Friday, August 1, 2014

More Farm Babies

by Pa Rock
Feeder of Feathered Friends

What's new at the zoo?   Four bouncing baby peacocks, or pea-chicks as they are more properly known.    Two appear to be about a month old, and the other two are perhaps a couple of weeks older.   They are currently brown, but the males, if there are any males, will develop into the beautiful India Blue peacocks that are common in American zoos and some parks and wildlife refuges.

I bought the chicks yesterday from a peacock breeder in Willow Springs, Missouri.  I told her that I wanted to acquire two pairs, and she asked me if I knew how to "sex" peacocks (determine their gender).  I didn't, and it turns out that she didn't either.  She led me through a process of checking their "vents" (don't ask), and suggested the we select birds whose vents looked different from one another, then we would likely wind up with some males and some females.  We'll see!

The new babies are safely quartered in my bird nursery, the completely enclosed pen that has been home to the chickens, turkeys, and guineas when they were younger.  The guineas, in fact, just vacated the nursery last week.  For everything there is a season!

All of the young adult poultry made a trip over to peer into the nursery and stare at the new arrivals.  The turkeys were especially mesmerized, and I believe that I even caught one gobbling to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel's At the Zoo.  Or perhaps it was Bend Over, Let Me See You Shake Your Tail Feather - I just can't be sure!

Although the pea-chicks are probably big enough now to survive outside of the nursery, I will keep them there a few weeks so that they feel at home on the farm by the time they are released.  They will be free-range creatures, adding distinctive peacock colors and screams to the local landscape.

In other bird news, the guineas are doing very well as free birds.  The first few days that they were out, the young guineas dutifully gathered at the poultry pen in the evenings.  Then, after just three or four days of freedom, they began to gather on top of the coop at lockup time.  Now they all gather on the roof of the coop at nightfall, and many jump over to the big electric wire that brings power to the coop - where they roost - a long string of birds on a wire!

I know now why people eat turkeys - its the only way to recoup any of the losses that farmers endure on the massive amounts of feed that turkeys consume.  My chickens get most of their daily nourishment eating clover and grass and chasing bugs.  Turkeys do all of that - and still attack the feed containers like construction steam shovels!   They love to eat - and poop!

And that complete's today's edition of More Poop from the Coop!  Please scrape your shoes at the door!

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