The brush turkey on the left is Harold. He's an old friend and a good turkey because he doesn't come into the house yard and scratch out our gardens or the mulch. Every evening he comes to the paddock just outside the fence near the house when he's called (yes, he knows his name), and we feed him scraps and biscuits. On the right is Bad Turkey, she comes in the yard and scratches out the mulch and takes plants with it, in other words, she's very destructive.
For years, we've been covering the mulch with chicken wire and using it to surround rose bushes, shrubs, and fruit trees. This creates a lot of work, especially when the garden needs weeding, and grass needs to be cleared away from the fruit trees.
At the start of Spring we weeded and re-mulched the garden only to find that Bad Turkey began her usual destruction. Fed up with replacing the chicken wire, I searched the Internet for ways to deter brush turkeys (also known as bush or scrub turkeys), and saw a search result that mentioned putting teddy bears in the garden, but when I clicked on it I was taken to a 404 page with no information at all. So I searched again and found a comment in a forum about someone using teddy bears to scare turkeys off so thought I'd try it.
Keen to get started, the first thing I did was take our little dog's old stuffed toys that he'd ripped apart and tie them to the fence. To my pure delight this worked, Bad Turkey stopped wrecking the garden. So the next time I went to town, I called in to the op-shop and bought three teddy bears. When I got home, I tied two to the fence and put one on a stake, which my husband hammered into the ground for me.
This method has proved to be very successful, with Bad Turkey rarely dropping by and when she does she only does a bit of minor scratching without taking out mulch or plants then she leaves. Despite having teddy bears in our garden, which causes some amusement when visitors drop in, we are delighted with the result.
I did hear that one chap put teddy bears on stakes around a turkey mound and the turkeys left, never to be seen again.
Brush Turkeys are protected in Queensland, and harming them, or trapping them without the correct permit is illegal. We have more than two turkeys on our property, but Bad Turkey is the only one that has proved to be the main nuisance. We enjoy having them around, and have never considered having them relocated, but even if we did remove them we know another lot would take their place. It's their land too, and we are great believers in co-existing with the wildlife here, which includes kangaroos, wallabies, possums, echidnas, bandicoots, rabbits, hares, goannas, and an incredible variety of birds. We're not too fussed on the snakes though, however the turkeys seem to help keep their numbers down.
Proprietor, author, and tutor of The Home Herbalist Online Course.