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Article: The Turkeys Are Coming! Should we welcome wild turkeys to our gardens?: Turkeys in a Michigan garden.

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Forum: Article: The Turkeys Are Coming! Should we welcome wild turkeys to our gardens?Replies: 2, Views: 23
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audsrz
Traverse City, MI
(Zone 5a)

November 22, 2012
7:45 AM

Post #9339856

I've read the many interesting articles about turkeys adapting to urban life. I had a couple of points to add.
Although turkeys do not carry any disease that can cross to humans, their scat can carry parvo, which is deadly to your pets. My dogs are always immunized as I can not keep the turkeys out of my yard. The local flock has become so adapted to urban life, they look upon the neighborhood bird feeders like a giant buffet line and can be found some where in our subdivision from daybreak until sunset when they return to the forest to roost.
Turkeys do not specieasize. I.E. if it is near the same size and shape, they assume it's a turkey. I can not find any scientific articles to back up this claim, but I've heard many a humorous story from my poultry farming friends about their tom's trying to breed with the dog, chickens, geese etc. Needless to say, if you are bent over pulling dead leaves out of a bed, they assume you are a really ugly hen who has found some food and will come right up to you. I've gotten in the habit of checking over my shoulder now and again when working in the gardens. There is nothing like finishing a task to stand up, turn around and find an entire flock five feet away staring at you.
Although turkeys prefer flight to fight, don't forget that the toms do have spurs and can defend themselves when harassed. Again, my poultry breeding friends have to have special 'jackets' for some of the hens during mating season as some of the new toms don't have the hang of it yet and inadvertently rake the backs of the females, causing long open wounds.
One last note; if you are sending me seeds, please don't tell the turkeys :-)

This message was edited Nov 22, 2012 11:09 AM

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

November 22, 2012
7:58 AM

Post #9339872

That was interesting stuff audsrz!
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 22, 2012
8:22 AM

Post #9339883

Good information to know! I hadn't found anything about communicable diseases when I was writing the article, so I appreciate the heads-up about the parvo. I did know about that mating issue... not firsthand, thankfully. The young toms will also take turns, practicing I suppose, definitely not good for the hen they find, and you make a good point -- I sure wouldn't leave my small dog or pet rooster outside during mating season with them around.

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