Saturday, August 29, 2009

Now on Twitter!

You can follow the Oak Hill fainting goats at

Also, the rehabilitation, health maintenance and performance enhancement business Horses, Humans & Healing is on Twitter at

Watch for posts on the blog next week on pasture nutrition at

Update on Poco, Ben and Pony-Pony, my geriatric horses:

After the visit from our fantastic new equine dentist Krystin the horses are improving rapidly. Ben's weight is almost normal now, with little change in his diet. Weight tape estimates he has gained 50 pounds. Pony-Pony is chewing better, and interestingly, moving around much better. She has suddenly self-trimmed her hooves to a perfect length and angle. She is still on the thin side, although gaining weight daily. You may remember Poco was too fragile to be tranquilized for dental work that day. I have increased his hay pellets to about 25 pounds daily, and he is putting on weight. I use Standlee timothy or orchardgrass pellets, and just a pound of alfalfa pellets per day. Standlee makes excellent, clean hay pellets. I vary Poco's pellet mixture each meal to keep it interesting, and feed him 3 to 4 times per day. I've also started offering him Dynamite DynaSpark and his hydration is much improved. I'm excited to have Krystin return and do what she can with his remaining teeth. I expect I'll be back riding Poco and Ben by the end of September if they continue improving this way. Of course all the oldies get their Dynamite DynaPro to keep their digestion optimal. I really prefer the DynaPro as it is a prebiotic. The DynaPro provides the nutrients the gut bacteria prefer, and the correct pH, and the bacteria repopulate themselves. Regular probiotics just keep adding gut bacteria into an inhospitable gut, where they go dormant. You can read more about the Dynamite products at

Until next post, be well and happy!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

updates on Dynamite fertilizers

I took baseline soil samples in 2007. After that, green manure was applied (actually, the horses and goats applied the manure by pooping in the fields)
In 2009, I took more samples in the middle pasture.
Then I applied a combination of Dynamite Prescription Treatment for Soils & Crops and the Dynamite CCF (growth accelerant)
Below are the test results:

Nutrient2007Pre fert/CCFPost fert/CCF
Nitrogen (N)ppm
Phosphorus (P)ppm12.029.044.0
Potassium (K)ppm487.01073.0939.0
Magnesium (Mg)ppm325.0274.0299.0
Calcium (Ca)ppm1818.02803.03208.0
Zinc ppm2.42.93.6
Copper ppm5.37.86.8
Sulfur ppm20.121.421.0

The soil in pastures is alive with various organisms, including the forage or crop growing on/in it. The biological processes of this system are very similar to human or animal bodies. I found it fascinating that the pH of the soil became more alkaline, just as it would in a healthy body as it became increasingly mineralized.
Also, the calcium levels in the soil came up dramatically without the additional of any lime. I also bypassed the testing service recommendation to add phosphorus and nitrogen.
The high potassium levels appear to be due to the large applications of manure. In humans, a sodium deficiency causes potassium to leave the cells and become extracellular. A similar dynamic exists in soils. The future addition of sodium should cause the soil organisms to pick up the extra potassium.
Conventional soil advice is to add magnesium to offset the potassium levels. However, magnesium can harden the soils.
I just applied more Prescription Treatment and added 2 pounds/acre of Dynamite Natural Trace Mineral Salt. In a couple weeks I'll have another soil test to see if this reduced the potassium levels.

Found links to some interesting testimonials about Dynamite's other fertilizers, HumiZyme and HumiZyme Plus.
Shows regrowth after mowing
Shows root development after planting
Shows increased hay yield. 3 tons off a 2 acre field.

Also, has some interesting information about seawater-based fertilizer. I prefer to use the Dynamite brand and add NTM salt, to avoid possible heavy metal pollutants in the ocean. There are lots of great links on this website, and information about how seawater works on soil.

Wachters sells seaweed-based fertilizer that can also be used to bring up sodium and iodine levels in soils. How To Interpret A Soil Test by Steve Frack. This is a fairly conventional discussion with good descriptions of the various components of a soil test.

