Peacocks.

  

I have been breeding peacocks for a number of years. I think God had a sense of humour when he made them. They can be annoying and extremely noisy and messy but the males are the most stunningly beautiful animals. The mating calls all night in spring/summer can be a bit trying but you do get used to it, really.

They are not the easiest to bred from, mine are free range and tend to nest anywhere, so foxes tend to claim them while they are sitting, and I have lost a few hens this way. The chicks are also very vunerable when small so I try to lock them up for a week or so, if I can catch them. 

I have done a number of nightime raids on the hen and her chicks, usually successfully but not without dramas. One night I had caught all the chicks which my daughter had in a box and I was carrying the hen when I walked into a huge spider web, spider included. I almost dropped the hen but fortunately the spider did not land on me but hit the ground. Nonetheless my screams would have put the peacock to shame.

Young peachicks can fly after a week or two so they can then go up into the tree with their mother and so are usually safe from foxes. They still manage to disappear though, and last year I lost five, they disappeared one after the other to goodness knows where. They would be safer if I could keep them locked up until they are older but I find they do not really thrives if they are locked up too long They seem to need 'wild food' such as seeds and insects. I have also tried to rear them under hens but once again they do not really thrive but do better with their real mother.

I have white ones as well as the standard blues and they are just as magnificent in full tail feathers. The hens however, are very vulnerable to foxes when sitting.

My peas perch in a tree above the dog yards and sometimes when the dogs are barking and I go outside and call out, "be quiet you dogs" the peacock joins in and drowns me out with his wild call.

They are good watch dogs and will let you know if there is a hawk or a fox around and will also make a fuss if it is going to rain.

The hen only usually lays one batch of eggs per year and if that fails she will not lay again until next year. The laying season is from December to February, here in Western Australia.

  They do sometime pick ridiculous places to make nests. We had one lay her eggs on the ground in a race where we occasionaly work the sheep. I tried to protect her but eventually something got her eggs, perhaps crows, dogs or a fox.

They will lay about 4 to 8 eggs.

Pea chicks are wonderful little creatures and we hand reared one once and he was a great pet. His name was Chicky and he only lived for six months, as he had health problems. 

This year I bought a few more to make up the numbers and they have settled in well. 

Although my husband does disagree, I love having them around.