Brisbane Local Food

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The ongoing Turkey saga: Turkey 3, Andy 0

I thought I'd best stop hijacking Mr Riley's blog with my Turkey saga.

You'll recall the story so far: 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland yesterday

Hey Dianne, I don't expect Bobbie to pick the difference between a turkey and chook.  But, he is actually quite suspicious of our new visitor.  I'm gonna git me a gun! (well, a water one).  

Hear that Dave?!  Now we get to blast things with water guns! We can't set fire to them - but maybe some wee in that gun?  

Comment by Dave Riley yesterday

Elaine's right -- as she so often is: water pistol weaponry. Some suggestions that using strong odors and chilli powder  or coating the soil in mesh wire will work.

One guy in aleafy Brisbane burb used plastic pink flamingos to good effect. Raised em high so that they threatened to swoop.

Comment by Dianne Caswell yesterday

You have treated these dogs like too much of the family, they just don't know their role in life. Good on You....

Comment by Andrew Cumberland yesterday

I have a young one as well, for the first time this year.  Luckily, it's been distracted by the spilled grain around the chicken coop (I bet it gives my girls lice!), but it's also digging around out the front.  Heaven help me when it discovers the raised beds.  Young Bobbie (my dog) has proved a big disappointment in the turkey chasing stakes. 

Comment by Elaine coolowl on Sunday

The Bush Turkey that scrapes mulch is the male. Suggest arming yourself with a water pistol and wetting the thing. The only real way to deal with it (apart from killing it which is not allowed unless you can find a sneaky way of doing it) is to erect a 2metre high fence around the garden. Having a lid on it helps too. It's a big ask with your extensive garden, hence the water pistol suggestion. Assuming you can find or build one.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on Sunday

I am so lucky I don't have a Bush Turkey in the garden but the Rainbow Lorikeets & Sulphur Crested are driving me mad. I Have an Elaeocarpus grandis (Blue Quandong) and they come for the flowers and small nuts whilst at the same time chewing off small branches, and what is under the tree (that is as high as a 3 story house), the Vegi Garden. The birds come in about 3 times a day so I have a mess to clean up as often.

Would love to see a Write Up on the 'Spinaches'. Tonight we are having a Boneless Lamb Roast stuffed with Warrigal Greens, Onion, Ginger Mint and Pine Nuts. I just love finding out about all the different greens I can grow and eat. Thanks for your input.

Comment by Dave Riley on Sunday

Tragically my garden has been recently discovered by the town's Bush Turkey who now thinks he/she is in bliss: mulch, verdant habitat, up and down beds...

Every day it comes to visit. And it comes back if chased away.

My dogs are useless.

It's me vs the bird.

The Coyote and The Roadrunner.

Every morning I get up to feed the chooks and every morning now there's a Bush Turkey rummaging in my vegetable garden. So every morning I'm chasing the bird around like a witch with a broom. But I don't have a broom so my martial arts skills kicked in this morning as I picked chokoes and three them at the bird.
BAM! Take that you poultry marauder! BIFF! 
It jumped the fence but was back in 20 minutes. 
So I picked up one of the dogs and went hunting with it in my arms. 
I was gonna say: Look! Attack that!
But the darn bird was no where to be seen...

But I'm not allowed to kill this poultry.It being fauna ...(and besides there's only two in the whole town -- they live in the school grounds. Peacocks own the swamp -- TRUE! -- and we're Bird Central. An avian hub. So you can't begrudge any species.). 'Turkey' is not derivative of menu attributes... The bugger was back this afternoon and I picked up the Jack Russell and gave chase...thinking it's like carrying a machine gun in a violin case. If it was a Blue Tongue Lizard or rodent he'd stiffen and struggle to get at it. But birds...After all these years I've given so much to canines. Walked them. Picked up their poo. Squeezed their anal glands...all the good times we've shared-- you'd think there would be some pay back,I could count on. One bird. Just one bird dealt with is all I ask....

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Comment by Dave Riley on June 13, 2015 at 22:08

Bush Turkey update:

Fortunately only the one bird visits -- touch wood.

At least every morning and often again during each day we clash. I throw stuff and it jumps the fence. A war of attrition.

