Your guide to sustainable horsekeeping

The Green Horse section provides practical information on managing environmentally sustainable horse properties, readers stories and tips, as well as advice and articles from equestrian experts in their fields.

June July 21
Vol 43 No1

In this issue of The Green Horse you will find the following articles

Trees For Fodder and Treats
by Celine Bønnelykke


GOOD PROPERTIES DON'T JUST HAPPEN.
by Rhiannon Brown - Envirapest
If you want your property to go forward this year, regardless of the method you use for weed control, now is the time to act.

Lead affecting garden vegetables
New research has revealed that about a fifth of Australian vegetable gardens are likely to produce food that contains dangerous levels of toxic lead.

BARN OWLS
by Wendy Elks
A silent partner in rodent control.
Non-toxic pest management is the most humane and ecologically sustainable way of bringing nature back into some kind of balance during non-plague times.

Leak detection with dogs
Kep is one of a very prestigious list of detection canines performing jobs in the field of conservation around Australia.

SELECTING A TRACTOR
The piece of equipment that many horse owners insist that they cannot live without, and gets used the most frequently on their property, is a tractor.

SOIL YOUR UNDIES
Underpant experiments are taking place in Australian paddocks and gardens — all in the name of soil health.


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PREVIOUS ARTICLES
Available on line

 

April/May 21
LOVELY LAWNS
by Rhiannon Brown - Envirapest
On a horse property there always seems to be hectares of grass, but we all have that little bit of lawn we want to look luscious all year round.
It could be the entrance to the stables, laneways bordering the driveway, that little ‘special’ snack paddock or you could even dream of a beautiful green arena.
So, how do we achieve this?

Feb/March 21
STABLE DANGERS
by Elizabeth Tollarzo
They say that horses are accidents-waiting-to-happen as they are inclined to find every conceivable way to injur themselves, usually just before a competition. Being aware of potential dangers in the stable - and addressing these - may help aleiviate injury.

Dec/Jan 20/21
HORSES AND HONEY BEES-
Can they share space on the property?
by Wendy Elks

Oct/Nov 20
SOLAR-POWERED PRODUCTS
by Celine Bønnelykke
In previous issues we have discussed the economics of setting up a solar-driven property, but if finances don’t stretch to installation of the whole package, there are ways to ease into the solar-world.

Aug/Sept 20 THE HIDDEN DANGERS IN OUR PADDOCK.
by Elizabeth Tollarzo
Horses love to run, play, buck and then run again and we often, through lack of risk assessment or management practices, place them in areas that are fraught with dangers.

JUNE JULY 20 GOING SOLAR ON THE HORSE PROPERTY Where to put your panels Part 2
Once you have selected what solar system best suits your needs, then you need to look at how you can maximise the advantages.

APRIL MAY 20 GOING SOLAR ON THE HORSE PROPERTY Part 2
Once you have selected what solar system best suits your needs, then you need to look at how you can maximise the advantages.

FEB/MARCH 20 ANTS AWAY
by Mark Brown Envirapest
So, what can you do to deter ants from your house and your stables??


DJ19/20 KEEPING SNAKES OUT OF THE STABLE by Wendy Elks
Snakes may be protected under Wildlife regulations in Australia, and they may be great for keeping the mice and rats down, but do we want to find them in our stables near our horses and pets?

ON19 - TERMITES- common myths
by Rhiannon Brown, Envirapest
Your house and stables are looking wonderful this spring, but do you know what is happening inside the walls of your brick or timber building?

AS19 - OUCH THAT HURTS
by Catherine Bird for Country Park Saddlery
The extent of the swelling is usually an indication of the severity of the infection or injury and the cause needs to be established before giving herbs.

JJ19 - MANAGING PASTURE
by Rhiannon Brown, Envirapest Healthy pasture means healthy horses.

A/M19 - STOP THOSE WEEDS
Property biosecurity
by Rhiannon Brown, Envirapest
Putting simple precautionary steps into place can make it tough for weeds to get a hold on your equine paradise.

 

 









BARN OWLS

A silent partner in rodent control

Although natural predators would have little effect on a plague such as this, farmers and researchers are gauging the importance of hunting birds in the non-toxic fight against rodents.

Barn owls use barns and other open farm buildings as both a source of food (where there’s hay and grain, there are mice).They occur on every continent and range across Australia, with open, dry country such as farms, heath and lightly wooded forest their preferred habitat. They roam over grasslands, searching for mice, but a favoured hunting method is to roost above a likely place, and wait.

Landowners can encourage the hauntingly beautiful Barn Owl onto their property. Preserving old trees, providing roosting spots in barns, stables and outbuildings, and perhaps building a Barn Owl nesting box can encourage these natural predators to your property.

Often portrayed as a magical creature in book and film due to its ghostly nocturnal appearance, the Barn Owl is, in reality, a far more practical and down-to-earth raptor. This Owl hunts by stealth, using its superb sight and hearing to locate small rodents on the ground, and then performing a vertical snatch and grab.

Along with rats and rabbits, the introduced house mouse is a pest that wreaks constant havoc in temperate and settled areas of Australia, where food supply is plentiful. This year, drought and flooding rain in eastern Australia were followed by a horror mouse plague, giving nightmarish visions of mice blanketing tracts of landscape and consuming everything in sight. Feral mice and rats cause damage to crops, feed sheds, house interiors and infrastructure, and also carry diseases such as typhus, salmonellosis and bubonic plague.

RAT POISON DESTROYS HUNTERS

Humans provide abundant resources for rats and mice: intensive crops, spilt fodder, tasty leftovers, rubbish and shelter for any number of unwanted house guests; yet their go-to control method – rat poison – also destroys the native hunters that help keep these pest animals in check by natural and holistic means: eating them.

According the Society For the Preservation of Raptors, “Since European settlement, the Barn Owl’s favourite prey has been the common house mouse and introduced rat species. Sadly, many barn owls die in Australia every year due to secondary poisoning as a direct result of human pest control methods.”
Non-toxic pest management is the most humane and ecologically sustainable way of bringing nature back into some kind of balance during non-plague times.

CSIRO research officer, Steve Henry, doubts barn owls can effectively control mouse populations, though they could be used to predict house mice populations in the future. “There aren’t enough owls to deal with the thousands and millions of mice that end up breeding to really high numbers in a mouse outbreak. Mice start breeding when they’re six weeks old and they can have a litter every 19 to 21 days after that. You would need literally huge numbers of owls, cats and foxes, and all sorts of other predators to make the smallest dent on a mouse population that was out-breaking.”

HORSE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Around the horse property, better management of fodder and hay to reduce food resources can help reduce numbers (when not in plague proportion), while encouraging barn owls into the area will assist in picking off rodents in the environs and reducing breeding numbers.

With wildlife habitats threatened by land clearing and climate change, numbers of Barn Owl and other predatory birds are projected to fall significantly: a worthwhile reason in itself for landowners to provide homes where possible. In return, the barn owl’s voracious appetite for the house mouse is a natural, safe method of reducing the number of introduced rodents that constantly endanger human health and fodder crops, and without causing any risk to the ecology.

 

 


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