June 24, 2010

Foul Fowl

It started a couple of months ago, this fowls play… one of our older peacocks seemed to think he should have the ewes and lambs feed. He would attempt to chase them from their feeder each morning. I also noticed his occasional jump at the girls, though it was nothing I didn’t think they could handle. Each day he was becoming more aggressive with them trying to get to their food. He would peck at their faces and legs. The girls finally would just back away and let the peacock have at it. Nope, not going to have this behavior from a darn bird! I began standing beside the feeder, shooing the peacock away while the ewes & lambs ate.

You might think that this peafowl was hungry, it is not. The peafowl are fed daily, fed well, they also free range around the farm to their hearts content. They eat bugs and such along side the chickens. Not one of our other 14 peafowl displays this type of behavior.

Shortly after this began we were planning on rotating the ewes and lamb out to pasture from the pen so I didn’t think much more about the foul behavior and just watched over the sheep as they ate each day.

You see the peafowl are territorial; the males of our group have established sections of the farm that they watch over. One wanders the front yard and cul-de-sac, another guards the top paddock, another covers the dairy girls’ pen, another the east pasture and so on. This guy’s place is up by the well house and he hangs out around what we call the back yard. I knew he would not follow the girls to the pasture (and he didn’t).

A couple of days before we were to shear we penned the two Angora bucks where the ewes previously where. The boys were to be sheared first and it was the closest pen to the shearing table. Sundance and Jacob being macho manly bucks are not afraid of anything or anyone. Jacob actually gets a bit overly frisky and bucky at times, has even chased me out of the pen once or twice. I am not afraid of him, just know when he gets “bucky” it’s best to stay away. It is a rule of thumb for me, never to turn my back on any of the boys (rams or bucks) and not to place myself in harms way so I don’t.

I raised both the bucks as bottle babies so they have no fear of me. In their world they rule and know no danger from dogs, humans or other animals on the farm. They have large sets of horns and they do use them. It’s a frequent everyday occurrence for Sundance to drop his head and lock horns with Jacob. Sorry I am rambling… the point I was making is that Sundance and Jacob shouldn’t have any problems protecting themselves from the peacock so I left them in the pen.

No problems until yesterday that is, that darn peafowl was actually flogging the boys’ hind quarters in attempt to run them off from the feeder. I am guessing its previous attempts at running the boys off had not worked so flogging was his next plan of attack. The boys ignored the flogging and continued to eat. I on the other hand would have liked to have plucked every single tail feather from his hide at that moment.

This morning I find the peacock hot footing it after Jacob around the fence line, Sundance standing inside the shelter watching the activities. Getting up close and in the pen I see blood on the peacock leg and specks of blood on Jacobs fleece. Jacob is fine, peacock is breathing rather rapidly. Leg is not broken. Wonder what tomorrow will bring in this fowl story?

I reminded the peafowl of the farm rules - Farm Rule #1 - You make Mom mad, hurt her or another animal you are outta here!

When this foul play began, we began looking for a new home for the fowl. We have found a farm willing to take him; it will just be a few days before the new owners are prepared for his arrival. I hope he lives long enough to see his new home.

No comments: