Changing the Landscape of Windy Woods

July 10, 2015

The pace of life here in Windy Woods has really picked up.

As anyone who's been keeping up knows, the children who are in 4H have all gotten their animals now, and they have been integrated with the rest of the livestock.

wandering livestock

The Windy Woods flerd wanders free (except Selh'teus) as we move the pen.

The 256 sq. ft. pen needs to be moved approximately every 2 days.  This has the effect of clearing the brush, blackberry bramble, sweetfern (which isn't really a fern), and fiddle fern.  With Selh'teus in the mix now, any grass also gets mowed quite nicely too.

Lastly, we move the chickens into the area several days after moving the flerd (flock + herd) out to break the parasite chain for future grazing of the pasture by consuming and scratching through what the flerd left.

This method is modeled on intensive grazing practices we read about as we were thinking about and planning our adventures here in Windy Woods.

I've taken a few pictures to share here that I hope will give you some idea of what this looks like over time.

8z4qZJd4rRjyZyOE.jpgIt has already started dramatically changing the landscape of Windy Woods.  The area in the above picture was all brush and bramble three years ago when we moved in.  We only brought Bella and Clover home a little over a year ago, and had done no real brush clearing prior to that.  We originally moved the chickens through the already lawn like areas of our land, not attempting to clear new pasture for them.  Now our other livestock does the job of clearing the major brush and bramble, and the chickens are the cleanup crew, and I was truly surprised at how lush and green the area that the chickens had laid waste to has become. That's better looking lawn than we have in our “yard”.

freshly moved penI took this picture of the pen shortly after the kids and I moved it to its latest grid, but before we moved the flerd in. We like to include a shade tree if possible in the pen area, Selh'teus much prefers to stay outside the shelter, even when (maybe even especially when) it rains,  I know it certainly makes his fur soft. But he's smart enough to get out of the hot sun and will use the shelter to do so if there isn't a tree to roll under.

We're currently moving it down a path cut by the previous owners snow plowing activities, so there's a small road width that has already had its brush removed, but you can see there are still plenty of brambles for the goats to eat.

previous shelterThis is where the pen just was, the most beat down and bare spot is where the shelter was.  It looks pretty bare and bedraggled, but this is precisely what we're going for.  Not completely stripped, just really beat up and tramped down.

recently vacated grid

recently vacated gridA couple more recently vacated grids.

chicken pastureAnd here's what a couple of grids look like after the chickens have been at them for a few days.  As you can see, the pretty much take most of the whats left and demolish it.  Good job ladies.

More to come!



Scott Burgess

About the Author

Scott Burgess

Husband, father, Database Admin, Query Ninja, Excel Trainer, Word Pro, Computer Programmer, Customer Happiness Consultant, Farmer, Carpenter, but definitely not handy.

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Sherry Arp

I love looking at and reading your stories. Looks like lots of work but also lots of fun.

    Scott Burgess

    Thanks Sherry!

    I really need to write more often, need the practice.

    We’ve gotten better at moving the goat pen actually, I believe back when I wrote this we were still using corner posts. These days we only use the t-posts and carabiners. I should write that up too, as it’s a much faster method, but still secure enough to keep the goats in. Well, the adult goats, the kids slip right through the cattle panels. Goat panels are just so expensive compared to cattle panels.

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