Wednesday, May 13, 2015

An Unexpected Aviary

by Pa Rock
Poultry Provocateur

I don't suppose that I should be too surprised that other birds are beginning to find their way into my Peacock Palace.  The extremely large wire pen (30' long by 15' wide by 10' high) is attached to a large old barn by a couple of open doors - giving the peacocks easy access to a sheltered area in the event of rain or snow - or if they are in need of a cool spot to repair to when the summer sun beats down.  The barn is very old - somewhere up in my age range - and has numerous knot holes and cracks that would accommodate the entry of many types of wild birds.  It is a fairly porous structure.

Monday morning when I walked up to the Palace to take the peacocks one of their daily treats (pieces of bread in the mornings, sunflower seeds in the late afternoon), I discovered three cardinals, two females and one male flying about the large pen trying frantically to figure a way out.  By that afternoon a sparrow had joined their number.

The eight peacocks, though far too big to give chase or pose any sort of threat to the little visitors, nevertheless watched in total enjoyment.  They would not have been happier if I had installed a flat-screen television on the side of the barn!  And while I felt a bit sorry for the little birds, being trapped as they were, I knew they would survive in fine fettle.  There was plenty of feed scattered about (cardinals love both corn and sunflower seeds), and sooner or later they would stumble into an exit strategy.  In the meantime the peacocks would enjoy the air show.

Late in the evening things began to get weird.  I always make the rounds just before dark ensuring that all is calm and wishing each of my guests a good evening.   Usually its just a quiet little walk that Rosie and I take to gauge the tranquility of life on the farm as night begins to settle in.  This time, however, instead of the expected quiet repose, we found things rocking at the Peacock Palace.  The little birds were still there, but so was Chanticleer, one of my new roosters.  The young fellow was inexplicably inside of the large pen, trying to stay out of the way of the peahens who were all busy chasing him.  It took us a few minutes to extricate Chanticleer because every time he would head for the door that I had opened, nosey Rosie would get in his path trying to figure out what was going on.  Eventually, however, it all got sorted and the rooster ran for the safety of the chicken coop!

The mystery of how the rooster managed to get into the peacock's wire enclosure was solved the next day when I discovered a cement block that I used to cover a man-made hole in the foundation of the barn had been moved aside - giving the rooster just enough room to squeeze in.  I'm not sure why the block had been moved or who moved it, but putting it back up against the hole seems to have solved the problem.  Of course, the frantic young rooster would probably be loathe to crawl back in again anyway because those peahens, as he so well learned, have a mean streak!

This morning one of the female redbirds remains in the aviary - and the rest have found their way to freedom.

And, on a final feathered note, either today or tomorrow I will make my way over to Alton, Missouri, where I plan to acquire twenty-five tiny guinea chicks.  Rock's Roost is preparing to get a lot noisier!

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