But I'm learning protective measures:

  • Bamboo skewers: I've been inserting these in the garden beds among my vulnerable plants and the method works. Some sections of my garden now look like porcupines. I have to keep checking the beds so that I can keep up the installation of these spikes but I'm trying to shepherd the bird towards the sweet potato mounds rather than my  east/west beds. So if I plant anything in way of seeds or seedlings, I need to also embed the area with spikes.Long term I'm looking for a supply of knitting needles! I've also worked out that if I can  use sticks or twigs  as a perimeter round plants I can also protect them that way too.

A recent snapshot of my garden

  • Fence handicappers: While Bush turkeys can fly, in my neighborhood this bird has to jump up to the top of the 1.5 metre high wood or corrugated iron fences on both sides of my garden to gain entry. So I've strung a loose line of twine 15-25 cm above the top of the fence to discourage the bird from making a landing. It certainly hesitates -- and it also knows that its exits are limited to certain spots along the fence line where it can get a reasonable 'leap' angle. So it has to steeple chase to get into and out of my garden. This won't stop the visits but it may limit their number and frequency.
  • Cacti: It was clear that the bird went no where near the huge cactus along the fence line in my neighbour's yard. So I harvested some of its long stems and simply laid them flat on the ground to protect some planted areas. This seems to work.I went to harvest some Bougainvillea  overhanging from my other neighbour but they'd -- reasonable enough -- pulled  the vicious creature out. But I was going to deploy sections of that as a sort of earth level barbed wire. These birds are big bodied and do require a large turning circle to navigate around the beds. So my strategy is spike -- and ouch! -- driven.
  • Scare Turkey: I can't find any literature on scaring devices for bush turkeys aside from 'pink flamingoes' but since the bird must enter my yard blind -- as it cannot see over the fence before it leaps -- I'm thinking some form of bird scarer may work. But once it got used to the object it would ignore it. Afterall it visits every-darn-day! I also suspect that since I have chooks, the turkey presumes my patch is poultry friendly. The other problem is that people are feeding the bird and it so brilliantly coexists within a milieu occupied by many dogs.It doesn't use the roads to get fence hops backyard by backyard...and most yards are empty places -- just lawns and maybe one or two trees...with roaming dogs, more often than not -- two per yard.. So how can I scare the bird more than they can? Imagine how many fences and how many yards it must negotiate to get to mine...

Of all the  kitchen gardens in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.


Comment by Andrew Cumberland on June 5, 2015 at 20:23

You wanna borrow my water gun, Rob?

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on June 5, 2015 at 18:38

Thanks for posting the photo Rob, now I know what they were sitting in my tree - hopefully they come back.

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on June 5, 2015 at 18:35

Thanks for posting the photo Rob.  I had 3 (I think they were on a family outing) in my trees and had no idea what they were - had tried to describe them to no avail). Hope they come back.

Comment by Rob Collings on June 5, 2015 at 18:15

Yes Eline, aren't they beautiful, I think its the female. There are 3 call patterns I've herd from these guys. 1, had me stumped for quite a while.

Comment by Lissa on June 5, 2015 at 4:38


Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 5, 2015 at 4:16

Is it a Pheasant Coucal Rob?

Comment by Rob Collings on June 4, 2015 at 22:59

I'm lucky, no turkeys so far this winter, but this big bird is meant to be eating small mammals and insects, they leave my garden in tact too!

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on May 16, 2015 at 22:26

I was awoken this morning around 7.00am by screaming children.  Five to be precise.  Oh, what a broad smile crossed my lips!  I pictured the band of little tykes dressed in their camo gear, toatting AK47s and stalking down their prey.  My plan has come to fruition. 

No, they weren't screaming things like, "Die, you muvva-*****"   What they were calling was the sweet, sweet sound of victory.  "Percy. Come on Percy.  We've got food."  

It cost me a few handfuls of quality grain (which would have only lasted a day).  God bless those littlies.  They're feeding him bread and scraps from home.  

As Bobbie and I snuggled back down under the covers, I could only tell him, "Yes Bobbie.  There is a Santa Claus!"

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on May 16, 2015 at 19:08

My pet hate - they nearly drove me mad digging up the garden and gathering all the mulch to make nests - had to be awfully fast to move the mulch around again as the birds and their nests are protected by law, you aren't even supposed to relocate so Andy be careful if you catch the b......dy thing.  I found that blasting them with the hose helped, they move very fast with a jet blast of water and now they are chased by both the cat and dog so they must be visiting someone else -  Yea a win for me.

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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