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Variety is the herb of life!

Plains zebras and giraffes grazing in a field at Marwell zoo

Work is underway to give grazing animals at Marwell more variety, including herbs and meadow grass.

Introducing these to the paddock used by our giraffe, plains zebra and roan antelope will mean they have further access to a range of grazing options with nutritional benefit.

The work allows us to minimise thatch, moss and trailing weeds and replace them with herbs such as chicory, sheeps parsley and salad burnet.

In order for the seed to be sown effectively, the paddock had to be scarified – a process of cutting into the grass to remove unwanted weeds – before reseeding with the special mix.

As a result of this we expect the paddock will look a little untidy until the new seeds grow.

When they do though, guests can expect a paddock full of specially selected meadow mix and herbs that will provide lots of grazing opportunities for zebra and antelope.

The newly planted seed is made up of tall fescue, strong creeping red fescue, meadow fescue, timothy and smooth stalked meadow grass.

The herbs that have been added to the mix are chicory, sheeps parsley, salad burnet, ribgrass and yarrow.

In the wild, grazing animals would naturally have access to a range of plant species, not just grass, and the seeds included in this mix have been chosen for their mineral content.

The work was carried out on Wednesday 1 March and it is expected that it will take a few weeks for the paddock to look its best.

A man pulls a scarifer across a field on a quadbike