New peacocks

What a pleasure it is to have Will and Tig here. They are great wwoofers, and they spot what needs to be done and tell us how they will sort things out. This is a really productive time at Cockatrice Farm.

On Sunday we went to the Poultry Auction. We got some quail, a pair of young golden pheasants, some guineafowl eggs (for the incubator) and some finches, all quite cheaply.

We did indulge ourselves a bit with two more peafowl, a pied (blue and white) girl of breeding age and a young white male. Between the two they came to $300.

White peacocks are wonderful things, and we have wanted one for a while. Unfortunately, they are the “in thing” in poultry circles, and prices are right up. I guess we might have got a cheaper one by waiting a couple of years, but we’d like one sooner thanks.

I love having peacocks roaming the grounds — they are so pretty and majestic. But Allison is cranky with them for munching on young vegetable seedlings, especially the sorrel. She wants to have them caged, especially during the breeding season when the females are vulnerable to foxes.

For my part, I blame the ducks for much of the garden damage — there is always a trail of destruction when they get out. We have now mostly duckproofed the duck yards, so maybe things will be better now. If we plant sorrel and similar perennials everywhere, maybe there will be enough for us and also some for the peacocks.

For next year, I want to set up our beds in rows covered by polypipe hoops, as described here. This would potentially keep out birds while making it easy to access the vegies. I have worked out a system of rotating guilds (groups of mutually beneficial plants) that could provide a valid permaculture approach to intensive vegie production. So we’ll pilot the system this spring.

I agree with Allison that we need to lock up at least the breeding pairs of peacocks, to safeguard the girls and also to let us collect some eggs for the incubator. We may be able to sell some of the offspring to recoup these costs, particularly if we get some white ones. That will probably need the white male to be operative, which will take a couple of years.

I would still like to do a medieval feast where we serve a tasty young peacock to every table. In real medieval times, it was fashionable to sew the cooked bird back into the raw skin, which presents some issues on health grounds. Maybe we could carry in both a blue and a white peacock, mounted over dummy bodies…


PS – here’s a photo of Tasty the Calf, with mum.

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