New to Peas- What's Mine Saying?

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by OlyChickenGuy, May 22, 2019.

  1. OlyChickenGuy

    OlyChickenGuy Songster

    119
    9
    124
    Aug 5, 2010
    Olympia, Washington
    Hello, pea-peeps! I recently had a peacock walk into my life, and have been having a difficult time researching all the little quirks I've noticed in this guy. And yes, I have read the peafowl 101 stickies, and more.

    I've spent the last decade rescuing roosters, but the last two years have been birdless due to my flock being stolen, and the grief that brought upon me. That was three years ago, and one year ago I had a rooster shunted onto me that I've been gradually opening up to again. It's been difficult, to say the least. I also had pigeons, a turkey, two ring-necked pheasants, quail, and a starling. The peacock reminds me most of the turkey and pheasants in behaviour.

    About two weeks ago, my partner and I found him wandering a commercial district dead of night of our town, were able to approach him and pick him up, and he seems to have attached to us and our rooster. We've put up many "Found Peacock" ads, but no replies. I understand they do run wild around here. Rooster is Rocky Doodle Dandy, peacock is Lord Shenzen Clementine.

    Anyway, onto the questions!

    First thing we noticed is that Shen has TINY spurs, even compared to our pheasants. One spur looks like a medium sized Himalayan blackberry thorn, the other just a nub, but he does have a full (if short) train. I've seen some photos of two year olds looking about as filled out as he does, but most people seem to consensus that a full train indicates a three year old or older. What about the spurs? What about the facial skin? These are things I'm used to using to guess at chicken ages, but this is, of course, not a chicken.

    Shen seems healthy and a good weight, though he had NO idea what feed was until we made a connection with black oil sunflower seeds. He didn't eat ANYTHING we offered him, until those seeds reached the mix. Now, mealworms are the best thing ever. What tips do you guys have for treats, and what is absolutely crucial to know about diet in general? Example: there's many mixed feelings on feeding peanuts, though I understand it's the fungus in uncooked peanuts that's really the problem.

    He hasn't screamed, in fact the only vocalisations we've heard is a quiet "bluk" that he seems to use for almost everything from irritation, to curiosity, to confusion. He only hissed when we first met him and touched him, now he throws his neck into our hands and demands scratched, sometimes with quiet gurgles. He has a sort of popping noise that we also only heard at first, and he honks like a vuvuzela when startled (owl flying overhead, dogs, etc). He also recently trilled at us, like our turkey. It seemed to indicate confused compliance.

    He also hasn't displayed once. I'm not too concerned about this, but I haven't heard of anyone claiming that their pea doesn't display.

    So, what other vocalisations do peafowl produce? What does it all mean? I read that there's eleven distinct vocalisations of the peafowl, but I've only been able to find recordings of the screams, and a couple of peahens chattering at their chicks.

    He naps frequently, and when he does he'll lie on his side, or just sprawl like he's dead. He'll lift his head as soon as we say his name (he's already caught on), and get up if there's treats or if we prod him to. Is this normal? Someone recently told me that peafowl are actually nocturnal, and sleep for around 16-18 hours a day! Is this true?

    Lastly (for now), is there anything I should be taking away from his lack of displaying? Obviously, illness is the first concern, but I just had him at the vet on Saturday, and the vet isn't concerned. Could he have low hormones? Could he have gone through some trauma that left him depressed (like getting kicked out of the flock, or chased by a predator? Maybe he watched friends die?)? He was definately scared when we found him, but took comfort in us pretty quickly.

    Maybe one last thing to note, Rocky has mounted Shen twice, without Shen seeming to care. He didn't reciprocate, no raising of the rump or anything, but even being bitten on the back of the head, he just sat there, as if to say, "What are you doing? Ugh, whatever, just get it over with." I shooed Rocky both times- I don't want him accidentally plucking out Shen's noodle.

    Oh! And that's the last thing. IS THE TOPKNOT REALLY CALLED A "NOODLE"?? I'm having SO much difficulty finding anatomical references for peafowl, especially internal anatomy. The internet seems to think the insides of chickens are good enough. For instance, the inside of his mouth his a hole at the base of his tongue that our chickens do not. He has the requisite other holes (trachea, esophagus), so what's this one? My partner speculates it's what allows him to honk and scream, but I also know that owls trachea are at the base of their tongues, too. Either way the trachea is placed, there's too many holes to be a chicken's mouth!
     
  2. He is obviously an imprinted bird, someone's special pet to be that friendly. Thank you for trying to find the rightful owner. So many questions in one post! I will try to answer a few of them. The feathers on the top of the head are called the 'crest'. My special treat is raw peanuts, it is like crack to them. The hole behind the tongue is the trachea, only air in that hole, medications and food go in his right side of the mouth where the esophagus is located. He is either a well-developed yearling by his lack of vocalization or even more likely a two-year-old by the description of the spurs, pics would help. Birds, like kids, mature at different rates and early hatch birds can look and act older than their age.
     
  3. OlyChickenGuy

    OlyChickenGuy Songster

    119
    9
    124
    Aug 5, 2010
    Olympia, Washington
    Thank you for the response. My camera is out of commission, and the only photos I can find are the photos someone else posted to the Lost and Found Pets page on Facebook, which it wouldn't let me save, so here's screen grabs. I'd love to get some photos of his spurs before they grow in any more, they're so stumpy looking!

    Screenshot_2019-05-25-01-50-00.png Screenshot_2019-05-25-01-50-15.png
     
    Texas Kiki likes this.
  4. OlyChickenGuy

    OlyChickenGuy Songster

    119
    9
    124
    Aug 5, 2010
    Olympia, Washington
    I'm wondering about the peanuts. It seems that both peafowl and peanuts come from about the same place, so do peafowl have an immunity to the fungus in raw peanuts that other birds do not? This fungus is a) what helps peanuts germinate, and b) the reason why people caution against feeding raw peanuts to birds, but especially chickens.

    And another question... I read that peafowl, like pigeons, can "expulse" their feathers when stressed or in danger. Many reports say that the train isn't really much of an advantage for predators, because the feathers will slip right out when grabbed. This does NOT seem to be the case with Shen. He IS moulting, but I caught him by his train (had hold of the entire thing at the base, not individual feathers), and tugging on his feathers doesn't produce much effect. Not that I'm yanking on him, but I do give feathers cursory tugs here and there during moulting for most of my birds. My first laying hen would drop feathers by handfuls! Always felt sorry for her...
     
  5. I have fed raw peanuts as treats for years.
     
    AB03Sam likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: