It worked for our horses’ wild ancestors, but is it wise to co-graze equines and livestock today? Peter Green MRCVS discusses pros and cons
In the UK we tend to keep horses and farm livestock apart from each other. Horses belonging to farmers may be turned out with the cattle or sheep, but, on the whole, equines are managed separately.
Of course, this is artificial. Think of the plains of Africa where antelopes, zebras, elephants, giraffes, rhinos and others all graze and browse. In pre-Ice Age Britain, wild horses grazed with bison, deer, woolly rhinos and wild cattle called aurochs.
There are pros and cons to modern mixed grazing. The big winner when you turn cattle and horses out together is worm control. Because cattle don’t support the same nematode worms as horses but will ingest their eggs as they graze, worm burdens in horses grazed with cattle are lower and the requirement for wormers is reduced.
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