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Turkeys' use of old windmill towers a twist

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
There are few farm collectibles that rank in historical value and necessity quite like the windmill. One of the first priorities of the homesteader was to dig and equip a domestic water well. Volumes have been written and researched on the subject.

Recently a new twist came to the Trew Ranch concerning windmills. Sixteen years of intense rain water harvesting rendered the windmills on the ranch obsolete. The equipment was removed, the towers taken down and the wells capped in case they were ever needed again. As a result, I had three nice welded pipe towers to sell.

An ad in the San Angelo Livestock Weekly stated, "Windmill towers wanted, wheels and gears not necessary." I answered the ad by phone and the following strange twist came about.

The ad came from the Dallas area and the wheels and gears not necessary brought about the question, what the heck did they want with bare towers? I put the question to the Alanreed Coffee Shop regulars. We guessed light towers around an arena, wind turbine towers and even solar panel towers. When the return call came I asked the purpose of the towers?

It seems they have a prime hunting lease in South Texas with quail, dove, wild turkeys and deer. They have heavy brush but no large trees. Therefore, they have no place for the turkeys to roost at night and predators keep killing their turkey flocks. They hope to convert the ex-windmill towers into turkey roosts. You could have heard a pin drop in the coffee shop.
Hale Center Tx Mural - "Hi-Plains Oasis"

Hale Center, Texas mural
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, August 2009

See Windmills in Texas | Texas Animals

Heads up folks! Think now! Visualize the traditional old creaking, clanking windmill, which made living on the prairie possible, its tower now sitting amongst heavy brush, silhouetted against the beautiful sunset, holding up a flock of turkeys roosting for the night. This vision almost caused an aneurism among the old coffee drinkers. After two refills, the sight became somewhat plausible.

Immediately old classic windmill tales came forth. One after another they told of different times when windmills either saved their livelihood or nearly caused them injury or death. But, times change and the old group came through like veterans and immediately began making suggestions as to how to design, rig up, equip and set a windmill tower turkey roost. After all, this bunch had been called a "bunch of turkeys" many times so they had some experience. Here are a few of the suggestions to pass on. You may have more.

1. Paint the tower brown to resemble tree bark and be politically correct.
2. Tie or mount cedar stays in horizontal positions so the turkeys can grip the wood with toes.
3. Mount several turkey decoys on a few roosts to give the turkeys the main idea.
4. Add a turkey feeder below to entice the flock to the location.
5. Splatter sheet rock mud along all the roost bases to make the roosts seem more like home.
6. Paint a sign welcoming the turkeys to the roosts, free use of course, compliments of the U.S. Game and Wildlife Commission.

Folks, believe it or not, this is a "true story" and not a Trew fabrication!

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" October 5 , 2010column
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at trewblue@centramedia.net. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.

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