My goal for the pastures is triple or quadruple yield of mixed grasses/legumes/weeds to feed both the horses and the goats with maximum balanced mineral content. I will be able to feed less hay and supplements, and also minimize sugar risk for the horses.

Until next post, may your soils thrive!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

new post at Quercus Knoll about fencing

Just posted at about fencing and fence chargers/controllers.

Updated! Fencing & Fence Chargers

As I'm shopping for fencing for the runways, and also am replacing the fence charger, this seemed a timely topic.
There are four types of fences at Oak Hill:
The perimeter pasture/runway fence is permanent and must keep the horses on the property when they are in the runways. This fence does not have to contain the goats, as the goats don't graze the runways.
The fence that separates the runways from the pastures as well as divides the pastures must be horse and goat proof. The goats are not allowed in the runways, as they faint when startled and could get trampled by a horse by accident.
The third type of fence surrounds the goat pens and must be goat and predator proof.
The fourth type of fence encloses the horse corrals.

I chose electric fencing for the perimeter. Board fence was higher maintenance, and also outside my planned spending. I researched various types of electric fence and decided that HorseGuard sounded like my best option. HorseGuard makes a 1 1/2" tape fence with stainless steel wires. The fencing held up well in tests for weathering and high winds, is highly visible to the horses, and will break if a horse gets seriously tangled up, while withstanding lesser impacts without damage. I've had this fencing up for at least 6 years now. I've had trees fall on the fence, trucks drive over it, had lightening strikes, high winds - the fence still looks as good as the day I installed it and carries a charge well. I had one small section loose all it's wires and terminals from a direct lightening hit. I'm using a 3 strands, with the top set at 4 feet.

For the inner fence that creates the runways and divides the pastures, I've used some less expensive electric tape fence that is 1" wide at the top and twisted plastic and wire for the lower strands. I've noticed that this less expensive fencing stretches much easier than the HorseGuard and is already sagging in spots. I've set the inner fence at the same 4 foot height, and the 3 lower strands at 9", 18" and 24" above the ground to contain the goats and livestock dog.

The fence charger or controller is a critical part of any electric fence system. Here are some good websites I found during my research. 17 Mistakes To Avoid With Electric Fencing by Wayne Burleson The article focuses on electric high tensile. However, many of the suggestions are useful for tape fencing.

Useful charts from Zareba that give fencing calculators and  joules, number of ground rods and effective distance for various chargers. Zareba manufactures electric fence systems, including chargers.

Besides looking for the appropriate voltage and joules, I suggest looking for a charger with fuses you can change yourself and lightening protection. I'm also looking for at least 5 joules, to prevent voltage drop if the line touches vegetation, and also at least 4000 volts on the fenceline to handle goats, stubborn shaggy ponies and livestock guardian dogs. I've used a number of chargers over the years. I've tripled the fencing I need to charge, and added goats, so I'm shopping for a new charger that can handle the increased load. So far I like the Dare for it's all-weather construction and easy-to-service modular circuitry.

The goat pen fencing is 4 foot welded wire, and I'm adding electric tape 6" above the ground and along the top as predator deterrant.

The horse corrals are wooden board (oak) with locust posts. I chose wood to have a fence that would withstand pressure from confined horses and work even during extended power outages.

Until next time, happy fencing!


PS - the horses aren't the only critters enjoying the runways and woods corral...

This wild turkey came strolling down the new runway and into the woods corral the other day.

Oak Hill Fainting Goats update

It's been a while since I posted an update on the fainting goats. Here are a few video clips. This first video is of Chryssy. She joined our herd early this summer, and is hopefully due to kid in August. She has taken a liking to the small doghouse I put out for the kids to play in. Watching her squeeze in and out is something...

Here's some video of some of the breeding stock, as well as our black and white neutered male Guy.

Harley and Chickadee share a feed tub. This involves a bit of head butting...