jmgoyder

wings and things

My muse is a peachick

Gutsy 9 is one year old today (yes I got the date wrong in a previous post – I thought I found her on November 9!) For those who don’t know, G9 is the peachick I found scurrying around outside on 9 December 2012. I knew she wasn’t a duck or a goose but I thought she might be a chook, or a turkey, or even a guinnea fowl, and it took me awhile to realize she was a peachick. Since none of the peahens seemed to want her, I brought her into the house and raised her until she was big enough to go outside. As she grew, I discovered that she was pied (half white and half blue) and recently that she was a she after all (we had thought she was a he). She is a daily delight – she runs to me whenever she hears my voice and still does funny little twirlies, then follows me like a dog. Here are some photos of her a year ago – on my shoulder, Anthony’s lap and in Ming’s hands – and her birthday photo today. She has brought all of us a great deal of joy.

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Peachick poop

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Now that Gutsy9 is a bit over a month old, he is producing poops that are larger than the size of a pinhead. He still spends a good part of each day on my shoulder, but so far he has only had a couple of little accidents there.

But this morning the thing I’ve been dreading happened. I was on my computer and Gutsy9 was fast asleep on my shoulder with his little face curled into my neck when he suddenly woke up and emitted a strange SPHLATT noise and my entire arm was suffused with heat. Arghhhhhhhhhhh!

I flicked him off and he flew to the ground, then I raced into the shower and washed his humongous droppings off my arm. So now I have my thinking cap on (and a towel on my shoulder because of course Gutsy9 has flown straight back up there), and I am wondering….

He is now accepted by the adult peafowl due to our daily outside integration sessions, however he is still too small to leave with them (a) because he is imprinted on me, and (b) a fox or crow will kill him.

Mmmmmm!

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Tips on raising a baby peacock

As most of you know, a little over three weeks ago I found a newly hatched baby peacock outside, apparently abandoned. I knew that the peahens were nesting here and there but I hadn’t discovered any eggs or nests and two of the peahens seem to have disappeared. They are very good mothers usually but very unwise layers and I surmise they have laid in the paddocks and all of the eggs, chicks and maybe even these two mothers have been killed by foxes.

So I have been raising Gutsy9 myself and he and I are totally imprinted on each other now. He is a pied, so half white and half blue so it will be interesting to watch him grow up. At night he sleeps in a box in the veranda and during the day he sits on my shoulder. Every afternoon I take him out when I feed all of the others and he is less frightened of the adult peas than they are of him. They tend to peck at him a bit but they are slowly getting used to him.

But raising a lone chick of any sort does present a few challenges if you are a human so here are a few tips:

1. Do not take a baby peacock to a restaurant inside your shirt and continually stroke him because it will make you look like you have a breast fetish.
2. Do not allow a baby peacock to kiss you on the lips if he has just had a dinner of mealworms.
3. Do not take a baby peacock to an appointment with a counsellor.
4. Do not succumb to a baby peacock’s 5am crying, get him out of his box, go back to bed and let him sleep on your head because you might find something odd in your hair when you wake up.
5. Do not let a baby peacock sleep on your shoulder with his butt in your face; turn him around so his face is next to yours.
6. Do not put a mirror next to you so you can check what a baby peacock is doing on your shoulder because you will realize that you are developing a double chin.

I hope this has been helpful!

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“You have a pied peacock!”

Well guess what I found out yesterday? Gutsy9 is definitely a male and he is also pied which means he is half blue and half white. So I was probably right about King being the father and one of the white peahens being the mother. A friend who was doing some painting here took one look at him and said “You have a pied peacock!” He was so surprised. Apparently we may find a few more little Gutsys around in the next few weeks but, since I haven’t been able to find any nests, it seems unlikely.

Here is a link to a website that shows pictures of what a pied peacock looks like when it’s fully grown. I found this very interesting.

http://database.amyspeacockparadise.com/blue_pied.html

It's possible, of course,  that Prince might be the father.

It’s possible, of course, that Prince might be the father.

But all of the peahens tend to avoid Prince because he is so immature.

But all of the peahens tend to avoid Prince because he is so immature.

