After trying, waiting, and sitting eggs all summer long for a decade, my peahen has finally produced two fledgling peachicks.
On the 7th of January, Mrs. Pops laid 3 eggs in the dry, dead grass on the west slope of our property. The afternoon sun hit it hard. She was parched and almost starved. Only leaving the nest with a squawk and a stretch for a couple of minutes once each afternoon. Not only did she survive eagles, foxes, and goannas, but electrical storms, a heatwave, and hail stones battering her body.
They hatched on Sunday, but she refused to leave the nest as the 3rd egg stayed whole.
At lunchtime on Monday, I took her some high protein Plain Greek Yoghurt and some budgie seed to feed the chicks chirping away beneath her belly. Very protective, she just wouldn't move, almost pecking me when I swapped out the superheated water bowl for cold stuff. The temperature climbed to 37 degrees C before she revealed her twins.
Scurrying to the garage, she hid under the car for an hour.
I scattered seeds where they were.
Finally, Pea 1, Pea 2, and Mrs. Pops went on an adventure.
P1 and P2 were lagging, closing their eyes, and falling over, half asleep on their feet. I'd prepared the cage for them with as much grain, budgie seed, yogurt, breadcrumbs, celery leaves, cut zucchini, wild bird mix, and even a crushed Weetabix! Lots of shallow water bowls and a few tree branches close to the ground for shade and perching practice.
The trio looked in at all the setup. Armed with my camera, I walked behind Mrs. Pops until she went into the cage with the darlings. I shut the door. The Little Pea family all napped for an hour.
I put rocks around the uneven edges of the cage, but P1 and P2 simply hopped out through the mesh. Nearby, I just popped the tiny fluffballs back in and they fluttered to the mother who was already clucking after them. After a while, they learned to hop back into the cage by themselves. What a relief after me and their Mum had been on guard duty all afternoon!
P1 and P2 were little scamps, hopping in and out non-stop.
The one-day-old peachicks were packed to the brim with life and energy.
I let the trio out for one last walk in the late afternoon.
They grazed, fluttered, chased Mum, and tried out their new wings.
They even met Dad, though the Mrs was a bit cautious with Mr. Pops. Apparently, males can kill peachicks. There was no hop-on pop, but the chicks loved the look of him even though he has lost his magnificent mating tail. He had missed his partner something fierce, posting a vigil near the nest every morning for the past 4 weeks.
The peachicks and their Mum ate and ate.
All 3 were insatiable for the food left on plates, insects, and tender grass shoots.
P1 and P2 survived their first big day out and were even more lively today. Watching the twin babes for so long has made me happier than anything since Christmas. The miracle of life is pretty darn good, especially when it happens against all odds.