Peacock vs Rooster


Long time no post. It seems to be our way, at the moment, to be busy and have very little time to sit down and reflect. Today is my writing day for the week. I really should be using it to write fiction, but I have this burning desire to share this story in order to add to the collective information about peacocks.

John the protective peacock


When we bought this place, a peacock (now named John) and a peahen (now named Sam) were in residence, along with a couple of chickens. We were happy to take these on, and popped out regularly to feed them even before we were allowed to move in, as the place had already been empty for some time.


Soon after we moved in, I spied a rooster making his way across our paddocks, getting slightly further each day. It took him about a week to find our chickens. We asked our neighbour if he was missing a rooster. He wasn’t. We heard nothing else about anyone missing a rooster, and he seemed to make our girls happy, so we let him stay.

Peacock and peahen on our roof

John and Sam on our roof

However, he once intimidated my, then 5-year-old, son. My son wasn’t hurt, and it seemed to be an isolated incident, so we treaded warily, but still friendly with the rooster.

Then, one morning while I was out feeding the birds, the rooster came at me. Luckily I had my gumboots on and could defend myself. I don’t know if he particularly didn’t like my red dressing gown, or if he didn’t like that I fed “his” girls and was therefore a threat. But, from then on, I was extremely wary when I fed the birds and was careful not to turn my back on the rooster (he never got a name).

At my dad’s suggestion, we had a go at intimidating the rooster, chasing him while waving sticks. Well, my dad and my son could chase the rooster around the house this way. He ran from them. But me? Nope. He stood his ground, and then I found that I had to finish what I had started and had to battle him again…

It made living here less pleasant having him around. We had to look out for him any time we went outside and make sure we knew where he was. My son couldn’t go down to his trampoline alone, and I had to be alert while supervising. Not nice at all.

The Rooster...

That’s him… he was quite beautiful, really

Just before Christmas, I was trying to help one of the three peachicks catch up to mum (it was weak and didn’t survive many more days, but at the time I thought I could help). Again, it was morning and I was in my red dressing gown. Before I could quite get the chick back to mum, I sensed the rooster behind me. I managed to back up to our front door and ask my son to get his dad to help with the peachick while I dealt with the rooster. I also asked my son to hand me my walking pole (like a ski pole, but for trampers; my dad had given it to me for such circumstances).

Sam with her two surviving peachicks

Sam with the two surviving peachicks.

The rooster had me cornered, now. With gumboots on, and metal pole in hand, we had a duel. Luckily for me, I only ended up with a scratch on my wrist. But that rooster was not going to back down, and I couldn’t figure out how to get out of a drawn-out battle/stand-off. If I managed to slip inside, run away, what message would that send to the rooster?

Then in came John, the Peacock. He appeared from beneath our deck, and jumped on the rooster’s back!

The rooster took off, with John after, but soon returned, with me still in his sights.

But, again, John came in from behind and pounced on the rooster, ending up with black feathers in his feet.

This second time, the rooster got the message. John was not going to put up with the rooster messing with his human.

My heart swelled.

John peacock splaying his tail

John in full midwinter display

I had never heard of loyalty in peacocks.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of John understanding who feeds him, but regardless… I dashed inside and back out with an extra ration for John that day.

Sadly, that incident was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. It was no longer just unpleasant to have the rooster around, it was dangerous with two young kids, and hoping to have more kids come to spend time with our animals. But never fear, I can assure you that his end was quick and humane.

And I still treat John with a great deal of respect, because I believe it is mutual.

Posted by: Debbie

Welcome 2017

Well, here we are. It’s 2017.

2016 certainly had its ups and downs for us.

We moved into our new property in February 2016. We’ve started living our dream, and paying the price with a massive mortgage.

To our family, we welcomed standardbred-cross horses Lorde (bay–darker) and Fern (buckskin–paler):

Lorde and Fern horses

Later in the year, we said goodbye to Fern, as we needed a little cash. She now lives in Invercargill.

We also welcomed Welsh Pony (3/4) cross (1/4 Kaimanawa) Diego:

His perlino colouring and beautiful proportions make him quite the stunner.

Continue reading

Pixie. Our Tabby and white cat.

