the dry lot and on the lawn, but we also walked them daily up the volcano -- a city park that was out our back gate. Since a 1/2 acre lot doesn't mean a 1/2 acre for the horse(s), you have to make certain they get a workout.

          The goat was not a good idea in town, since we had fenced for small horses and not goats. He was always going under the fence and getting in the garden, and being buddy-bound was the only thing that kept him home.
          They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

          Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth


          • #6
            Originally posted by Snowflake View Post
            The lawn actually - surprisingly - doesn't have a lot of weeds. It's thick, dark green, lush grass. Which I know I'd probably have to muzzle the ponies because I'm sure it would be a recipe for founder. If I didn't have to fight to try to get the mower through super thick grass and only have to cut down weeds - fine by me.

            I'm a goat virgin so correct me if I'm wrong - could I put the goaties out on the pasture first to have them eat it down a bit before putting the ponies on it? Would this be a problem for the goats? Are they prone to any health problems from eating too rich grass?
            Goats are more browsers than grazers if given the choice. So if you have any trees, shrubs etc.. within reach they will go to that first. I have a small herd of goats ( 14) and they are not on a overly big field either and they managed to have that grazed really short by fall, so yes they do eat grass. Unlike the ponies you could most likely leave them out all the time but I would always have some hay available for them to eat also.


            • #7
              When I had my 2 minis and a goat at my parent's 1.5 acre place, I had them all on a roundpen-size drylot, and let them out to graze for a few hours a day in their pasture that was somewhere around 1/4 acre. The pasture area was mowed before we fenced it in, and the horses managed to keep the grass down fairly well without getting too chubby- but there were some areas they refused to eat, and others they nibbled down to the ground- but it wasn't difficult to mow the long areas every few weeks (much better than having to mow the whole area all the time!). I miss having them in my backyard! It was a really nice setup for them.