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Turkey Fencing and Pasture System - Experimental - Happy 400th Thanksgiving (since the first one)

Posts: 659
Location: Ohio River Valley, Zone 6b
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I need to calculate the fencing cost to surround 3 acres in a fence 6 ft tall.

The circumference of the area to be fenced is 1,320 ft.

If I have a post every 8 feet, I need 165 of them. The corners must use 3 wooden posts in concrete with mortised braces, 5 pieces of wood total for each corner. Additionally every 5th post must be wood. That's just how our soil requires it. 50 posts therefore must be 4 inch diameter wood. Plus the ends for the 3 gates. requiring 4 posts each. So there must be some 10 further posts of wood since 2 overlap with posts that are already made of wood. 60 posts of wood, 105 T-Posts.

Now to the Wire, this is the hard part as there are usable sections of pre-existing fencing. Specifically, the old fence was put up in the early 1940s based on the type of wire and posts. They appear to be drawn, machine-forged wrought iron. They were probably made in the 1930s. The posts are badly rusted, but the wire is still good to use. I may make the posts into wrought iron bar stock for blacksmiths, they have only rusted beyond usability at the bottom. The wire is covering 1/2 of the distance, but is only 4 ft tall. It is field fence for stopping cattle and has wide openings. So it eliminates the upper section for half the distance that must be covered. A finer mesh inside on the bottom 2 ft, and barbed wire outside to exclude coyotes is the bottom tier, and then on top is regular field fence. This gives the needed height to stop turkeys from escaping, and the bottom half of field fence has narrower holes. The top need not be narrower. They can only jump so high, The coyotes and deer are more of a problem if they get in. The deer would compete for food in my turkey system and the coyotes would eat the turkeys.

The fence is part of a temperate climate turkey-specific pasture system. More than 300 kinds of plants fill the system including as much trees as you can pack in there. You want a full canopy to protect the turkeys from eagles and hawks. Evergreens should be about half of the trees to provide winter cover. Many trees should produce nuts, seeds, and fruits that are easy for the turkeys to eat. A natural body of water is best for watering them and providing frogs for them to eat. Their diet should be very varied. Lots of berries and nuts, fallen fruit, insects, frogs, lizards, fungi, green edible, and medicinal plants and culinary herbs. It's a forage forest you share with the turkeys. If you have a riparian zone and are in the Americas, you should have a canebrake in the forage forest. Not only does the rivercane (bamboos native to the Americas are called rivercane) lend itself to crafts well, but it also provides habitat for the turkey's meat supply that turkeys will have difficulty breaking into, thus making the supply sustainable.

A forage forest is like a food forest, except it has more uses than just food. It has materials for projects and crafts, it has dyes, it has medicinal plants, it has livestock fodder. Any useful plant or fungi you don't have to pamper and care for consistently can be planted there. And because it's a forest, you can put plants that need to have shade in there once there is a canopy, like ginseng and pawpaw.

The system is set up, and once the turkeys begin to lay eggs, it's hands-off. Once the system is functioning as an ecosystem, you need only harvest turkeys from time to time to keep there from being too many for the system to feed.

Ideal turkeys are those with recent wild admixture, such as Narragansett, Standard Bronze, and Tennessee Red. There are others as well, but these are good examples. You don't want modern breeds that stuff themselves silly. They will rapidly deplete the food supply, and kind of suck at taking care of themselves. I'm going to be breeding turkeys to inhabit this system of agriculture, but for now, old breeds with recent wild ancestors are the best.
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