Anybody have experience dealing with the kind of wild turkey common to the
southeastern U.S. relative to his garden? A trio has appeared in our little
green place and I'm trying to determine whether it's a significant hazard to the
veggie patch. If so, I'd like to take advance precautions.
I got curious. This may help:
I imagine wild turkeys are much less destructive than deer who are
usually found in the same type environment and things done to prevent
deer damage would also deter turkeys.
"controlling". Major attractants would by my vegetable garden and the shared
bird/cat feeding stations, of which there are two, on the front porch. Half-inch
netting comes to mind for the garden; Ruger 10-22, for the cat/bird food -- not
really. Far more likely, I'd probably try to lure them into my homebrew havahart
and foist them onto some willing do-gooders. Yard cats and redtail hawks pretty
well keep squirrels and rabbits at bay -- relative to the garden, at least;
autos and dogs control the deer efficiently. The turkeys are new to the 'hood.
I'm accustomed to a bean tax to the titmouses and jays but I don't know how
willing I'll be to share with something the size of turkey and I surely don't
want to be dealing with "tame" turkeys.
we do not have feeders of any kind
other than what is grown here as
ornamentals. it would be raccoon/
possum/skunk/cat/etc food and we
sure don't need to encourage those! :)
turkeys eat about anything they
can grub up (omnivores).
i've never seen turkeys active at
night. so if you are out and about
in the yard during the day that seems
to keep them away.
we usually have flocks of 30+ in
the farm fields all around here, but
in 14 years we've not ever seen them
in the yard.
i've never actually tried to
stalk them to see how close i can
get, but normally they don't come
closer than 100+ yards.
so unless you have tame turkeys
that someone has been feeding you'll
probably be ok if you are out in
your yard once in a while.
Last week, coming home from the store, a dozen turkeys crossed a main
thoroughfare, the unique Tom of the bunch stopped in the middle of the
highway, and spread-out his wings as if to say stop. His gesture was
rewarded with a half dozen cars coming to a complete stop. The turkeys
exited stage left, and traffic resumed. Turkeys aren't just commodities
The quicker we humans learn that saving open space and wildlife is
critical to our welfare and quality of life, maybe we'll start thinking
of doing something about it.
- Jim Fowler
They are opportunists. I'm in the burbs, so they wander through my
yard on occasion. I've even had one strut his stuff in front of the
window by my computer. He could see his reflection & went back and
forth showing off, 6 feet from the house for 1/2 hour.
I always thought Franklin was nuts for calling them magnificent. . .
until that morning.
I've had another one sit on the bird feeder and try to figure out how
he could get his head down to the feed without falling off. he
finally hopped down with his 2 dozen buddies and scratched at all the
hulls under the feeders.
If we go to the yard they keep a distance of 50 feet or so. If a
person or dog moves fast towards them they take off-- but we've spent
hours within a stones throw of each other.
My garden has an 18" fence on 2 sides and a 4' fence on the other two.
Never saw a turnkey in there. And they've never harmed any of the
vegetation in the flower beds. The turkeys and I get along. The
local flock has gone from 5-20 [up and down from year to year] for 20
years. None has ever done any harm beyond giant turkey poop on the
Now-- squirrels, woodchucks and rabbits. . . nothing good to say about
surrounded by primo habitat. Just never noticed them in the "yard" 'til now.
...wonder if I could train them to the compost.
cats and dogs control the squirrels and bunnies; two of the cats dig moles quite
effectively; not sure I ever have seen a woodchuck. The garden suffers the
occasional bunny munch but nothing serious and the only nuisance "diggers" are
armadillos but they can't seem to make it into my raised veggie beds.
acres that have remained pretty much unmolested since last "cleared" for scrub
cattle in the late '50s or early '60s. The "yard" is nominally 1 acre which gets
mowed a couple of times annually, determined largely by wildflowers and
rainfall. Truth is, I haven't paid much attention to turkeys' comings and
goings; just notice them through a window from time to time and not even daily.
They seem to spend time in the area where I handle firewood; dunno why. Beetles,
maybe. This source, cited by another poster, indicates habituation to people is
commonplace among turkeys; I'd like to avoid that, for sure:
sounds like you got a nice location there. :)
do you control burn any of it to keep the scrub
down and encourage wildflowers?
that would be a good guess, along with the
grubs/catepillars that can also be in bark.
if it's after a wet period they could be
going after the worms or slugs that can come
up underneath the bark and hangout for a while
making mischief (babies!).
if you want to avoid it that can be
accomplished by some loud noises when
they come around and perhaps raking up
the bark/wood scraps and composting them
or burying them deeper.
we have a regular hunting season here
and that seems to keep them skittish.
when they are crossing the road and
the procession is going too slowly
you need to get out of the car. just
be sure to be ready to duck *quack*
back in if a tom decides to defend the
flock (very big mischievious grin).
these parts. None of us associated with the parcel is temperamentally suited to
doing the permitting dance, particularly when chances of success are vanishingly
small. That does not, however, preclude the occasional accidental fire or
careless drive-by smoker, wink. Besides, this is peninsular Florida, USA: If I
undermine the scrub, there's little else left! LOL
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