One of my readers asked about the peacock who had adopted us. Here is the story.
About two years ago, we had two peahens (female for peacocks) walk into our yard. Over several weeks before this there had been advertisements about found peafowl. The photos showed seven standing in the middle of a street about a mile from our house. I always assumed these were from that group.
You need to understand that when you purchase peafowl, you don’t really own them. We have others over the years wander through our farm, attach our dachshund, and try to cohabitate with our chickens. The chickens don’t know what to make of this. They are larger birds, the males being the more spectacular, but the females, when on their own have a great beauty as well. Their necks are a pearlescent green mixed with pink and violet. Their bodies are grey, but mixed with a rainbow of color. They have a little crown on their heads that reminds me of princesses from fairy tales. It is tall and has about six to eight feathers that curl outward at the tips.
We have had peafowl cry loud calls from our rooftop twenty feet above the forest floor, sometimes in the middle of the night. Their call can carry for at least a half mile and I assume the lonely, singular animals who have passed through our yard are trying to find their like kind somewhere out there.
When these two peahens came to us about two years ago, they would show up about once a day for a little while and then be gone for the rest of the day. Eventually we saw only one. Either the other one found a mate or some predator captured her. Anyway, we were down to one and I named her Penny. I was happy to see her each day, but didn’t consider her part of my menagerie as she would wander off each day.
Eventually we didn’t see her much at all. Only intermittently and then only about once every three or four days. I was taking the dog for a walk one day and spied her sitting on a nest in the brush. She had been setting on eggs. Apparently she had been with a peacock as one of the eggs hatched and was laying in the orchard driveway. I picked it up and added it to my collection of oddball eggshells. I never saw her baby or babies, and eventually she came out of the brush without them. She stayed and I started to give her a little bread and corn each morning when I fed the chickens.
She stayed for a year. She would sneak in with the chickens to see what delectable scraps they had gotten each morning and would roost high in a fir tree near the henhouse at night. She would always call to me when I went out in the evening to close the henhouse against predators.
One day this past spring I saw her down the road a ways. She came back for feed time but wasn’t in her tree when I went out at dusk. I saw her again further down the road a day or two later, but she wandered off, maybe hearing the call of another some ways away. I hope she found another peafowl as the chickens were not her choice of companions, she was lonely. It was also the time of year when she would probably have liked to raise another brood and she couldn’t do that by herself.
You can’t own a peafowl. People purchase chicks and raise them up, but they always wander off and go on walkabout. They are great at flying and cannot be contained except in cages. If you think you would like to see peafowl walking around your “estate” think again as you cannot own a peacock. They are just visiting before going on walkabout.