Today’s tale of animal insanity is actually 75% due to people other than my mother, if you can believe it.
But, wait, you say, who the hell has a peacock on their property anyway? My mother, that’s who. What’s funny, though, is that my mom had nothing to do with the first peacock coming on her property. Believe it or not, other people collect strange pets too– and in stranger ways than my mother does.
My parents’ land is part of an old family farm with houses clustered together around a barn. It’s really a strange arrangement. Originally my parents had purchased a 2 acre parcel of the property with one house and one tiny barn on it, but several years ago two adjacent portions of the family farm with two houses, several outbuildings and 8 acres of hilly pasture became available. My parents bought the properties and now rent out the two houses that came with them.
The people who live in the rental houses live very near the barn– closer to it than my parents do, and get to live in the country and feel like they have horses even though they just happen to be renting next door to a stable.
One of my parents’ tenants decided such a life required that he get a peacock. True, he has nowhere to take this peacock if he ever stops renting. True, this peacock will probably always live on my parents’ farm. These facts didn’t stop the man, and certainly my mother wasn’t going to say no to another unusual animal joining her brood. The man bought a baby peacock named Phoenix.
See? Other people buy strange animals too sometimes!
Anyway, Phoenix the peacock boards for “free” at my mother’s stable. Mom’s tenant built him his own little roost and Phoenix has the run of the property.
When Phoenix had been around for about a year, he started getting lonely. Like the miniature horse, he showed his loneliness by acting out.
That’s right, peacocks can act out. Just like teenagers, really.
To show his angst, the peacock started flying up to the horses and pulling their tails.
Needless to say, that’s not a smart thing for a peacock to do. In fact, my mom was sure he would get kicked to death at any minute. So, she decided something should be done. Obviously, the peacock would behave himself if he had a friend. Based on what, I don’t know. But this is what she decided.
Mom told her friend C, the owner of Annabelle the miniature donkey, she thought Phoenix the Peacock needed a friend. C used to board a horse at my mom’s farm, but the horse passed away last year. She didn’t buy a replacement horse and the only thing bringing her back to mom’s property is a) friendship and b) a miniature donkey. The donkey can’t be ridden. Annabelle just exists to be cute. So she’s keeping Annabelle at my mom’s stable for the price of food. I give you this background because of what happened next.
C decided she should be the one to buy Phoenix a lady peacock friend. The lady peacock would live on the property indefinitely as C doesn’t own her own stable or have any place to put a peacock (or a donkey, for that matter).
So C bought Penelope the Peacock. My mom offered to pay for half of the peacock, but C turned her down.
Do you know how much adult peacocks cost? It’s kind of crazy. My pure-bred Australian shepherd (bred by my mom) could have easily gone for $800, probably double that in a pet store. An adult peacock is $80.
That’s right, for less than $100 you could also have a peacock. Isn’t that insane? I would have thought an exotic-ish bird like that would cost far more. My mother used to breed exotic parrots (African greys and ruby macaws) that went for more than $1,000 in the 1980s and ’90s. I can not believe a peacock only cost $80!
What’s even more surprising is that a baby peacock costs even less. The breeder was selling baby peacocks for $25.
I think that bears repeating as a surprising statement: My DOG costs $800, but a baby PEACOCK costs $25.
In what world does that even make sense?!
Armed with this knowledge, my mom and her friend C both decided they couldn’t pass up a good deal and thus bought two baby peacocks in addition to the lady peacock Penelope. “What choice did we have?” says my mother.
Although most of us would have probably said “Not get a peacock at all because who the hell has a peacock?” the obvious answer here was buy three more peacocks.
“How could I pass up a $25 peacock?” says my mother.
And thus, because of the peacock was lonely and no one can pass up a $25 peacock, my mother now has four peacocks wandering around her property probably permanently even though only one of the peacocks is actually hers.
In case you were wondering, yes. My mother was right. The peacock was acting out because he was lonely. Now that the peacock has friends, he no longer picks on the horses.
That’s my last lonely animal tale, but I’ll have another “My Crazy Childhood” story for next week. Yes, the last three stories have not technically been from my actual childhood, but believe me they are par for the course of things that happened living with my mother as a child!