How To Get Rid Of Brush Turkeys In The Garden

For people who have tried and failed, knowing how to get rid of brush turkeys in the garden is one skill they’ll pay a king’s ransom to learn. Luckily, we have covered every possible detail that can help you rid your garden of brush turkeys without killing them in this article.

The presence of brush turkeys in the neighbourhood could be a cause for delight especially if they are appearing for the first time. The large, usually shaped birds look so harmless and kids love them. This impression could quickly change though, by the time a male brush turkey picks a garden for its breeding ground.

Then the destruction of the well-tended garden gets underway. In a few hours, or at most a day, it would strip away carefully laid mulch to build mounds needed for laying eggs and incubation. Beds planted with crops are not spare in this single-minded determination to build a befitting mound.

And once they start building, it is hard to chase them away. They keep coming back to that particular spot to rebuild a destroyed mound.

How To Get Rid Of Brush Turkeys In The Garden

When it comes to getting rid of brush turkeys from your garden, a multi-prong strategy is the best way to go about it. This is because apart from fencing the harden with high walls or calling pest control experts to remove them, no single strategy has proven effective against the wily and resourceful birds.

Small successes can be achieved with some methods. In many cases though, these are only temporal. Other birds replace the previous ones -the task of getting rid of them would have to resume all over again. For many, this is an unending and frustrating circle that doesn’t get easier with experience.

To be clear, killing them is not an option because, like most wildlife, they are protected birds.

Before getting into how to get rid of the birds, let’s take a look at some of their behavioral patterns.

What Attracts Brush Turkeys to a Garden

In the wild, brush turkeys prefer living in rainforests due to the abundance of moisture and shade. Many areas, including gardens, are a perfect replica of this kind of environment: lots of shade provided by trees and wet soil. Better still, in gardens, natural brush turkey predators are unlikely to be a problem.

Other attractions found in gardens are mulch and compost heap. And you can’t discount the food sources that make a garden an idyllic environment for breeding. They would feast on food left outside for pets such as cats and dogs like chicken pellets or biscuits. There have been several reported cases of the birds chasing away or attacking pets to get at their food.

If your unprotected garden fits this description, a male brush turkey would definitely attempt to invade the garden no matter how many times you chase it away.

Keeping Brush Turkey Away from Your Garden

An effective strategy for tackling this problem revolves around two broad themes: getting rid of them if they are already in the garden or preventing them from establishing a base in the garden.

Top Brush Turkey Deterrents Tips

Replace the garden with concrete slabs – This method is as extreme as killing the birds. In this case, though, it is the garden that’d be ‘killed’ once and for all by replacing it with cement.

You want to do this only if you hate the sight of the birds so much you don’t mind losing the garden; and nothing you have tried has worked. This is a very stressful method but with a very high success rate.

Without the trees, soil, garden beds, and mulch, the is nothing in the property to attract them. Perhaps a wandering bird might stroll into the concrete yard to eat the pet food lying outside. But it would certainly wander off immediately it is done eating.

Use chicken mesh – you could cover the entire garden with chicken mesh. To be very effective, you’ll need to pin the mesh to the ground with tent pegs or heavy stones.

With a wire mesh covering the ground, the brush turkey would find it very uncomfortable trying to rake the leaves and mulch with its claws. The claws would get caught by the mesh.

This method can be hard to implement if you have a very large garden. You have to be aware though that once the mesh is removed, a different bird is likely to make your garden their territory. So the chicken mesh needs to be in place all year round.

Another disadvantage of a chicken mesh is that it takes down the beauty of your garden a notch or two if you are keen on garden aesthetics.

Use Dynamic filter – If you can get hold of a dynamic filter with a strong and offensive stench, applying it over gardens beds and any brush turkey budding nest should chase the birds away.

This method has variable success rates. In many instances, the brush turkeys come back after a few weeks when, hopefully, the lifter has broken down and no longer gives off bad smells.

Large mirrors – Some people have had varying degrees of success chasing brush turkeys out of their garden using mirrors. With a mirror placed strategically in the garden, their reflection on the mirror gives the impression of another male turkey being around.  This might scare them off.

But this method is unlikely to work when the male brush turkey has already built a mound for the female to lay her eggs. At this point, it takes more than a reflection from a mirror to make them leave what they consider their property.

Call in the pros – If all your strategies have failed, it is time to deploy the big guns. In this case, a call to a professional pest controller is all that is needed. You can get their contact details after a simple online search. You could also ask neighbors to suggest reliable firms to handle the problem for you.

Pest controllers set traps to capture the birds without harming them. Their job description is, basically, to relocate the birds to a different environment where they won’t be a nuisance to you or your neighbors.

Baring the use of pest control experts or replacing the garden with concrete, it is hard chasing them away when they are already entrenched in a well-established mound. A war against them at this stage could prove very damaging to the garden owner.

But you could still try any of the following methods (in addition to the above) to solve the problem:

  • Try and restrict access to the mound with a heavy-duty tarpaulin weighed down with stones. A black plastic or shade cloth can be used too.
  • Since brush turkeys love the shade, you could cut or prune the vegetation providing the shade for their mounds. Eliminating this cover would nudge them into moving elsewhere
  • You could try establishing the perfect breeding ground at a different location in the garden. Build a compost mound under a tree with good shade. This should attract the resident brush turkey to that area and ultimately use the compost mound to build the breeding nest.

Tips To Planning A Garden Against Brush Turkeys

  1. The following are tips that should make it hard for brush turkeys to destroy newly-planted gardens or the mulched areas of a garden.
  2. Place gravel or small stones at the base of the stems of budding plants. This would make it hard for the new plants to be dug up.
  3. If it is possible, you could fence the area around the garden with large sticks having numerous branches (tree guards). This easy fencing method makes it hard for the birds to get into the area.
  4. When developing the garden, do it in stages instead of all at once. And you could time it so that new plantings are done outside the birds’ breeding season. Don’t forget to provide adequate protection for the plants in each stage.
  5. Use heavier mulch that is hard to rake.
  6. You could landscape the garden with a combination of rocks and climbing or low growing plants such as Lomandra and Dianella. Like heavy mulch, this makes brush turkey raking very difficult.


Brush turkeys play a vital role when it comes to natural pest control. In gardens and woodland habitats, they control the proliferation of insects and grubs by preying on them. Also, their feces help to disperse native vegetation seeds.

But during their breeding season, they can be as destructive as the worst garden pests. Being natural builders, they rake mulch and leaves to build their mounds on garden beds – an activity that effectively destroys valuable crops. They are can destroy a garden in less than a day. This makes brush turkey control strategies an imperative for garden owners in areas populated by these birds.

The best control strategies revolve around preventing them from getting access to the garden since killing them is not an option. Essentially, making the garden very uncomfortable for them is the foundation for getting rid of brush turkeys. As a last resort when deterrent and preventive measures fail, replacing the garden with concrete or calling pest control experts are two solutions boasting hundred percent success rates.