As many of you know, I've grown quite fond of peafowl. I have two adult peacocks, three adult peahens, and their offspring - several fast growing peachicks. Last weekend, I added another bird to my group - a two-year old Bronze male - I shared a glimpse of him in a blog earlier this week. This new peacock came from Pedda Reddy, a very knowledgeable and passionate peafowl breeder and raiser. Pedda is also where I got my other beautiful male peacocks - a Black Shoulder Pied and a Black Shoulder Silver Pied.
This new young bird won’t be fully mature until three years of age, when he grows his first train of upper tail covert feathers. But for now, he is happy, healthy and seems to be enjoying his first week here at Cantitoe Corners. Enjoy these photos.
The weather warmed to a delightful 64-degrees this week, so the new peacock ventured out of the coop. He is a Bronze male. The bold coloring on males works in their favor as they seek out mates.
This male is considered an adolescent bird. He will be fully mature at the age of three when he will be old enough to breed.
I love his striking dark colors and expressive eyes.
He has only been at the farm for a couple of days, but already he is exploring his new surroundings and spending time with new friends.
He is also very alert and curious.
Here, he turned his head after hearing a plane fly overhead.
Peafowl are very adaptable creatures, and can easily transition from one environment to another.
These are two of the three peachicks that share his pen – they will turn one this summer. Yearling peafowl act much like teenagers – they play, pester each other and love to explore if allowed.
Full grown, peafowl weigh nine to 13-pounds. This bird hatched in an incubator on my kitchen counter last year – it makes me so happy to see how well they are developing.
The new peacock is very friendly. Peafowl will look at you in the eye; however, if you stare at them or seem aggressive in your body movements, these birds will feel threatened. If you are near peafowl, talk softly and keep your eyes averted – this tells them you are not a predator.
In the wild, these birds select homes in varied, deciduous forests, and cultivated lands near villages. To hide from predators, they often roost high up in trees. My peafowl are not shy at all. Because they have grown up here at the farm, they are all very accustomed to the crew and to all the noises.
As peachicks get to be yearlings, their individual personalities become more evident. Some will be more tame and more friendly than others.
Both male and female peafowl will have the fancy crest atop their heads. In the wild, peafowl forage for worms and insects, but they will also eat other small rodents and reptiles. Kept peafowl are fed protein meals made especially for them.
The new peacock did not open his tail during this visit, but I am sure he will in no time – he grows more and more comfortable every day.
Peacocks typically live in groups, and the male will often have a harem of several females at any given time. Peacocks are happiest where there are at least two and no more than four females in the group.
After the breeding season, the males shed all 150 tail feathers, and then start regrowing them immediately. By Christmas, this peacock’s tail should be about three feet long.
Remember, only males are called peacocks – these females are growing peahens. A family of peafowl is called a bevy, and an ostentation or a muster is the term used to describe a group of peafowl.
There is no way to predict what a wild peafowl will do if free. Many of them tend to stay close to their coops, where they are familiar and can access food and water. Right now, I keep them enclosed because they are still young – about eight-months, and I want to protect them from predators.
As beautiful as peafowl are, they don’t make very melodious sounds. Peafowl have 11 different calls. And, with their sharp eyesight, peafowl are quick to see predators and call out alarms.
Notice the covert feathers on the new peacock – because he is only two years old, this is all the train he has been able to grow. A peacock doesn’t grow its first train until three. And even then, it won’t be full grown or have showy ocelli. The train gets longer and more elaborate every year until five or six years old when it reaches maximum splendor.
Peafowl are also very hardy, and although they are native to warm climates, such as the sub-tropics of India and southeast Asia, they can withstand cold and are able to survive brutal winters. It is important, however, to give them shelter from the elements.
I think the new peacock will get along quite nicely with the others, don’t you?
Right outside the young peafowl enclosure, the Black Shoulder Silver Pied adult male opened his train. The Silver Pied is a white bird with about 10 to 20-percent color on it, including the bright iridescent blue. I love the white-eyed feathers.
