Assessing Stocking Rates

The absence of grass in the corral below tells you the stocking rate is too high, from a sustainability viewpoint.  It holds two horses on approximately 5,000 square feet.

That’s two horses on 0.115 acre, equivalent to 17.4 horses per acre, which is the same as 17,400 horses per thousand acres.

Rick Gore has two horses on ten acres (equivalent to 200 horses per thousand acres) and his pastures look good.  Of course, that’s Texas, not Nevada.

The target stocking rate on western rangelands is 27,000 ÷ 27,000,000 × 1,000 = 1.0 one wild horse per thousand acres, neglecting burros for simplicity.

The current stocking rate is 95,000 ÷ 27,000,000 × 1,000 = 3.5 wild horses per thousand acres.

The stocking rate allowed by plan for privately owned cattle is usually several times than the rate for horses, even on land set aside for the horses.

Assessing Stocking Rates 01-24-21

End of Life Options for Horses

NOTE: The photos in this post may be disturbing to some viewers.

In the wild, predators and scavengers remove the carcass.  If the horse was euthanized, as was the case recently near the Heber WHT, and/or received medications prior to death, you could get a secondary kill.

If you have land and the codes allow it, you can bury him on your own property.  You’ll need some heavy equipment to dig the hole and place the horse in it.  You are not going to drag a thousand pound animal out of a stall, corral or pasture.

And you’ll be doing all of that while you’re upset at the loss of your horse.  Yeah, it sucks.

When Trapper died the vet referred me to a hauler.  One option was to take him to a rendering plant and another was the pet cemetery.  I opted for cremation.  I still had to get him out of the corral, which was a muddy mess due to rain.

My paint mare, one of two other horses in the corral, became very agitated that evening when she realized he wasn’t coming back.  They had been barn buddies for eight years.

The result of the cremation process is an urn with the horse’s remains.  In the photos below, Trapper’s urn is on the left, Cassie’s is on the right.  She was my first horse, lost in 2012.

The vet bill was $744.  The hauler charged $300.  The cremation fee was $800.

The incident was a reminder of why you should never let your savings account drop below, say, $2,500—if you have horses.  That amount does not include the cost of feed and other expenses if you lose your job.

Many financial coaches say you should always have between three and six months of living expenses in savings, but they’re usually not thinking about horses.

With the cost of feed at $100 per AUM, that’s an extra $600 per month for six horses.

RELATED: Trapper Gone But Not Forgotten.

End of Life Options for Your Horse

Horse Surrenders Climbing

A story published yesterday by Fox News of Colorado Springs, CO says that a rescue in Ellicott has reached its capacity and now has a waitlist with eleven more.

An email sent this morning asking if any of the horses are coming in with freeze marks has not been answered.

A BLM public affairs officer reported earlier this month that adoptions had declined this year for similar reasons.

RELATED: Cost of Feed?

Gathers and Removals: Horse Poop Edition

Corral cleaning is like leaf collection: You first have to gather the pieces into piles then transfer them into a container for removal.

The typical manure rake, on the right in the photos below, is made of plastic.  It’s designed for scooping not raking.  When you flip it over and use it as a rake, the tines break off, usually in the middle.  It’s a productivity killer.

Home Depot has a True Temper leaf rake made of metal that works great for gathering the poop into piles.  Only complaint is that the handle is a little short and made of metal.  In the winter it will pull the heat out of your hands if you’re not wearing gloves.

Price is $16.  It’s better and faster than a manure rake for horse poop roundups.

Hookover Bucket Installation

Duraflex buckets won’t work on pipe panels with rail spacings greater than ten inches.

The rails in the Powder River panel below are on 9-3/4″ centers.  Lugs under the hooks lift the bucket, so the lower edge barely contacts the rail.  The galvanized panel in the background has rails on 12″ centers.

The bucket tilts slightly when hooked over the panel, bringing the water level closer to the rim.  Holes for the mounting block should be within an inch from the rim.

The block in these photos is still clamped to the bucket and the brackets for the valve haven’t been secured to it, allowing the valve to slide toward the front of the bucket.

The hose was purchased at Home Depot.  The feed store used to carry them but not any more.  The hose should have 3/4″ male thread on one end, to connect to the float valve, and a 3/4″ female thread on the other, to connect to a standard hose bibb.

A washing machine hose won’t work.

Hookover Bucket Installation Concerns

RELATED: Hookover Bucket Mock-Up.

Another Water Bucket Destroyed

It was in good shape last night.  The sediment in the bottom suggests they put their feet in it, which happens almost daily, but why destroy it?  These things cost $25 apiece.

The cover on the DuraMate automatic waterers prevents a thorough cleaning of the unit, you have to take it apart to bleach that area.  I want something that can be lifted off the pipe panel, cleaned and easily reinstalled, yet won’t get torn down by the horses.

It would be a miniature version of the water tanks on the Virginia Range.

Another Water Bucket Destroyed

BLM Seeks Off-Range Corrals In Western U.S.

BLM said today that it has requested bids for new short-term holding facilities in Idaho, Nevada and Utah.  Capacities of 500 to 10,000 wild horses and burros are desired, according to the news release.

Animals delivered to the corrals will be held temporarily before transfer to off-range pastures or adoption/sale locations across the country.

Proposals will be accepted through November 30.

The construction of a high-capacity animal feeding operation was the subject of a heated debate earlier this year in Laramie County, WY.

RELATED: BLM Seeks Off-Range Corrals.

Tale of Two Interests-1

Arrest in Florida Slaughter Case

A man who led a horse from its stall last December and killed it for its meat has been arrested and charged, according to a report posted yesterday by AP News.

In a 2018 interview on Fox News, Dave Duquette, spokesman for Protect the Harvest, a cheerleader group for the public-lands ranchers, said “There was one meat buyer…in the south of…in Florida…that said he had 2.3 million Hispanics down there that would eat it…every day if they could get it.”  That video has been scrubbed from YouTube.