••• tiff firth photography •••

Monday, December 3, 2012

peacock babies

 Celia, our Pea Hen, brought 6 chicks out of hiding yesterday. This is her second time round as a Mum again and I'm enthralled with her transformation.

She fluffs up her feathers so she is much larger so the chicks have room under/near her for protection and shelter. She has this special little cluck just for them. It's her 'come here' noise, and at this stage, the run to see what she wants. Wherever she pecks on the ground, so do they. She often holds things in her beak for them to eat. She's teaching them what they can eat. She sits down often so the little chicks can rest. As soon as she sits, so do they. If she closes her eyes just for a tick, so do they. When she preens, so do they.

Last year she had four chicks of which three survived. I do wonder how long she will have room under her for 6. And I don't know if she sleeps much at night. Until the chicks can fly up to roost in the olive tree, she stays on the ground with them. She's very vigilant and she's scanning around her all the time. We have had the occasional visit by a feral black cat, but I think I've scared him off last time (bang). But we do have foxes even tho we bait for them. We haven't lost any chooks, but I know the foxes are around).

So far, Ben, (the male peacock) is not allowed into the family unit. It's not until he drops his tail feathers (in about a month's time) that he's included. Then he takes on his part of the parenting role.

It's been such a revelation to watch them as parents last year. We sat out there near her and the brood and just watched. After a few days she was so relaxed with us that Annie could pick up a chick and she didn't get stressed.

Last year, when the chicks left, the parents cried. It was so very heart breaking to watch them go round and round the house, and call and cry out for their babies. They really went into mourning for a few days. I really didn't expect such emotion from the peacocks. But believe me, they do feel too.

All the peacock chicks have homes in a couple of months time. I'm having a friend's husband who's really into his poultry, help me sex them. Until they are are a bit bigger I have no idea how many of which sort we have.

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