I’m beginning to lose my patience with my peacocks.

On the other hand, what I know about raising them domestically could be written in longhand on the head of a pin. I love the birds because they are beautiful, hardy and quite easily cared for, but they occasionally frustrate me.

Because of the coyote population in our area, they cannot be allowed to free range. I have them summer-housed in what I consider an amply-sized enclosure. It’s made of two-inch chain link dog kennel fencing that covers 400 square feet.

This, of course, is netted over, as they have a tendency to fly straight up. In a younger year I’ve seen them contentedly perched on a barn roof peak over 60 feet up, which they reached in a non stair-stepped flight.

Last year they laid 10 eggs in number. I put five of them in the incubator and left five for them to hatch and raise. Though all eggs were definitely fertile with well-developed chicks, I hatched only one successfully. They followed the same scenario, hatching only one chick.

The chick I hatched did quite well with a couple of silkie bantam chicks for company. They played and scratched for food together, and the peacock, on occasion, as young as he was, would strut with his tiny inch-long tail feathers spread like his father showing off.

But about halfway through the third week, I found him looking quite healthy but dead as a stone. No telltale signs to indicate his fate. The one they hatched simply disappeared along about the third night. I suspect a weasel, mink or rat ate it for lunch, but here again, no telltale signs, just gone.

This year I put the first five eggs in the incubator. They laid 10 more, scattered here and there all over the pen, but have refused to show any signs of incubating – any of them. So once again, 11 days after the first, I have added 10 more eggs to my incubator. Time will tell of my successes.

On giving it a little thought, perhaps I should roll a large chopping block into their enclosure and hang a well-sharpened axe on the gate. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think it might work? I’m going to try it one of these days.

While eating my half grapefruit and enjoying the sunshine on the front porch early the other morning, a car drove in. As we have a sign at the road saying farm-fresh eggs for sale, I didn’t even stir, as it is a self-serve operation. But the face turned out to be quite familiar. It was a friend I had met a little over a year ago, and she said, “I just came to say goodbye. I’m leaving for Australia on Friday.”

To celebrate, console, or whatever, we went out for breakfast together.

It was a good idea that it was an eatery that served breakfast all day with a bottomless coffee cup, as it was not far from noon when we left their establishment.

Good friends come and good friends go – that’s life. But fond memories last forever.

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins