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Friday, November 23, 2012

Let's talk turkey...a bit of a drama in the vegie patch...

Bush or scrub turkey to be exact... Recently I wrote about having to put some trellis plastic around a garden bed to stop the bush turkey digging out the plants. Well, at that stage he was leaving the raised beds alone, but all of that changed in the last week or so. Each morning I would find at least one plant uprooted in the larger raised bed, and soil heaped up in mounds.

Then. on Tuesday morning of this week, this is the scene that greeted me when I went to water the vegetables. What a mess! This had been a garden bed with zucchini plants, thriving silverbeet plants and tomato plants. The turkey had 'raked' up leaf litter that was under the trees and shrubs on our back boundary and heaped it up in the raised bed. I tend to leave the litter under those trees as it forms a mulch for the trees but also provides cover for the lizards that live in our yard. 

The leaves were also mounded up at the end of the bed...in the photo below you can see the tradescantia plants that have been uprooted. These also grow under the trees at the back. DH and I picked up all the leaves mounded up outside the bed but it was a losing battle...when we weren't in the yard the turkey resumed mounding up leaves. He even started raking up leaves from my neighbour's macadamia tree  as well as scratching out any fallen leaves in amongst my bromeliad  bed under the jacaranda tree. DH and I decided that next morning we would buy some chicken wire to protect the garden bed.

pots, plants, twigs, fallen branches...all got raked towards the vegie garden bed
In the morning though, DH announced that he was going to contact 'Peter the Possum Man' a company that has permits to trap turkeys and relocate them to bushland. It was expensive but DH had decided that it was the way to go... So a young man came with a cage...which he placed on the 'mound' built by the turkey

He showed us how to 'set' it and explained how the trap was to be used. It had to be monitored at all times...if we went out we had to shut it. Now I wondered HOW the turkey could be enticed into the cage...what 'bait' for example??? But it was simple and ingenious how it all worked. The young man showed us how to slide a mirror in the back end of the cage...

Lol! Look there's another Maria !

The turkey sees another turkey and goes to investigate...and as he steps towards the mirror, the door slams behind him. We were shown how to take the mirror out when the turkey is trapped and turn it to the blank side and slide it back in. Then to help the bird calm down the young man left a knotted sheet to cover the cage. The young man then headed off to his next job and we went inside so the turkey would come back to his frantic raking. Within 10-12 minutes he was caught. Unbelievable!


We rang to say that the turkey was in the cage and eventually he was collected. His new home is bushland out Ipswich way...he should find plenty of leaves to scratch up there. I've lived with bush turkeys all my life but one had never chosen my yard for his mound before. It's said that that once they do that, you can never get rid of them or their mound. (The males build the mounds for the lady turkey to lay her eggs in. The heat of the mound incubates the eggs for eventual hatching, so we could have ended up with dozens of them next year !!!) 

6 comments:

Linn said...

Oh my goodness! Don't they make a mess of things. Hope that is the end of it and no more turkeys decide to use your yard.

kaiteM said...

How ingenious - a mirror! who would have thought it but really it makes sense. Well done DH and Peter the PM.

shez said...

what a clever way to catch the turkey and i am so glad that you did catch him what a mess he made.xx

Naturally Carol said...

How interesting! I am amazed at the difference he made to your garden in such a short time. Well, now it's back to the spinach eh?

allotmentadventureswithjean said...

If it's not the turkeys, its the possums. They can cause so much damage in a garden. Pleased that you were able to re-locate your visitor.

Becky said...

OH WOW! Glad he was caught and relocated sounds like a real headache.