wings and things

Swings and roundabouts 2

The two photos I put up in yesterday’s post had absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote and I only added them because, having been on the phone for nearly two hours, trying to get the internet back from its little holiday, I could! So here is my attempt to interpret what those two photos (and a few others) actually mean.


Prince – white peacock
Martha and Mary – the two white chooks
Whoopie – the new chook with the fancy hairdo

Prince: What the hell?
Mary to Martha: Quick! Hide! There’s a huge creature on the other side of the fence!

Martha to Mary: I think it’s okay. He just did this little purry thing in his throat. Anyway, we’re safe in this yard.
Mary: A purry thing! Martha, do you not realise that he is probably flirting with us?
Martha: Yeah, but you have to admit he is kind of cute.
Mary: Cut your beak off, Martha!

Prince: I’m not sure whether these strange, short, ugly things are my cup of tea after all.
Mary: See, Martha, not only does he talk to himself, he’s insulting. Ignore him!

Prince: Okay, so I’m not that good at introductions, but to be rejected so soon by these two whatever-they-ares is very disturbing.


Prince: Indifference hurts.


Whoopie: Is the coast clear yet?

Note 1: Whoopie was given to me by a friend who breeds beautiful poultry – thanks so much, Jane!

Note 2: When I first began writing this blog, Anthony was still at home, but ailing. We started to accumulate guinnea fowl and chooks because Ants remembered having these as a young boy/teenager and I wanted to cheer us all up. But then I got a teensy bit carried away with the whole bird thing (as past blog posts reveal ha!) It’s good, now, to begin again with just a few chooks…. even though this bewilders the peacocks!


The wild birds!

We have a lot of crows, parrots, doves, magpies, willy wagtails, wrens, and other wild birds, who hang around a lot more then they used to here. This is obviously due to the overabundance of wheat (which is what I give all of the peafowl, guinnea fowl, and the gang).

This afternoon I decided to sit down and watch quietly as the wild birds fluttered and tiptoed into the tame birds’ little sanctuary. Tomorrow I plan to take better photos but here are a couple of Gutsy9 sharing a bowl of wheat with two crested pigeons.



(I actually thought these guys were doves until I googled their description. I feel really knowledgeable now.)


Duckling update – some sad and happy news


The four ducklings are, unfortunately, now three because the biggest little one kept adventuring off by himself, including getting out of the pen when our dogs were out. (To explain, we let the dogs, Jack and Blaze, out every morning for their run, then put them back in their yard at 1pm which is when we let the geese, duck, ducklings and turkey out. In the evening, once the birds are in their pens and Queenie and chicks in the tree, we let the dogs out again.)

Two days ago we found the little duckling’s corpse on the driveway. He had obviously gotten out of the pen when the dogs were out. Or it may have been a fox or crow. It would have been very quick but that’s not much comfort. He was a nonconformist from the start and didn’t hang with the gang very well. Here he is a few days ago, always on the other side of the fence or turning in the opposite direction to the others. He was a wanderer.


One of the hardest things about free-ranging birds of any sort is that casualties are inevitable. Ever since we began to accumulate various birds, I have learned this the hard way and I guess that’s why I got four ducklings instead of two. And I didn’t name them for the same reason although, if this little one had survived, I would have called him ‘Peppy”.

Since Peppy’s demise, Godfrey (head gander) and Zaruma (head drake) and all of the other geese have been much more vigilant in protecting and surrounding the remaining three ducklings. Godfrey is particularly attentive – he is like a male mother! He has now bitten me twice when I have come too close. Zaruma, on the other hand, just follows the ducklings constantly, wagging his tail madly. I haven’t seen him so happy since we lost his mate, Tapper. The rest of the ‘gang’ are also heavily involved in the care of the ducklings and hate losing sight of them for even a second. Godfrey and Zaruma are pictured above leading the ducklings (out of the frame, but just behind them) to the yard.

Here is a picture of Woodroffe, Seli and Pearl beckoning the ducklings out from under a shed.


Once the ducklings are a bit bigger – and they are growing fast – they will no longer be able to squeeze through the fence of the yard they go to bed in. In the meantime Ming and I will have to be much more watchful when it comes to the dogs.

