Tales from the Farm: The Peacock Episode

My dad wore many hats, one of which was being a cattleman. Or should that be farmer, rancher, or dairyman? I never know which is correct, but if you are from around here, you know what I mean. He had land with cows on it.

In addition to cows at any given time he might have barn cats, Shetland ponies, horses, or ducks. The one animal that sticks out to me was when he got peacocks.

This happened a long time ago. I was in college, best I recall, when this occurred. My sister may remember more details, but what I recall is that someone moved away and gave them to my dad or traded them in for a car! We have lots of stories about the latter, but I digress!

My dad put the peacocks out on the pasture near a pond. It wasn’t long until we started getting calls. Those peacocks went everywhere in our part of town, except my dad’s pasture! We would get a call that they were behind someone’s house or in their pasture. My dad would get them and put them back where they belonged.

A day or two later, there would be another call about his peacocks. We were getting three or four calls a week about the roaming peacocks.

We found out that peacocks are homing birds and will go back to where they consider home. In this case, it was several miles away, so they would turn up at homes and pastures along the way.

Sadly, we do not have any photos of my dad’s brief experience with peacocks! It would be wonderful to see a thirty-year-old photo of him surrounded by colorful peacocks.

To be honest, I am not even sure I ever saw the birds. Since I was in college, in my memory, I only knew about their acquisition and the resulting troubles. I do remember answering the phone to folks reporting their whereabouts. Then I would call my dad at work and tell them where they were so that he could get them. I am sure his farm hand did this many times. Imagine the dinner talk he had…I had to go out to Brashear today to gather the peacocks to take back to the pasture.

I wonder what visitors to our area thought when they drove along the roadways and spotted peacocks out in the pasture? The peacocks would have had to have stood out among the black, white, and red of the cows and horses.

To me it is funny to think of peacocks in a pasture in east Texas. Cows, yes. Horses, yes. Longhorns, yes. Buffalo, yes. But peacocks?

I am not sure why this memory came to me today, but I just had to share. Although I was never a good cowgirl, my dad tried. My sister and I were more girly, girls and preferred the house to the pasture.

Did you know…the word peacock is the male of the species; peahen refers to the female; and peafowl to either male or female. In this article, I went with peacock since it is more widely used. Technically, I should have written peafowl.

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