For ages, I’ve wanted to find a mate for our young peacock Walter, who lost his sister Jesse when they were chicks. Walter doesn’t really connect to our grown peafowl, and I wanted him to have a new friend. I asked the place were Walter and Jesse’s eggs came from for another young peahen, and they were willing to swap for a pair of guinea fowl. So, my friend Ravit and I set out with two guineas in a cage for her son’s school.
I was dying to see that place. I had heard loads about it. Apparently, they have miniature horses! It’s the pet zoo of a boarding school. The children help taking care of the animals. Ravit’ son, Sid, spends about 95% of his time there. I expected the pet zoo person to be waiting for me with a young peahen in a cage – oh, how can I still be expecting such things after fifteen years in Israel, I’ll never know! The guy waved vaguely around at the freeranging peafowl and told Sid: “Catch one.”
“Catch one.”. Well, anyone who is a little familiar with peafowl knows that is pretty near impossible. They are excellent fliers and very fast. If they don’t want to be caught, they’re not going to be caught. We were going to be there for a long time. So, while poor Sid and his friends went pea-hunting, I wandered around having a good look at the place.
The miniature horses!! Here they are. If you ask me though, they are Shetland ponies. But never mind. Close enough, and cute enough.
I’m not sure how to describe the place. They had loads of space and nice animals, but it was… A bit like a ghost town. Lots of empty, run-down buildings, broken bridges and paths leading nowhere. There was a nice duck pond without ducks, only a few hissy-fit geese. Peafowl were everywhere, their calls added to the spooky atmosphere. Weird!!
Cornering a peahen was no easy task, but in the end, Sid managed it. I love that boy!! He’s something else. My cage now held a terrified peahen with a few broken feathers. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that she wasn’t Walter’s age, she was a fully grown peahen. I took her home, hoping for the best.
I began to regret this adventure when I put the peahen in a pen together with Walter and they paid no attention to each other whatsoever. The poor hen was in terrible stress. I wasn’t sure anymore that it was worth all this fuss.
Anyway, she did seem to be bonding with my older peafowl. They kept checking each other out through the fence. After a few days, I decided to let her out.
They were all pretty excited. Except for Walter, of course. He was hanging out somewhere else completely.
Two days later, I realised my mistake. The new peahen was gone. She had just wandered off. The next day, someone called us with the news that she was hanging around be the old kibbutz factory. S. and I went there and tried to catch her, but we failed miserably. She wasn’t letting us anywhere near her. In the end, we had to give up. I hoped that she would just wander back to the pet zoo, but no.
That was a few days ago… Since then, there have been a few sightings of her, but I never manage to find her. She’s like a ghost peahen, haunting the kibbutz! I just hope she’ll be ok out there. And maybe one day, she’ll decide to join us again…