Nature can be beautiful but it can also be cruel.



Ever since the peachicks entered our lives, over a week ago, everybird has become very attentive at sundown, including this young couple (the peahen is the second one to finally return although without chicks).
Prince is also quite interested in how Queenie gets the chicks to bed (notice how he has lost all of his long tail feathers – all the peacocks have now).
Gutsy9 is a bit jealous and is always right next to me. If I crouch down, she offers her neck to be stroked.
While Queenie is stirring the chicks up, preparing them for their bedtime transition to the avocado tree, I put the geese, duck and turkey into their yard for the night. I have been trying to flood their pen in order to create a kind of pond for them and it is working.
Queenie and the peachicks take ages to get ready for bed.
So I take a photo of the fig tree while I wait.
The younger peahen flies into the yard to encourage Queenie.
King (undoubtedly the father) also flies into the yard and takes a protective stance.
And then the magic begins. The bigger chick actually leads the way!
Queenie has to help the smaller chick.
But it comes back down again to say goodnight to me.

This is around the same time (7.30-8pm) that Anthony often suffers ‘Sundowner syndrome’ so, once I leave the birds and go into the house, I always ring the nursing home to say goodnight to him. As he almost never answers the phone himself I usually have to get the nurse-in-charge to enable a conversation. Lately Ants has been okay, delusional but not upset. He often thinks he is either at boarding school, a hospital, a party, or a pub.

I tell him about the birds, and say goodnight, with a sense of tentative peace, which is probably how Queenie feels at the top of that avocado tree (can you spot her?)


The happy couple

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I’m still struggling with asthma (I realize now this is most likely due to having the old carpets ripped out the other day). So I’m not keeping up with other blogs very well at the moment.

Anyway, the pics are of our older two peafowl, King peacock on the left and his adoring Queenie. They kind of remind me of Anthony and me!



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Gutsy9 has now been living outside for 16 days. To begin with, he was sleeping in a big cage within a pen, but he has now graduated to sleeping outside the cage because he is tall enough to drink from the water container without the risk of drowning.

Zaruma and Tapper (married Muscovy ducks) have taken a liking to him so I put them in the same pen as G9 for the night, with the geese and turkeys in a separate pen.

When I go out to the pens in the morning to let them all out for the day, all the birds go crazy with delight but G9 literally jumps for joy to see me and sometimes twirls himself around in a little happy dance before following me across the lawn and into the back veranda of the house.

He followed me into the bathroom today, asking for a cuddle!


Learning about loss

This morning Ming had to put our beautiful Malay rooster out of its misery because it had been injured by one of our dogs who somehow got to him despite pen arrangements.

Malay was one of the chicks that hatched here under a shed and grew up to be majestic, proud and confident. He was able to fly up into a tree if he sensed danger. He must have been taken by surprise and I feel a sense of devastation and guilt.

Blaze (miniature dachschund) and Jack (Irish terrier) have never attempted to kill any of the peafowl or guinnea fowl, or even the geese. They go for the chooks, so I have decided that it is too risky to have chooks anymore. The wild foxes get them too despite all my protective methods (fox lights, sturdy yards etc.)

I am learning a lot about loss lately.



Post publication note: For some reason this post is backwards! Sorry. I hope it still makes sense!

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Can we go back inside now, Julie?

Can we go back inside now, Julie?

She said yes too but then she pecked me!

She said yes too but then she pecked me!

Are you my mum?

Are you my mum?

Could this be my real mum, Julie?

Could this be my real mum, Julie?

He said yes!

He said yes!

Are you my dad?

Are you my dad?

Is that my dad, Julie?

Is that my dad, Julie?


There is nothing like having a peacock on your shoulder!

Over the last few days I have derived an enormous amount of joy and comfort from an unexpected gift – Gutsy9 – the little peachick who mostly lives on my shoulder.

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Gutsy9: I love it here!

Gutsy9: I love it here!

Could I stay a bit longer? It's only early.

Could I stay a bit longer? It’s only early.

Yay - this is heaven!

Yay – this is heaven!