Any suggestions for winning the trust of a nervous pea?

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by new 2 pfowl, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. new 2 pfowl

    new 2 pfowl Overrun With Chickens

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    Some of you have already read about Peggy (short for Pegasus!), now 1 1/2 years old.

    Brief overview of Peggy's history: Peggy and two other peas were rescued last December from a citrus farm being bulldozed for development. Before I got Peggy (in April) he was captured, moved around a few times, escaped and recaptured. When I finally got him he was sick and limping. I took him to the vet and found out he had a bad femoral break not long before he came to me, and he had pneumonia, so I kept him in my house for a week and fed him baytril. Peggy has clearly had a very rough time over the last year, but he is absolutely the most mellow, sweet boy.

    I completely love Peggy but he will not let me get near him. I know all of his favorite foods and make sure he gets them (for example, lettuce but only the greenest part, blueberries, organic sprouted wheat bread but only with crust on it!). If I hold a treat on my hand he just looks at it, but if I get closer than about 2 feet he starts backing away. I always move slowly and speak gently around him. I keep thinking he will warm up to me but I see no sign of it.

    I wonder if anyone has a suggestion about getting him to trust me? I understand why he doesn't - he was clearly manhandled before we met, and of course I had to manhandle him to feed him baytril tablets twice a day.
    Perhaps someone here has managed to win over a nervous pea? If so, please let me know how you managed it!!!

    (Sorry about the long post!)
     
  2. frenchblackcopper

    frenchblackcopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New2,I never try and make pets outta any of mine but if he will eat bread thrown in front of him and several feet away from you,that could be a start? He's got bad things happening to him when he's around you in his pea brain now.Perhaps letting him get more hungry and feeding him in front of you will convince him things are diffrent now? He now needs to start associating you with good times not medication force feeding anymore.If he gets hungry enough he will get closer to you for food or treats.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
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  3. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Actually? I might be able to help for a change! I became the proud owner of a breeding pair of peas and their 3 offspring this Fall. They had been allowed to free range and were pretty much wild. They'd come close if you put down feed for them but not close enough to touch and any movement on my part would send them flying.

    They ended up sharing the house and pen with my ducks and geese and I was in there every day changing water, etc.. One of the things I started doing was putting the bucket of grain down and turning my back. The male started coming right up to that bucket and eating. If I turned around he'd take off. I had the bucket right next to me and as long as I was not facing him directly, it was all good. So about a week of this and talking or singing to him, I was finally able to turn around and face him. FBC is right about the bread as well. The youngsters loved that and would sit on my feet if I threw it down. Months later, they are finally in their own house and yesterday I was in their pen with them raking shavings and was able to put my hand right on his tail while he was up on the roost. He stayed right there after he saw who it was and went back to sleep. To me, it's amazing how far they have come from when they first got here. Hope this helps a little.
     
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  4. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    Yep if you don't look at them at first, they feel better about taking food from your hand or standing near them. Eventually you can hand feed them with no trouble. My first peafowl were from the zoo where they free-ranged. I worked on hand feeding them. The best treat to use is unshelled, unsalted peanuts. Put some in your hand and they will walk up and eat it. That or some mealworms (I use dried ones but you could get live ones). It takes time, especially after the bird has been through a lot. When I had to catch up one of my peahens to treat her when she was sick, she got weary around me for a while again but then got over it. When it is time to feed your peacock, don't throw out food until you have held some in your hand. They will almost always choose the food on the ground instead of the food in your hand unless if they are one of my boys that would rather eat off of my hand then the ground. [​IMG] I don't know if you would ever be able to pet him...The only pea that lets me pet them is the one I hand raised and he imprinted on me, but all of my peafowl eat out of my hand and pretty much all of them came from places where they were not used to eating out of people's hands.

    It works better if you don't move much closer than 2 ft. The peafowl should be allowed to make up the extra distance. I found they get more freaked out if you try to come up to them, with a few exceptions like handraised ones. It is better when they are comming to you. That is how I first started hand feeding. The peafowl would look at the food in my hand from a distance, and you knew they wanted it. When they did get closer I would look away and that would help them feel a bit more comfortable without me watching them and they would eventually decide to eat out of my hand. Even now I walk a few feet away from my peafowl, crouch down and hold out my hand with my thumb held more to the side of my hand sometimes (one of my peahens used to be less freaked out if I tucked my thumb more behind my hand or more to the side, now she doesn't care).
    This is the first peahen I ever got and she is from the zoo. Her name is Ice. She was the first peafowl I ever got to eat out of my hand. She used to be very afraid to take food from my hand, but now she takes it without hesitation. In the background you can see her white peachick that is now fully grown. That chick is very friendly and loves to take food from my hand. I think the peahens teach their peachicks it is okay to take food from people.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! Didn't know about the p'nuts. I'll have to try that. I know mine love BOSS and scratch. Mealworms, dried, they actually make noises like they're purring. Wonderful, silly birds. I am so blessed that I have mine!
     
  6. new 2 pfowl

    new 2 pfowl Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you all for the great suggestions!

    So, right now when Peggy sees me he will come towards me and just wait for a treat. He stops around three feet away to see if I'll toss him something. I've tried just holding it in my hand, but he would rather not get any food than get too close to me. So he isn't 100% freaked out by me but wants me to keep my distance. The baytril episode is already 6 months ago so I'd think he would forget about it by now? I've managed to win almost all of the other peas over to eating out of my hand, and I really love Peggy so I wish he would do it, too...I'm thinking that the suggestion about not looking at him might work, I'm going to try it out.

    By the way, Minxfox, one of the peas that will absolutely not eat out of my hand is Mom, the oldest hen, but all of her kids do eat out of my hand. When I started trying to feed her this-year's chick, Twig, out of my hand, she'd start clucking to warn him not to take it, but he did it anyways! So maybe the moms don't always teach chicks about taking food from people?
     
  7. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    I think it is helpful that you have other peas that eat out of your hand. I think the other peafowl see them eat out of your hand and then they at least consider doing it too. The peachicks really love taking grasshoppers from my hand. I catch grasshoppers and hold one by the back legs or by the head and the chicks run up and grab it and run off with it.
     
  8. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    Cheese and bananas got mine eating out of my hand, now they are a pest and will take things out of my hand when i am not looking.

    I sit with my peas and talk to them and sing too, the geese like my singing, not sure about the peas [​IMG] but it does get their full attention.LOL
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    I haven't tried giving them cheese...Mine are not that fond of bananas, although the only ones they get are overly ripe bananas...
     
  10. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine will only eat firm bananas and they have to be in small pieces or they will not eat them.
     

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