Saturday, August 10, 2013

Releasing The Flerd

I have been asked why this particular combination  of animals, and why combine them at all. The reason behind these species is that they just happen to be on this ranch. There are also getting to be more ranches which deal in exotic species rather than cattle or other livestock normally raised on ranches. While the numbers are not high enough to get a lot of animal impact (especially when the pastures are 1,000 acres or larger.) The intent of this experiment is to show that flerds consisting of exotic animals (or a mix of exotic and "normal" livestock) can be herded through a holistic grazing plan. The animal impact will be a bit different as they will spread out more with each species in their own group, but will still have control on which pastures they will graze and when they will graze them.

This week the burros were trapped in a pen and added to the flerd. I put the burros in a pen by themselves and just sat there for a bit, Then I positioned myself so the burros would go past me. The first few times they went pretty fast. By the fourth or fifth time they figured out they weren't being chased and slowed down to a walk. I worked them around me a few times and when they got to the point I could stop them easily, I turned them out with the rest of the flerd.

By Friday everything in the pens was getting along fairly well. On Friday I turned the flerd out into a small trap of several hundred acres. I held the burros back and let them out of the pen last, rode past them to the longhorns in the lead, and turned them back to have everything grazing across the west side of the trap. Once I got them headed the way I wanted I went back and bumped the burros a little farther from the gate, stopped them and rode off. I had a bad video week (capped off by closing the lens cover  as I was letting them out) so I don't have any video this week. On Sunday I will be moving them around the trap, and turning them into an adjacent pasture on Monday. It will be interesting to see how far apart the various species stay from each other, and how putting them together and moving them as a group will work (or if I'll have to move each species as a separate group.) Hopefully I'll have some decent video next week, but in the meantime, enjoy these pictures.

 The above picture shows just how much the burros have settled down. When they were first turned in they refused to allow a lama or alpaca to get close to them.
This is definitely a mismatch, but this alpaca doesn't seem to notice the size difference.

     Here is the flerd after I turned them out. The burros had stopped just outside the gate and I moved them about fifty yards then stopped them. It will be interesting to see how well everything moves together when I turn them out in the pasture this week. Hopefully I'll get some usable video!

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