If you have only found us through our website and this blog, then you may not be aware that we have a pair of Indian Blue peafowl. They are not listed under 'Critters' on our page. They do not even get an honorable mention. There is a very good reason for that. You see, when we were putting our website together, we were not completely sure that we even had peafowl. There's a story here....
They began as a farm project for our youngest son, Peter, who dutifully cared for them in the peacock enclosure for an entire year before finally admitting that peafowl were not quite as fun and engaging as he had hoped. At that point we had considered selling Mr. and Mrs. Peacock (Okay, not our most creative names right there), but hated to give up on them entirely because we are stubborn. However, none of us wanted to just keep them tucked away in an enclosure on the property anymore -- especially with the advent of Mr. Peacock's beautiful tail the available space was becoming less than adequate.
We did some research and finally agreed that we should at least try to free-range them. If it did not seem to be working out, we could always sell them later. What could possibly go wrong? And so.. we crossed our fingers and opened the door to the cage. And then... nothing happened. It took quite a while for either of them to leave the enclosure for the first time. It was the most boring release from captivity I have ever seen. Though they did eventually leave the pen, they were neither happy nor unhappy about it. Really it was like they had discovered a corner of the enclosure that they had previously left unused and that was it.
After a few restless nights checking to see if they were safe and finding them roosting in trees or on the roof of the house, we settled into a weird co-existence. I do mean weird. Mr. Peacock, who had been far from interesting inside the enclosure for over a year, let all his peacockness shine. Peacocks are strange. When he was not screaming at the top of his lungs for an hour or more at a time and for no reason, he could be found relentlessly stalking Mrs. Peacock or the chickens, geese, cats, donkeys, UPS trucks, and dogs. A new nickname was bestowed upon him: Creepy-stalker. It became quite obvious that he was capable of holding his own out there as every animal he ever encountered was absolutely terrified of him. He was also given a second nick-name, Narcissus, for his oft-observed and intense devotion to his own reflection wherever he could find it.
Mrs. Peacock was far less ... interesting. She spent her days trying to blend in with the flock of chickens and only occasionally honking like a Muppet. Mostly she tried to avoid Mr. Peacock. We could not blame her.
When nesting season came, we were delighted that she chose a spot on the straw in the barn to lay a few eggs. Our research indicated that peahens lay only four or five eggs per season. We were over the moon that she decided to lay five. We were even more excited ten days to discover that half of the eggs we had whisked off to the incubator were developing nicely. Apparently, she had not been consistently successful in avoiding Mr. Peacock after all.
Everything was perfect. Of course, you know what comes next: Until. Until one morning when Dave left for work. Mr. Peacock got carried away with his stalking and followed Dave's Jeep beyond our fence and up the driveway. I am fairly certain that he would have returned from there had he been given the chance, but he was quickly discovered by dogs who chased him further into the woods and away from our property. All afternoon we could hear him calling from the tree tops around our house. But as time passed.. his calls became fainter and fainter as he moved farther and farther away.
We held out hope for several days that he would return. Especially when Mrs. Peacock finally started to miss him and called for him. Honk! Nothing. I even got out my crow call and tried to imitate a peacock. No peacocks answered. No crows answered either, but there was one goose who was interested. And then the week of tornadoes began. Monday... Tuesday... severe weather and very near misses. Thursday one touched down on our property and took out some trees and fences. In the aftermath, we were sad and certain that we would never see Mr. Peacock again. If he had been lost before, he was definitely more lost now. To make things even sadder, our incubating peachick eggs had stopped developing.
A few days later I received a friend request from a name I did not know on Facebook. It is my policy to not accept friend requests on my personal page from anyone I do not know, but we had chicks for sale at the time and I thought that perhaps someone had been trying to send a message about them and friend requested me again.
I accepted. But no message came. A few days later I had forgotten about it entirely. Until I saw a post on my news feed from a name I did not know. I clicked on her name to find out who she was and why she was on my friend list. On her profile, I scrolled two posts down and found a picture of an Indian Blue peacock. Hmm. It was a shared post from another lady I did not know who had posted the picture with a message along the lines of: Look who showed up to visit today!
And then I did something else that I never do: I commented on the stranger's post. I don't remember what I said.. something awkward like: Hmm.. we lost our peacock. I wonder how far he wandered? I did not expect an answer. My new yet unknown to me at the time friend answered immediately asking me to send her a private message. I was to find out that she lives half a mile from us... and that the peacock was in her neighbor's yard... Mr. Peacock. It was actually Mr. Peacock!
A couple days later, Dave and Yvonne set off with nothing but determination and a large sheet of burlap to catch Mr. Peacock and bring him home. I quite honestly did not think they could pull it off so I was not feeling much of the irony when I realized that Mrs. Peacock was now also missing. She had not been with the chickens in the morning and I could not find her anywhere. I planned to console the adventurers when they returned from the inevitably unsuccessful peacock extraction expedition by informing them that he would have been unhappy without his mate anyway (and at this point mention that his mate was missing) so it was probably best that they were both gone. No more peacocks for us.
Except they were not unsuccessful. And I had no idea what to say when they drove up and released a slightly ragged Mr. Peacock from the cargo area of the Jeep Wrangler. I mean, other than: Impressive. Very impressive.
Mr. Peacock wandered around aimlessly for a week, admiring himself in window reflections and displaying his tail for any chicken he could find. He was okay, but we felt really sorry for him. Until... There's that until again... Another week later when we heard the tell-tale Muppet honk of a peahen out front. Mrs. Peacock had returned! From somewhere! And there was much jubilation! However, only an hour later she disappeared again. Sigh. Almost.
It has been two weeks since Mr. and Mrs. Peacock were reunited that jubilant morning. Since then, Mrs. Peacock has been arriving each morning, honking her strange honk, teasing Mr. Peacock, and disappearing into nowhere after about an hour.
This morning the mystery was accidentally solved when Emily happened to see Mrs. P fly up onto the platform above one of our barn stalls this morning during her visit. I climbed up to find her there. Clearly broody and having made a really terrible nest on top of some PVC pipe and bamboo stakes, she had apparently been sneaking off to this spot every morning since the day of Mr. Peacock's return. And she has eggs! Surprise!
I can finally announce to the world with confidence that we have a pair of Indian Blue peafowl. I have no idea if we will have one or both or more or none tomorrow, but I am thinking that may be part of the charm of raising peafowl.
Posted by Anita
Stalked by peacocks. Should probably pay more attention in the barn. Wants peachicks now.