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Peacocks!

Peter © Fred and Tunie Moreno

One of the loveliest things about the internet is ‘meeting’ people from all over the world. Tunie (peacockmom on Ravelry) PM’d me, oh, last year or so, on Ravelry, and we’ve corresponded since.  She lives in Western Australia, in the area known as the Rainbow Coast, with her husband Fred and a variety of animals…including peacocks!

I thought it would be fun to have Tunie answer some questions about peacocks.

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Steph:  What kind of peacocks do you have?

Tunie:  Our peacocks are Indian Blues. We did have one of the pure white ones, but it was killed by an eagle the day after arrival since it was so easily visible here in the forest. There is a sub variety that is pure white and they are not albino, but just have pure white feathers.

How did you get started with peacocks?

Peter walked with his brother (the white one) from the other end of our peninsula where the original peacocks were brought down from Perth (a 5 hour drive north of us) many years ago. I think that flock got too large and the 2 males who came to our end of the peninsula were looking for their own territory. Sadly, Peter was alone until Patrick appeared from the forest a year later. Peter had either a white mother or father and some of his wing feathers were white. We can tell his offspring by the white feathers which appear in the same place. Some of our peacocks don’t have them so we know those are Patrick’s offspring.

Dandie's chicks © Fred and Tunie Moreno

Peter (my Ravatar) arrived on the morning of our 35th wedding anniversary (9 years ago) which was amazing to us. Fred gave him some bread and he adopted us and stayed until a fox killed him. A peahen must have heard Peter and Patrick calling in the Spring and arrived and has been with us ever since. The males take about 3 years to fully mature, but the peahens can hatch their own chicks at one year of age.

Do you have to worry about predation?

We’ve had chicks taken by kookaburras, hawks, eagles, falcons, owls and even magpies. It is a hard fact of life here in the forest. We have 3 kinds of eagles here and all of them like the peacocks of any size. They will kill the large ones and take the meat back to their nestlings. We’ve also lost a couple to tiger snakes (a deadly member of the cobra family). It has been hard to deal with, but we have learned to accept this aspect of having our peas in the wild. Nonetheless, our group has grown to an even dozen this year in spite of losses to wildlife.

Chicks on front walk © Fred and Tunie Moreno

Can you tell more more about the babies? 

The peahens lay their eggs in October and sit on them for 29 days. When they hatch, the chicks are up here immediately. The peahens show their chicks where the fresh water is and we always have turkey crumble (starter food) and oats and barley for them. We also have small sized dog kibble for them and choose the best quality we can find at the stock feed store with no salt or dairy added.

We usually expect the peachicks to arrive around Thanksgiving and up to Christmas. The mothers take them on “field trips” around the yard and are always on guard watching for hawks or eagles. They will act as decoys after taking the chicks to hide in a shrub until the danger is passed.

What do peacocks eat?

They all eat bugs, moths, small lizards and tiny snakes, worms, spiders, etc. They also love white flower blossoms as well as bougainvillea and fuchsia blossoms.

How long do they usually live?

I did a bit of research regarding life spans and it suggests that in the wild, we can expect 20 years while in captivity 40 years is not unusual.

© Fred and Tunie Moreno

Our friend and vet to our male corgi would make house calls at the end of his (our corgi’s) life and she said the peacocks looked extremely happy and healthy to her. They have the “roosties” which are branches my husband attached to the outside wall next to my kitchen window. The peas love to roost on them and watch me cook as well as get out of the wind or rain.

They also have some shaded areas in the yard as well as a large roof overhang to get out of the sun/rain. They particularly like the ten inch diameter posts we sunk into the ground in various locations for them to perch upon. They like to stand on on these and survey their surroundings.

I’ve heard peacocks and they can be loud!  Are they like that all the time?

To be honest, yes, they can be quite noisy at times, but since we love them so much, we just laugh when they make the noises. We are quite isolated here and almost no one else lives here in this “wilderness preserve” between 2 national forests. I think peacocks would be a problem in a normal suburban neighborhood since undoubtedly some people would object to their calls on a moonlit night. But the noisy periods are few and of short duration usually in the Spring.

What else would you like to tell us?

Peacock sleeping tree © Fred and Tunie Moreno

I have added a pic of the sleeping tree taken just after the males who use it on the left side had jumped off. They leave the tree when the sun rises and come up here for a drink and breakfast. They go back to their chosen tree branch at sunset. The females and their chicks sleep in a tree just outside our bedroom window and we love watching them go to their branch and snuggle under the peahens until they get so large that they sleep along side. They stay with their mother until she has a new hatching and then the year old chicks move into a near by tree of their own. The peahens stay in the tree near our bedroom. Right now we have 2 peahens with 5 chicks born in Nov and December sleeping in that tree. They fly down every morning to join the males for breakfast.

© Fred and Tunie Moreno

I hope this will encourage anyone with a lot of land to welcome peafowl into their lives. They are quite smart and have distinctive personalities. Ours know their names and come when we call them. Peacocks are quite sociable and curious. We often find them leaning into the windows to see what we are doing. Little did we know that they would help us in the transition of no longer having a cat or corgi where we live so far from any veterinary care and danger from snakes. We’ve had them for 9 years now and can’t imagine ever being without them. They can recognize us easily and run to us when we walk outside. They also know our friends and no longer fly onto the roof when they visit.

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Learn more about peacocks here.

© Fred and Tunie Moreno

7 comments… add one

  • Michelle April 30, 2012, 11:09 am

    That is so cool!

  • Tunie April 30, 2012, 2:48 pm

    Many thanks to Stephannie for the interest in our peacocks and for helping to share them with other “yarnies”. We hope more people will discover how special these birds are. They are social animals and I think would do best if with at least one other for company. Be sure to check if restrictions would prevent having them in your area so you can enjoy them for 20-40 years.
    I forgot to mention that they do a “double take” when I pass them wearing peacock colors, which happen to be my favorites. They would display immediately thinking I was another peacock. :)

  • Diane May 4, 2012, 6:34 am

    I really enjoyed reading your post about Tunie and Fred and their peacock family. I happen to know them and they are two of the most sweetest and interesting people I have ever met!

  • Barb May 5, 2012, 5:01 am

    This was a most interesting reading! Enjoyed so much hearing about the lives and history of the peacocks in your part of the world. I have never thought about the fact that such exotic birds must have a place where they are “at home”. where they live day to day, roost, raise their chicks. the fact that they have adopted Tunie and Fred and friends into their own families as friends and providers seems most wonderful to me.

  • Elizabeth King May 9, 2012, 11:53 am

    I love this page it teaches me so much and its also helping me on my report for english i’m doing a report on Peacocks because they are a sacred animal to a goddess, Hera

  • Mokihana July 13, 2012, 10:15 pm

    I met Tunie on Ravelry too.. she is such a neat lady and I love reading all about her life in Australia.

    I love peacocks! Our neighbors used to have them but the first time I heard one holler I thought it was a child! After that, I liked it, and a couple of times they flew up to our pasture. I loved that!

    • StephCat July 14, 2012, 5:25 am

      We have them on the Palos Verdes peninsula. I love seeing them. They do sound like loud unhappy kids sometimes!

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