So this must be Mum.

So this must be Mum.

And this must be Dad!

And this must be Dad!

None of Gutsy9’s possible parents, however, will take him under their wings!

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Rejection rescue

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Peahen 4: What is that noisy thing?

Princess 2: It’s definitely not mine!

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Gutsy9: MUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: Argh!

Okay, Gutsy9 is now around 4 days old. I have taken him outside to meet his potential mothers but none of them will take responsibility. They just look at him as if he is an alien and he keeps running back to me anyway. I will keep trying but obviously he will need to get a bit older before he is re-integrated.

In the meantime he is living on my shoulder. I love it!

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Imprinting

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Gosling advice needed for one of my readers please!

I have copy/pasted an interesting query here so if any of you poultry people have advice for Ashley, please comment here or see her comment on my ‘Imprinting’ post from way back. Thanks in advance.

Ashley M commented on Imprinting

While I was driving home 2 nights ago in the pouring rain, I found a newborn gosling in the middle of the road. When I ran and picked him up i looked around for any others or even the mother and it turned out he had been separated. I went to a local feeds store and picked up starting feed. So far, he’s been eating very well and is really happy. He has been following me around at my very heels and hates to be separated from me. So, I’ve had to sleep with every night. I’m assuming he’s imprinted on me and it’s the cutest thing. This morning i didn’t shut my bedroom door all the way and he ended up in my bathroom while i was taking a shower and i ended up putting him in with me. He loved it!!! again, he remained at my feet. I’m only 19 and a freshman in college, thankfully, living on my own in my apartment. I purchased diapers for him so I’m curious to see how that turns out. My concerns are him maturing and learning to fly. I would be so heart broken if he flew away south in the winter and never returned. If you could let me know what else i can do to raise him and what to expect when he matures. Thanks, Ashley!

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Imprinting 2: On the other hand ….

Despite my last post, there is something about this imprinting thing that niggles at my sense of right and wrong, or whatever you want to call it – animal morality? Dunno.

It niggles in the same way that the idea of putting poultry in nappies (see a previous post – many moons ago), niggled. I think it niggles because there is something false and coercive about adopting a baby gosling, duckling, or any infant bird, with the express purpose of imprinting; it seems too much like animal experimentation, almost circus-like.

I put my hand up as someone who was ‘guilty’ of being interested in this imprinting thing – yes. However, when  it soon became apparent that Zaruma (our first duckling), and Pearl (our first gosling), much preferred each other’s company to mine, I realized how silly I was being. After all, they still love me too!

I guess I have always had a strong aversion to coercion so, unless a goose wants to come up and give me a cuddle (a rather bizarre but lovely thing if it happens naturally), I don’t ‘go there’.

Even if I wanted to, guess who would soon stop me? My competitor – Godfrey! And, despite our differences, I have to concede that he is a much better gosling-cuddler than I will ever be because, last time I looked in the mirror, I was still a human. Go Godfrey!

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Imprinting

I find the phenomenon of imprinting absolutely fascinating and it was one of the things that got me interested in acquiring some geese in the first place. Apparently, birds imprint on humans and other species more readily than any other kind of animal, with geese being the most ‘imprintable’.

Basically, imprinting occurs when the newborn gosling knows itself to be of the same species as the first creature it encounters. Obviously, this is usually the mother goose but if the newborn is adopted by a human soon after hatching, or else is found abandoned, it will attach itself to the adopter with incredible tenacity. The article below describes imprinting in more detail.

http://www.thegoosesmother.com/id6.html

When I first heard about imprinting and geese, I desperately wanted to do it (a lonely moment of madness perhaps?) and, yes, it certainly did happen with all of the goslings, even when we purchased them at a week old. For example, Pearl, Woodroffe and Diamond (our Sebastopol goslings), and Ola and Seli (our Pilgrim goslings) were, from the very beginning, very pattable, pick-up-able and needy of my presence in their lives.

They’re a little big now to pick up but they still follow me everywhere. The imprinting thing didn’t happen with Godfrey, the godfather of gandersom, because we got him at two years of age. He only follows me when he wants to get a bite out of my leg!

I love it!

 

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