If you find a peacock strutting around on your porch you might be wise to let it stick around.
Legend has it that a peacock, the male bird of the peafowl family, is a symbol of immortality.
The residents of a home on 190th Avenue northwest of the Fergus Falls city limits recently had the unusual experience of finding a peahen, the female version of the magnificent bird, right outside the front door. It was reluctant to leave, either because it had shelter, food or room to strut.
Fergus Falls Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager Jim Oehler has encountered domesticated peacocks and peahens in farmyards from time to time - even in chilly Minnesota.
“They are pretty hardy,” Oehler said.
Yet Oehler and the DNR are only in favor of domesticated peafowl. Wild peafowl can be found in India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Java and Africa.
While the birds may stray from their home ground, as the visitor to 190th Street did, they are a welcome addition to many farms. The brilliant feathers in a peacock’s train are often used during the Easter season as church decorations. Peafowl also has the reputation of being feathered “watchdogs.”
“People like them for an alarm system,” Oehler said. ”When people come around they get pretty vocal.”
Peafowl are considered omnivores and eat mostly plants, flower petals, seed heads, insects, reptiles and amphibians. Domesticated peafowl also feed on bread, cracked grains, cooked rice and even cat food.
Some people look beyond aesthetics when it comes to peafowl. Peachicks can bring $10 to $30 apiece and hatching eggs commonly go for between $45 and $85.
Peafowl are not that easy to raise. Peahens can be quite temperamental and both cocks and hen are known to “sing” or scream at night during the mating season. Given these nocturnal outbursts it is not considered a good idea for people who raise peafowl to live too close to their neighbors.