On Keeping Peacocks

Peacock, Pavo cristatus, in Venezuela (photo in the public domain by Wilfredor via Wikimedia Commons)

Recently I read Flannery O’Connor’s essay about peacocks, “The King of the Birds.”  She wrote it when she had 40 peafowl though she admitted she’d stopped counting and really had no idea how many there were.

Apparently peafowl are addictive.  You can’t keep only one — a single bird is lonely — so you start with a pair (male and female) but these two make more and if you haven’t planned for offloading the peachicks you end up with ummmmm … “40.”

Though not affectionate Indian blue peafowl (Pavo cristatus) are breathtaking to watch.  During the breeding season the males display majestically for almost any reason.  They also fight.  The only creatures indifferent to their beautiful tails are the peahens.  “Ho Hum,” she says.  “I’ve seen that before.”

Those who keep peafowl know they need space — lots of space — because they’re loud and because they roam.  They’ll eat anything, especially the neighbors’ flowers, fruits and vegetables.  In spring and summer the males shout like this.  If you’re not a peacock addict, the sound can get on your nerves.

Though peafowl spend all day on the ground, they roost in tall trees at night just like wild turkeys.  When peacocks run away from home, they hang out with wild turkeys.

Imagine finding peacocks in the woods!

(photo in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)

1 thought on “On Keeping Peacocks

  1. In Palos Verdes, CA, peafowl run wild. There are over 1000 on the peninsula. They even have their own Facebook page-peacocks of Palos Verdes. It’s a constant battle between those who love them and those who are less fond.

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