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Wormy Paddocks

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early4lunch View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 Mar 2014 at 12:53pm
How long do people like to leave a paddock empty to break a worm cycle. 
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The Insider View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Insider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2014 at 6:54pm
60 days is plenty
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lyleplumb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote lyleplumb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2014 at 6:58pm
Manage the worm challenge on the pasture


In the wild, horses used to roam freely over thousands of acres, with continuous access to clean and fresh pasture. Worms and horses evolved together in this environment,developing a relatively healthy balance to maintain both populations. As most horses are now domesticated, it is usual to keep them on more restricted grazing, where they have limited opportunity to move onto cleaner pasture. This exposes them to worm re-infection at a much greater level, upsetting the balance of the horse/worm dynamic.

Our job as horse owners is to re-establish this balance by controlling the amount of worms our horses are exposed to, helping to keep our horses healthy and able to perform to the best of their ability. Breaking the lifecycle of the parasites using the tools at our disposal reduces the amount of worm challenge our horses face. An essential part of breaking the cycle is reducing the number of worms on the pasture our horses graze, keeping the re-infection challenge to a minimum. In turn, managing the pasture can also reduce our reliance on wormers, reducing the drive for wormer resistance.

The roundworm life cycle (with tapeworm variations)


Principles of pasture management

It may not be possible do everything listed below in your situation, but the more you can do, the more it will help to control your horse's worm burden.

Regularly remove horse droppings from your pasture
Eggs are passed in the dung, where they develop into larvae and contaminate the pasture. Try to poo pick at least twice weekly in the grazing season, and once a week from November to March.

Graze the pasture with cattle or sheep
Most worms are host-specific - they don't survive in other species. Cross grazing with Sheep and cattle, is effective at reducing horse parasite burden on the pasture.

Rest the pasture
Try to rest the pasture for at least three months for a significant reduction in pasture burden. This does depend on the time of year, but sunlight and hard frost will help to break the cycle.

Combine harrowing with resting
Harrowing dirty pasture effectively just spreads the worm eggs and larvae over the fields. However, if combined with pasture resting, it can benefit overall pasture management.

Try not to overstock paddocks
Overstocked fields make the pasture harder to manage and the quality of the grazing suffers.

Reduce paddock size
Paddocks can be divided into smaller areas so they can be alternately grazed and rested.

Note: Pinworms are not just a pasture parasite - similar approaches to stable hygiene should be followed to break the lifecycle of this parasite.

A typical horse, weighing 450kg, produces 5 to 12 pats, approximately 24kg of dung a day or 10 tonnes a year!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote PhillipC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2014 at 9:19pm
All of what lyleplumb has posted is correct. There are various ways to break the cycle of internal parasites in horses.

Here, I vacuum the manure out of paddocks at least every 2nd day. I periodically do a faecal egg count on the horses and they are all incredibly low (strongyles).

Strongyle eggs take 4-6 days to become an issue to be able to re-infect a horse, so every collecting manure 2nd day fits in nicely.

Having said that, in hot dry summer weather, the parasite eggs dry out and die much quicker, so simply harrowing the paddock (or just kicking the manure around) will stop them hatching as well.

I also have the advantage of a huge population of dung beetles which also assist with reducing the worm burden and can reduce a pile of manure to dust in around 24 hours, so I am often only vacuuming up what looks like a pile of damp chaff.

My normal cycle when a horse leaves a paddock is to vacuum the horse manure from the paddock, crash graze it with cattle (the cattle will ingest any horse worms larvae which will die in the new host) who also super fertilise the paddock and the dung beetles do more of their magic work, then rest the paddock for at least 4-6 weeks.
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early4lunch View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote early4lunch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2014 at 11:37pm
thanks for some interesting posts
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote papyrus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2014 at 9:58pm
Temperature of the days is critical for the reduction of faecal egg counts. If the temp is over 30 degrees for over 7 to 14 days in a row you will have a clean paddock .Rain and high humidity will slow down the reduction as will days under 30 degrees .The hotter the days the quicker the reduction .If the temp is over 20 degrees for over 28 to 35 days in a row you will have a clean paddock .
Over grazed paddock also contribute to animal reinfesting themselves .Paddock rotation is important and grazing most susceptible on freshest pastures ie mares with foal and weanlings .
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2014 at 8:32am
Other than pasture and paddock rotation, here some information that might be helpful.

http://www.ker.com/library/proceedings/04/ParasiteControl_p64.pdf


I'm not a natural horse thinker, but this article might also be of interest.

https://www.naturalhorsetalk.com/documents/ANaturalApproachtoParasiteControl.pdf

After all the horse is a grazer.
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