My new peacock is doing very well. I am looking forward to seeing his first spectacular tail come Christmas.
See you soon, my dear peacock, and welcome to Cantitoe Corners. For the largest source of peafowl information, go to http://www.unitedpeafowlassociation.org
We’re getting a head start on spring cleaning around the farm.
One of the responsibilities of being a homeowner is to make sure all the major appliances are always in good, working order. Keeping household equipment clean and well-functioning not only extends their lives, but can actually help reduce the risk of fire.
Recently, we called in a team from The Butlers & Air Quality to service all the ductwork. According to The National Air Duct Cleaners Association, it is a good idea to have air ducts professionally examined and cleaned every three to five years - vents, and the air ducts behind them, attract dust, pet dander and a host of other particles that can affect the air quality in the home. This process can take several hours depending on the size of the structure, but it's a very important and necessary task. Here are some photos.
Our friends at The Butlers & Air Quality in Yorktown Heights, New York, came out to the farm to service all the ducts and vents. This company is a family-owned and operated business that has been covering the area since 1982. http://www.thebutlersairquality.com
This is a portable diesel fuel air compressor, which provides high pressure clean air to help push the airflow toward the vacuum device.
The vacuum collection device is used to gain airflow control in the ducts and then suction all the debris into its big tank.
This is the top of the collection filter, where any dust and debris from the ducts is collected.
The first stop was the upstairs area of the Tenant House, where my daughter and grandchildren stay when they visit.
The setup involves connecting a large suction hose from the air handler in the attic to the collection tank. A standard household vacuum isn’t powerful enough to clean deep into the crevices of the ducts, so it is always helpful to call in professional teams to do the job.
These hoses run through the house from the outdoor air compressor.
The Butlers & Air Quality team is very neat and tidy – towels are wrapped around the hoses at various points, so as not to mar any of the walls or floors.
Meanwhile, all the air vent covers are carefully removed.
Once removed, they are inspected and cleaned, so any visible debris is directed toward the main duct area.
Using a rag, Ruben wipes down the inside walls of the vent area and checks for any unusual buildup.
And the covers are temporarily replaced with pieces of cardboard to allow for stronger suction power.
This team brings their own supply of usable cardboard scraps.
One by one, Hermes goes to each of the vent openings to snake the hose through and direct all the debris, so it can get picked up by the vacuum, while Ruben holds the lever controlling the airflow pressure.
Up in the attic, Hermes checks that the air handler is working properly and then cleans all the unit’s coils and the blower wheel.
This is an atomization machine filled with antimichrobial that is sprayed into the ductwork to kill any potential, bacteria, mold, or mildew.
The vacuum is then moved down to the basement, where it can be used to clean the vents and ducts in the downstairs zone of this house.
Hermes, who has been with the company for many years, opens the air handler.
Hermes makes an access hole in this unit, so the vacuum’s hose can be connected and airflow can be properly controlled.
The vacuum hose is connected to the supply plenum, an air-distribution box attached directly to the handler and all the equipment that heats or cools the house – it is the heart of the duct system.
And the other end is connected directly into the vacuum collection device.
The vacuum is turned on for at least two to three hours – the duration depends on the size of the home and the amount of ductwork that needs cleaning.
Hermes continues to walk around the home snaking the hoses through the crevices of all the ducts, so everything is directed towards the powerful vacuum.
Cardboard covers all the necessary vent openings.
Here are the particles collected from the Tenant House.
Once everything is cleaned, all the vent covers are carefully returned.
And any dust or debris that fell is vacuumed up.
One house down and a couple more to go – onto the Winter House. Thank you, Butlers & Air Quality!
Here in the Northeast, the last few days have been very pleasant - warm enough to get a lot of chores done. The outdoor grounds crew has been busy cleaning the woodlands in preparation for new seedlings, top dressing garden beds with mulch, and picking up any stray branches or debris left over from two recent snow storms. Over the weekend, we also welcomed a new peacock. Pedda Reddy, a passionate peafowl breeder and raiser in Dutchess County, New York, came by to drop him off and to help introduce him to the resident peacocks, peahens and peachicks - he is simply stunning.
