I’ve always loved our native Pukeko (until recently) with the vibrant colours, the cute little white bum, and distinctive call. They stick together as a family and baby Pukeko are super cute; we’ve all seen the Genesis advert with the two adult Pukeko painting a road crossing for their lovely little baby. So adorable right?
But then they grow up, band together, and wreak havoc! I ordered a whole bunch of seedlings from the lovely people at Awapuni Nurseries, and they arrived all wrapped in paper looking healthy and ready to plant. Mum came over and helped me get everything into the garden that we’d already prepped.
The next morning I got up and looked out the window and saw EIGHT pukeko taking a great interest in my newly planted garden. There was barely time to throw on a robe and run outside yelling profusely with our dog Cruz excitedly following me. Alas I was too late and found about 13 seedlings had been pulled out of the ground, snapped in half and left there, the little buggers didn’t even eat them!
My war with the Puk had begun! First thing to do was protect the garden as best I could, off to Bunnings to buy a garden tent, but when I got home it only covered two garden beds. To cover the rest I found some netting that I thought would work … but it didn’t, the Puk landed on it and managed to get to pull out the seedlings again the next morning, grrrrrrrr.
We now had all eight Puk living at the end of the garden watching my every move, ready to decimate anything in the garden they could get their pesky beaks on, they had even decided that the ponies water trough was a swimming pool and were happily flapping about in it!
That’s when I turned to the Google to see what actions could be taken to get rid of them. I found a rather humorous forum where people had suggested everything from trapping them and relocating, to keeping a cat in your garden (lol) or shooting one and hanging it upside down on a pole over the garden – apparently that scares the rest of them off for good. None of these methods were sit well (and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to shoot them) with me as I do like the Puk and don’t wish them any harm.
Instead I came up with a plan ..I got a very loud whistle and started to train our dog Cruz, every time we saw a Puk (my desk looks over the garden) I’d blow the whistle and run outside with Cruz flapping my arms, Cruz would hesitantly run after them (he’s a little afraid of Puk but with my encouragement he got the idea). We kept this up for three days, on day four I found all I had to do was blow the whistle and they’d all take off – success!!
I’m writing this three weeks later and all Puk are steering clear of our front lawn and garden, they’ve retired to the end of the sheep paddock where I hope they’ll happily stay.
This is our neighbours impressive netting over a patch of lawn where he’s growing new grass.
*If you haven’t seen the Genesis advert with the cute Pukeko click here it’s only 30 seconds long and worth the watch.
**If you’re very fond of Pukeko and have a few friendly ones that you’d like to train click here for behind the scenes footage of Paddy and Penny the two famous adult Pukeko in the Genesis advert.
***If you’re not very fond of them here’s the link to the amusing forum Food Forum about pesky Pukeko.