Meet the crew: Pixie

Pixie was the last of three girl kittens born to a cat that belonged to a friend of ours back in 2003. We were present as she emerged, tail first.

I picked her because she had one grey and white sister with all pink toes, one solid grey sister with all black toes, and Pixie was white and tabby with a mix of pink and black toes. She also had Continue reading

Chino the miniature horse up close

OK. I’m excited again.

What a roller-coaster.

Finally, our house sold so we could close the deal on the lifestyle block. Or, for simplicity’s sake, “the farm”–if 9.5 acres can be classed as a farm. Farmlet? Well, it’s probably as big a farm as I’ll ever manage, so it’ll do.

So, all those dreams I started having months back are possible, in one form or another. And after months of curtailing them just in case we missed out, I’m allowed the open the flood gates again; dreaming and making plans.

Strangely enough, it was slow going at first. I’d dulled my hopes regarding the farm all through having our current home on the market because, even though we had an accepted offer on the farm, there was always the chance that someone could come in with a better offer that didn’t rely on a house sale and all would be over. So, I trained myself not to dream, not to be excited.

Then everything went through, but it took another couple of weeks for it to sink in and for me to get excited again. And then I’ve been busy with a new baby, so that’s also curtailed my sharing here (time).

Our plans are developing.

We’ve been talking to people with more experience of living on the land; gathering contacts and collecting ideas. And I’m back to dreaming, which is super fun.

So watch this space. I’ll be sharing our plans from idea to fruition. From a native walk to a playground. From hay paddocks to horses. From kittens to the garden. We’re going to attempt to do it all.

Dunedin. What’s it got?

I know a lot of tourists to New Zealand either cap their travels at the North Island, or they venture south for the picturesque Central Otago or West Coast. Don’t get me wrong, they are stunning locations with a bunch of stuff to see and do. Those beautiful mountains, stunning waterfalls, ski fields, bungee jumping, and river rafting. They’re all there. It’s also worth remembering sunny Nelson with its great vibe, and local Saturday market. Kaikoura is also beautiful, and if you’re into whale watching it’s the place to go.

What about Dunedin? Why do I think it’s worth your while coming here? Well, gosh, where to begin?

For me personally, there are two big features that matter more than anything:
Continue reading

Hello world!

Well, we did it.

We made an offer on a slice of future paradise and our offer has been accepted (pending the sale of our current home, as this is a big financial deal for our family). So, there’s still a slim chance this could all fall through, but I hope not, and I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you.

The place has a beauty all it’s own to begin with, but I mean it when I say “Watch this space”. I’ve got an extensive list of plans for the place, including planting fruit trees and a vege garden to feed our family and guests, and creating a New Zealand native pocket of paradise. The plan is to plant native trees, shrubs, etc that will in turn attract NZ birds, frogs, insects, and bees (non-native fully welcomed!). In amongst all that, I will indulge myself with a couple of miniature horses.

One of the first things we will do is offer our home to couch surfers. We look forward to hosting guests visiting Dunedin and hearing your travel stories.

Part of the longer term plan is to build a “Writer’s Retreat” cottage, with its own private garden, for guests who wish for a little peace and quiet to hire for short periods.

And, who knows? Maybe down the track someone will like to have their wedding at our home (conveniently situated across the road from a B&B, and only a 15-20 minute drive to the centre of Dunedin itself). I may even get signed up as a celebrant myself…

There’s a sizable deck, and my husband plays in a rock band, so I also envision a few concerts over the years… anyone want to bring a tent and camp out?

The property offers us a few challenges as owners (oooh, I love a challenge), with a few damp patches that we will work to either encompass into the overall plan (frog pond, mini wetland), or dry out as much as we can.

So… here is my dream. Join me on it…

Loose plan for garden and pasture

Here is a loose plan to begin with… although, I envision a much more intricate garden design as time allows.

Other plans include:

  • A walking/miniature horse carting track
  • A place for the horses to drink from the shallow creek where their hooves won’t chop it up (strengthening the ground and putting obstacles in their way in other places (rocks, thick shrubs…)
  • Hedging to reduce highway noise (yes, that road near the centre is State Highway 1). We’ve lived by it for years without the benefit of a slice of paradise.