We also celebrated the launch of ULIVjava's new "k-cups". You may recall, my longtime personal trainer, Mary Tedesco, is the co-founder of ULIVjava, a company that seeks to create and promote healthy, great-tasting, organic coffee products that are infused with vitamins, minerals, and herbs. The company produces ground coffees, and now single-serve coffee pods. I joined the ULIVjava partnership after tasting the delicious drinks. The following are some images taken of the "k-cup" manufacturing process.
This is the the entrance to Barrie House Coffee Roasters in Elmsford, New York. Barrie House makes the single serve cups for ULIVjava – I am glad to know their cups are recyclable and environmentally friendly. https://www.barriehouse.com
Inside, this is where all the production begins – at the cup filling area. https://ulivjava.com
Here are the empty product boxes with the new colorful coffee mixologist logo ready to be folded and filled.
Nearby, a giant sack of coffee is waiting to be blended.
This is the giant blender that Barrie House uses for ULIVjava.
Once blended the coffee is fed into the packing equipment production line.
Here are the ground coffee cups traveling to the filling equipment station.
This is the conveyor for the cups. Each actual cup has 13-grams of coffee and green tea with herbs. These single-serve cups come in the same three delicious ULIVjava varieties: lean, happy and smart.
Spot checks of the packaging seal are done along the way.
The cups go through this unit carton-forming mandrel. It is interesting to see how the boxes are folded and ready to be filled.
This is where it collects the nested cups and places them into boxes.
Here, the sealed unit boxes are sent through to the final check-weighing station.
And then the unit boxes are pushed through for a final bottom seal.
This monitor shows the statistical tracking information for each box as it passes.
This is a box of system rejects. If any of the containers are damaged during the process, it is automatically pulled and dropped into this box.
This is a laser engraver. It creates the production bar code and the “best by” date.
And this is where the boxes go for packing. The robotic case packer picks up the cardboard box, makes the case and fills it with the finished cups. Each case holds eight boxes.
The finished case goes through a final closure seal and then gets weighed one last time. Here comes the first case of ULIVjava SMART coffee.
This is Kevin Steward, director of quality control for Barrie House, showing us a completed case of ULIVjava “k-cups”.
Mary is so excited, she had to take some of the boxes home with her.
Meanwhile, back at my farm, there’s a lot going on down at the peafowl coop.
These peafowl are growing more beautiful every day. As they mature, their necks turn more and more blue and iridescent.
This peahen is also very pretty – see the crest at the top of her head? Both male and female peafowl have a fan-shaped crest on their heads called a corona. On young peafowl, it may take up to one year for a corona to reach full size.
Peafowl are very hardy birds, and even though they are native to warm climates, they do very well in cold weather as long as they have access to dry perches away from strong winds. These birds will spend most of their days outdoors, and nights in their coop where it is warm and cozy.
While peafowl are ground feeders and ground nesters, they still enjoy roosting at higher levels. In the wild, this keeps them safe from predators at night. This is my handsome Black Shoulder Pied peacock.
This is my Black Shoulder Silver Pied peacock. The Silver Pied is a white bird with about 10 to 20-percent color on it, including the bright iridescent blue. He also has white-eyed feathers in his train.
And here he is – the newest member to join the flock. He arrived over the weekend – I love his bold, dark colors.
And look at his legs – a peafowl’s legs are very strong. They have three toes on each foot facing forward, and one facing backwards. They also have sharp, powerful metatarsal spurs that are used for defense. Also, as they develop, males will tend to have longer legs than females.
This peacock doesn’t have a full tail yet, but he will soon. A peacock doesn’t grow its first train until three. And even then, it won’t be full grown or have showy ocelli. The train gets longer and more elaborate every year until five or six years old when it reaches maximum splendor. He is so beautiful. I will share lots more photos as he begins to go outdoors and feel more comfortable in his new home here at Cantitoe Corners.