Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

HOMEGROWN Life: A Bit Of ATreat

2/10/2012 12:00:30 PM

Tags: goats, grass, orchardgrass, pasture, seed, rye, clovers, alfalfa, paitue, Farm Aid and


Our goat yard is in the shape of an L. This fall, while the chickens were still living with the goats, we had decided to fence off the leg and seed it with pasture seed. I wasn't sure if we should seed it for the chickens or for the goats. After doing some research we ended up going with a dairy pasture seed which was safe for both the goats and the chickens.


The dairy pasture seed is made up of orchardgrass and various rye grasses and clovers. It's high in protein, stimulates milk production, and recovers quickly, which is important on such a small area. The plan was to just allow the animals on it for short periods of time as a supplement to their normal diet. They would be able to mow the grass and then we would allow it to replenish

In addition, I also purchased more  alfalfa and  orchardgrass seed for the orchard area. Last year we planted  some to see how it would do. Overall we were happy with it because it didn't require supplemental irrigation and it's perennial. This time, though, I went with Paiute Orchardgrass because it's better adapted to heavier soils like ours and thrives with less water than the  standard orchardgrass.

To plant the pasture grass we loosened up the soil and hand seeded the area. We then took pieces of plywood, systematically put them down and walked on them to help tamp down the seed so that there was good seed to soil contact. We then gently watered the area.


After our much overdue rains recently our seeded area took off. Up until then I had been having to hand water it once a week to keep it alive. The majority of the grass had gotten about a foot high so tonight I decided to let the girls have a little treat. Not too much because I didn't want to upset their rumen with this new forage.

Sedona, our country girl who used to live on pasture knew exactly what to do. She almost immediately started chowing down. Bella and Daisy, our two ghetto goats, took a bit longer to warm up to the idea. Daisy, who is now buddies with Sedona, was more willing to follow Sedona's lead than Bella was, but eventually even Bella started grazing a bit.

The didn't get to spend too much time on the grass as we had to get milking, but I was happy to see that they did like the fresh forage.



 My friends in college used to call me a Renaissance woman. I was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. I still am. My focus these days, instead of arts and crafts, has been farming as much of my urban quarter acre as humanly possible. With my husband, we run Dog Island Farm in the SF Bay Area. We raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. We’re always keeping busy. If I’m not out in the yard I’m in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better! 

Related Content

Homesteading Tips: Caring For Goats, Using Herbs and More

One homesteader shares his advice for keeping goats healthy and treating scours, crafting herbal rem...

The Benefits of Dairy Goats

Owning and raising dairy goats can allow you to produce an ample amount of resources for your homest...

Interview with the World's Best Weed Eater

If your back yard or pasture has a weed problem, you may be happy to know that there's an effective,...

My First Time as a Bovine OB

First time assisting in a bovine malpresentation, out in the pasture, surrounded by the herd

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.