Red Buff Spalding FOUNDER FLOCK -digresses into peafowl in general

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by Resolution, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dear BackYard Chickens Forum Members,

    If interested, please send photos of your female Buff and Red Buff Spalding/Spauldings.

    I'm looking for birds with plumage that is dramatically marked with vivid colour and/or unusual patterning.

    The objective is to suss out who the breeders with the best heirloom lineages are.

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    Sid's heirloom stock


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    Next year we begin building a female only flock of peafowl for Griffin Hill.

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    These female peafowl have a purpose. They will be used to brood and surrogate-rear monals, eared and cheer pheasants.

    If your peahens look as if they could closely blend in any of these landscapes- disappear with a brood of invaluable pheasant chicks just by halting all movement- because their patterns and colour enables them to do so, please post some photos. Remember, iridescence is a masterful form of camouflage. Predators generally can't see in colour. Pattern and hue are going to be critical factors in their long term survival and we need each peahen to hatch and rear chicks successfully every year for several years before we can trust the pheasants to perpetuate their numbers on their own. When every peahen is slightly different in markings and hue this bodes well for all because it makes it even more difficult for predators to identify each individual bird in a group and this enables a social unit to all make an escape.



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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  2. Exotics R Us

    Exotics R Us Out Of The Brooder

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    For the ones that don't know what he is talking about, These will now be called Spalding Black Shoulders.

    Ricky
     
  3. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    What a beautiful place.
    Have fun building you herds and flocks and some more photos.

    My peas are very smart when it comes to predators, so far it has been almost a year with no losses and they have flown home on more that one occasion when they felt threatened.
    It is a beautiful site and i love to hear them the CaaAaaaAaaa as they fly in.

    On the other hand i have see them chase a deer,crows a hawk,a stray duck and a cat.and stalk strange birds at the water hole

    Don't know if that means they can tell the difference between what will eat them and what won't but it sure seems they do.

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  4. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    By the way how many acres is this place you are getting and who raises the deer i see?
     
  5. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    I would also love to know the acreage. It has gorgeous scenery and and really cool variations in the landscape. Blackshoulder spalding peahens are very pretty, I hope you find the ones you are looking for. Make sure to show pictures when you have all the animal facilities up and the animals too.[​IMG]
     
  6. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Peafowl aren't called Dragonbirds in their native countries for no reason. They are super inquisitive and capable- one factor that makes them such good surrogate parents.
    They'll stay with their wards indefinitely tolerating close proximity until the breeding season and then just a few yards away.
    Broody chicken hen is done with their surrogate chicks in a matter of months. It takes peafowl years to mature so the parents are prepared to tolerate youngsters indefinitely. The eared and cheer pheasants are sociable flock birds- the monals not so much- but the two pheasant genera- eared and cheer- they are super gregarious. These birds require numbers to protect themselves from predators.

    They are somewhere around a quarter of the size of peafowl- maybe a bit more in the eared pheasants. The class of predator capable of taking a pheasant-sized bird is comprised of a larger and more diverse number than the class of predators capable of taking a full grown peafowl. As a rule, hawks are not interested in peafowl but they are very interested in pheasants/grouse. So when you have a creche of pheasant chicks- that are being reared by a few surrogate peahens- the peahens provide the cover the pheasants need- and once the pheasants are of sufficient number they too can forage far out in the open- because there is safety in numbers- the most nutritious food is very often far from cover in a pasture- in the tall grass The peahens rear the first generation of pheasants and those pheasants stay close to the peahens through their entire lives- so tightly wired are they to social life. The peahens tolerate the pheasants as they are their babies. They aren't as nice as one might hope but they still tolerate them in close proximity. And so the next year when you put more pheasant eggs in the incubator- getting them ready to trade out with infertile peafowl eggs already being set on - you double or triple the number of peafowl eggs with growing pheasant eggs- incubation rates are different- no need to bother with monals as they have the same incubation length but you won't want more than two or three monal eggs under a peahen. Monal juveniles are frustrating for the peahen to deal with.
    Anyway, eared and cheer pheasant eggs get hatched under the peahens a second year- and this is before the first bird has been released- they've spent a whole year together before the second generation of pheasant eggs hatches- and the peahens experience the same positive reward of hatching chicks- lots of them. Now there is a creche going because the peahens are all friends- and have frankly a good deal more in common than any have with their foster chicks no matter how cute they are. Releasing that second generation out in soft release - within paddocks difficult to get out of- behind deer fence for example- in an environment that's perfectly suitable for sticking tight in- the birds are growing a flock and one in which the peafowl are leading foraging parties in.

