All types of livestock can benefit from the fresh forages and sunshine of a well-maintained pasture. However, not all types of livestock interact with pastures in the same way. Each species was created to fill a different ecological niche, and this purpose affects their grazing behavior and subsequently the impact that they have on different forage species.
This series addresses the grazing management required to successfully raise each common livestock species on pasture. It covers aspects such as the following:
- Ecological niche. Is the animal a true grazer or more of a browser? What native wildlife species serve equivalent roles in the ecosystem?
- Grazing behavior. How does the animal grab and chew forage? Is it selective in its grazing choices? What other impacts does it have on pastures? Does it have a strong grouping instinct?
- Nutritional needs. How many animal unit equivalents is one species member? What body condition score should be maintained during various times of the year?
- System selection. What are the pros and cons of the various grazing systems used with this species, such as continuous, rotational, or management-intensive grazing systems?
- System design. What are the water and mineral needs of this animal? What type of fences will best contain it? What type of shelter is required? Are additional handling facilities required?
- Special considerations. How does the animal interact with other livestock species? Does it have the potential to damage pastures in unexpected ways? Are certain types of genetics better suited to grazing than others?
The following posts cover cattle, equines, swine, sheep, goats, and poultry.