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The Secret to Deterring Bush Turkeys!

You’ll remember my tirades about bloody bush turkeys.  Well, all this time I have been trying to discourage them (or is it only one – they all look the same to me).  I have had success in preventing them from building a mound and have gotten a lot of exercise in the process!  But I have not yet managed to rid myself of them completely.

The most surprising thing is what was most effective in their deterrence.  Would you believe a big green rubbish bin?!

To explain:  In desperation I put all sorts of obstacles around the place to stop them scratching and nesting.  I put a fence around the mound so they couldn’t get in, then I disturbed the mound, then I put a silver tarpaulin over it.  All that helped, but didn’t stop them, and I had to admire their persistence.

Fence around mound and tarpaulin

Fence around mound and tarpaulin

Next I put down weed matting to stop them scratching on bare earth and mulch.  That worked too.  But they started scratching further into the garden and bringing earth and mulch from further away.

Fence halfway across the garden. Prevents “earth moving”.

So I put a fence through the garden dividing it in half.  That worked too.  But they found a new place to scratch!

So I put chicken wire on the ground as a barrier over which they could not scratch.  That worked too.

That only left the paddock next door and underneath the plumbago bushes – which I can’t fence.  I have managed to cut down a lot of weedy bushes in the paddock and use them as preventives to scratching, but, like I said, I have to admire the turkey.  They keep finding ways and places I haven’t seen.

My hero. Rubbish bin Man.

Anyway, one of the obstacles I used to deter scratching was my rubbish bin.  I put it over a place they like to scratch and also used it to create a barrier between the mound and they dirt they had scratched up for it.  It worked – but much better than I thought.

The first time I moved the bin was to have it emptied, and, since the turkey(s) hadn’t been active for a few days I thought my troubles were over and I put the bin back where it belongs.  Next day the turkey was back, scratching!  So I put the bin back in position again.  No turkey!

Coincidence?  Maybe.  Required further testing.  Which I did yesterday.  Took the bin out to the kerb and sure enough, this morning, turkey-lurkey was back.  I put the bin back in position and – no turkey!  At least, not near the mound – which it keeps desperately trying to get earth onto but cannot because of the fence.

So today I spent the day rushing in and out of the house chasing it away.  Finally, I got really smart and waited for it to return (a matter of a few minutes) and then shoed it away.  It got so that as soon as I moved a little it ran.  Then, I only had to stand still and when it caught sight of me, it ran.  Aha! Thought I.

For my next trick I got a pair of trousers and a white t shirt and put them on a coat hanger and hung them in a tree.  So far so good.  No turkey.  Hopefully the clothes will move with the breeze.

The turkey is still in the paddock next door, scratching, I can hear him (it’s the male that builds the nest) but he’s not in MY yard.

So, the big secret is a green rubbish bin.

The second good tactic is to train the turkey to fear you (not hard), then impersonate yourself with a scarecrow.

I would prefer that it end up in someone’s casserole because the damn things will breed whatever I do, and protected or not, they are a pest.  However, at least I can prevent my garden from becoming a breeding ground.  I have plans for when breeding season is over (December).

There is also some good that has come out of this.  The garden is well weeded.  Everything that can be uprooted, has been so I am now rid of a particularly virulent creeper.

I also have a wonderful mound of top soil that I can redistribute around the garden when the time is right.

And when the mound scratching time is over, I am going to plant the whole area with some grassy, shrubby things that the turkey has not been able to scratch up – lomandra.

What a shocking mess. This is bare earth covered with tree limbs and old creepers to deter scratching

Old tyre holding down chicken wire.

For an unusual tip, go to the comments section on Bush Turkeys, a Pest in the garden

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54 comments to The Secret to Deterring Bush Turkeys!

  • Erika

    We have a female. It doesn’t scratch or make a mess… it just hangs around with my chooks and eats all their eggs.
    Bastard. I hate her.

  • Cheryl Blackmore

    I am at wits end with these pests bush turkeys. 10 years I have been fighting these pests. I have never met a more persistent creature than the dreaded male bush turkey. I’ve tried everything. I’ve become a crazy lady chasing and cursing these creatures. I’ve had them relocated, used chicken wire, tarped the mound – but nothing really works. When you get rid of one another one takes its place. Soooo very annoying. This year they have built in the gully so I can’t get to it but mr turkey is able to scratch away. I’ve got mirrors up, made a greenery barricade, used bird netting. Protected! REALLY! They really don’t belong in suburbia. If the government wants them protected let’s all bag them and deliver them to their homes.

  • Patsy

    I know everyone seems to hate the bush turkey’s – but I have around 10 x chicks at present, and their parents must have given them my address as a safe haven for them. I have bark chip all over my property and yes, they dig it up looking for worms etc. But in all honesty, I do enjoy their company, I can be at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes, cutting off fat from meat, removing pumpkin seeds from pumpkins, and all this waste goes straight out my kitchen window – basically I am feeding them. Whilst feeding them old bread, cat food etc, they don’t really trash the place as they know a meal is coming. So instead of everyone throwing out food scraps in the bin – try throwing it in your front yard and creating a food place.

  • Leo

    These freakin birds drive me insane! They have destroyed a garden that was thriving and beyond beautiful… rich with native violets and many other wonderful plants. One that I took pride in and worked hard to maintain. Why in the world are they protected? Not only are they hideous to look at… the sound they make is disgusting and the damage they do to gardens is beyond tragic. Honestly… who in their right mind would want them around? There is plenty of isolated bush where I’m sure these creatures can thrive – away from backyards and gardens that are nurtured and loved by their owners, surely the home garden has the right to be protected as well!!
    They should all be captured and taken away from suburbia and delivered to the deepest darkest most isolated bush areas where they can all scratch, breed, make mounds, grunt and not drive happy, normal people who love their gardens & nature completely crazy!!

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