    So now you have three or four peahens, each with eight to ten pheasant chicks foraging in a field safe from hawks. Close around them in satellite social units are the pheasants from the previous year.
    But they all are moving as a single unit. And locked up for the winter- the birds go through this process again but now we have the situation of the pheasants becoming sexually mature so the barns are left open- paddocks made more complex with additional landscaping- which serves the behavioral enrichment of yaks and tahr as well.

    It's a long process and there will be tragedies. By the fourth or fifth generation at least one or two pairs of pheasants are breeding successfully and you keep them anchored to the site by keeping more numbers within aviaries at different points around the release paddocks. Pulling the majority of females appears to actually help the success of the one or two pairs left out to self select for mates and breed on their own. That ratio is five males per one female in both eared and cheer pheasants- and again- this only works because they have their freedom in an expansive area- the ranch is ~ 2500 acres- it won't be until next year that I can even fence the upper pastures- the lower pastures were already fenced- and recently- but there's so much work- and that means getting back to work to build everything that needs to be built and fenced in!

    Anyway- this is how I've established small flocks of monogamous species of pheasants over the years-on different properties - using peahens- but I need what Ricky describes as "Black Winged Spalding" hens for here at Griffin Hill.
    I've got some photos of the place with the hoofstock moved here from out east- I'll post them after I get back to work for a few more hours
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  7. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    Your plan sounds pretty interesting it should be rewarding to watch the pheasant population grow and thrive. That is a lot of acres! Penning the birds in the winter should keep them tamer than if you had them out all the time, but it might be hard for you to find and pen them all. When I free-ranged two peafowl I remember how hard it was to find them, on 2500 acres finding birds should be interesting but they probably won't roam the whole place and will have a certain area they will stay in.
     
  8. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    At my place in Vermont the birds use corridors - like the cleared our tracts around telephone lines that climb up and down the 'mountain' valleys. but never really seem to spread out to utilise the larger acreage, which is fine by me. They are conditioned to come into the barns- forage under hoofstock in the winter and generally sleep in the rafters all winter- but by spring they're chasing one another round and round so we won't see the eared pheasants again until mid summer generally. The Cheer pheasant just park it in front of the door and move between the roof of the house, some lombardy poplars that line the driveway and the higher stone walls between the house and the barn. They don't even travel to the bottom of the hill to check out the flat pasture in front of the barns.
    But that's Vermont. It's probably not ideal for the cheer. We don't lose many but their chicks don't thrive all that well. Too wet in the fall I think. They do well all the way up until the snotty season just before frozen solid winter. The eared pheasants are out and about every day all day. In the spring-once the snow is receding the pairs of eared pheasants all start performing these running displays - reminds one of ostrich courtship for some reason- pretty comical. They move up onto the ridges for the rest of the warm season and return in late summer.
    That's when they come back in with their chicks in one or two flocks.

    Colorado is so sunny it will be interesting to see how well the peafowl stick to the barns. In Vermont we know they'll be inside at the first sign of cold rain. We don't seem to get that out here. This project is an experiment with some behavioral ecology students that will be participating in a cheer pheasant reintroduction project in Nepal 2015. Very exciting stuff. It's collecting the data that's most rewarding. Getting a real idea of how and when birds move and what their instincts tell them to do when under duress or threat. It's a good way to learn how to decipher some of their language and behavior as well.

    I named this place Griffin Hill in honour of the Cheer Pheasant. I hope that this environment will prove ideal for them and we'll manage to build them the sort of conservation aviaries that will allow us to import new bloodlines and really give them our best effort for the next phase of life.
     
  9. clinton9

    clinton9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,


    What is "Red Buff peafowl" and "Buff peafowl" ???????[​IMG]

    I never heard of buff peafowls and red buff peafowls.

    Spaulding peafowls ???? of what ????[​IMG]

    Clinton.
     
  10. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Don't understand why BS spalding......would think the blues hen would be better, because they would not stand out like the White of bs hens. or just plain spalding hens
     

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