for 2 years we had carefully nurtured young Priscilla and Percy our peacock and peahen in the hope of breeding them, yet in Peacock World they failed to thrive. Last year we let them free range and risk predators in the hope that maybe their freedom would bring the conditions they required to breed. Sure enough Priscilla began to lay eggs. Our joy was soon dampened when they were stolen by predators so we tried incubating a clutch, but failed to bring these to term, two dying during hatching. On the plus side the pair remained on the farm and roosted well, until one day we found just the remains of Percy. We suspect he was taken by a fox, just what we had feared all along with allowing them to free range on the farm.
Ever since Priscilla has remained savvy and avoided the fox, however she clearly missed her partner and we missed his magnificent display of affection for her as we passed on the morning Tractor rides.
Nick has been on the lookout for a new partner ever since but failed to find anything within a sensible distance of Coombe Mill, until now. Our local Wadebridge fowl auction had not one but two pairs of birds going in. I agreed to manage changeover with Amber while he set off early for the auction. All morning we crossed our fingers that he would win one of the lots. Finally he drove back into the car park, the boot loaded with two beautiful looking peafowl.
Theo had the Tractor and Trailer ready at hand, all be it brimming with brambles where he had been clearing the fairy garden for me in preparation for my Bug Hotel. He and Nick carefully transferred the carry cage on to the trailer and drove them down to Peacock world. The last nursing sheep and new lamb had been released to the field that morning in preparation and their quarters cleaned out in anticipation of our new arrivals.
Priscilla was hovering close by the whole time and came swooping in for a closer look at her new playmates as we moved back. Nick was keen to capture her and keep her inside Peacock world too in the hope that she might lay some fertile eggs this season with her new younger man. However hovering close by was one thing, encouraging her through the door without letting the other two escape was quite another.
Cue a little lateral thinking! Nick rigged up a trap with a cage and pull down door, placed some food inside and ran a piece of string attached to the door through his shed spy hole. Jed was assigned to project ‘Capture Priscila’ and spent the rest of the afternoon popping back to the shed and peeping through the window to see if she had fallen for Nick’s trap. Needless to say by night fall the trap was still in place and Pricilla free ranging nearby!
However it was only a matter of time before Priscilla did indeed fall for the trap and we had the three safely in together. Priscilla had begun laying eggs outside so we were hopeful our plan would work.
Nick set her a nesting box and she laid an egg on top of the house! WE moved the nesting tray and she pooped on it laying her egg on the concrete. Things were not looking hopeful and in fact four eggs was all she produced so we took the decision to collect them for the incubator with our fertile bantam eggs.
We are now playing a waiting game, to be fair it feels like a real long shot that these will hatch but we are hoping against the odds. Either way they are clearly happier free ranging and we will have to risk their not so friendly predators again later this season once the trio are firmly established here at Coombe Mill. For now they appear to be best of friends and I have even caught the young Peacock showing his forming feathers for the ladies so fingers crossed for our happy threesome!
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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