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Horses and natural fences

 
Elizabeth Bowers
Posts: 12
Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania
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Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum, and i'm looking into natural living fences for livestock. I'm having some trouble finding ideas that aren't toxic to livestock or that will proliferate and take over my pastures and paddocks. I do live on a working farm, we raise beef cattle, pigs and chickens. I'v been wanting to add more bio-diversity to the land. I love birds they are very useful for insect control, and make lovely music. And our bee population has been lacking the last few years, and our crops have shown it as well. I'm open to any advice and ideas you have to offer. I currently have 4 horses, and 7 hogs, and close to 30 head of cattle. I'm looking to add more livestock like goats and maybe dairy cow or two.
I'm not 100% sure, but i believe I live in zone 5. I live in the Laurel Highlands in PA, on the 3rd or 4th highest point, and we are one mile from windmills. So fencing that would also double as a windbreak would be fantastic.
Thank you!

P.S. Horse are a huge part of my life, and will always have a place on our farm.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
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Hi! Welcome! Do you want the hedge to function as a fence like a hedgerow type fence or do you just like the idea that the borders of the pasture contain a mix of plants and can provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife? Because if you just stop mowing outside of the fences (assuming they're not on the very edge of your property line) the birds via their droppings will create a hedge for you of local trees, berry bushes, etc. quite nicely. It would have to have sufficient depth to keep the horses from reaching over the fences to lop all the tops off, unless that's what you want for pruning.

If you'd like it dual-purpose, you could probably fence off a windbreak area and use a variety of fruit- and nut-bearing trees as part of it, like a food forest windbreak. Or several, depending on the wind and property slope.
 
Elizabeth Bowers
Posts: 12
Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania
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Thanks!! I would like the hedge to double as a fence, because we use electric fence it runs up our bill. So a natural fence i feel would be a better option, and add some beauty to the openness of our farm. And we will be on the property line, and i would like some privacy too. I'm also very close to a road, so i would like something to help for when they plow the snow, they always seem to knock down our fences in the process. Our horses usually don't graze over the fence for any reason. We do have a variety of trees growing along our fences, but they are taking over the fields...one is a small tree we call 'sumac', it's horrible to get rid of! And we do have black berry and raspberry bushes too, the horses will nibble on those.
Our wind is fairly high, with it coming off the fields at 60mph at times, the slope of our property isn't very steep until you go into the tree line on our property. Thank you!!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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