I’ve written a little about the mean duck blues this past week when I shared the story of Fred, our Muscovy duck, and how he was terrorizing the peafowl. I never got into the story of Susannah, our white peahen, and her disappearance, though I eluded to it in the tale of Fred.
Well, sadly, Susannah disappeared from the farm in the past month. She and Figaro, our white peacock, had had a nice summer together. She was growing and had many friends, a beautiful free-ranging life with a snooze in the highest branches of a pine tree behind the chicken coop every night.
If you followed The Marriage of Figaro, you know that not one, but two, Susannahs had been chosen for Figaro. Male peafowl would have a harem in the wild, and so we thought it might be easier on the peahens if there were more than one, hence bringing home the two ladies for Fig.
I never filled you in on how the summer went with the three beautiful white peafowl, partly because it was tragic, but also because I was super-busy. The tragic tale is that Susannah-1 & Figaro got on just famously, but Susannah-2 & Figaro had trouble from the start.
Figaro abused his poor, dear bride. It was awful to find Susannah-2 battered and bloodied. Being a white bird, it was especially heartbreaking and dramatic. I’d rescue her and clean her wounds, treat her and isolate her for convalescence and gradually re-introduce her to the flock. All would be fine until Figaro would show up.
We think that perhaps she was weak to begin with or unwell. Weakness was revealed when she would shy away, barely eat, stay to the corners and backside of her coop or hide in the back bushes when she was free-ranging. I never could tell what her story was. You can imagine how crushing it was to find her dead one morning after Figaro had attacked her for a third time.
I tried to keep her protected but we have a large expanse of property for all of the birds to find space in and it hasn’t been a problem to have personality conflicts on occasion between the birds. They typically find establish territories and find peace.
Another thought we had was that maybe Susannah-2 was actually not a she, but a he. In which case, it would’ve been not odd that Figaro would challenge him, not her.
Now you know Susannah-2’s sad story.
Susannah-1’s sad story, though, appears to be that she was driven off of the farm by mean Fred, the Muscovy. One day I’d caught him menacing her and removed him. Thereafter I tried to convince her to go into the enclosed coop-yard. I was never successful and a couple of days afterward I noticed she was missing in the morning. I looked everywhere for signs of her, for a couple of weeks. It was very unusual that she was not within view. She was very social.
I began the search for a new mate, or two, for Figaro. Figaro would miss Susannah next spring, for sure, but I didn’t want to risk that he would go looking for her this fall. There is less foliage on the trees, less cover from predators. I’m trying to learn from the past. I’m learning on the fly. Why else do you think we call this place “Wing and a Prayer Farm?”
I found a white peahen in my internet search. It took me so long this past year to find Figaro a mate(or two), that I was delighted to find a new one so quickly. The peahen lived in a town in Ohio right on the route home from a recent roadtrip my daughter & I had completed.
Char & I picked up our new, beautiful 4 year old breeding hen at the Four Oaks Peafowl Farm, trucking her 9 hours home and settling her into our barn at about 9p.m.. Figaro was roosting in his favorite oak tree and was unaware that a new gal was on the premises.
We named the new bride “Xenia Marie.” Why? Well, we had a lot of hours on the road together and, in playing the alphabet game, got stuck on “X.” Stuck on “X” for a long time, for many hours, for many miles. We decided it would be cheating to name our peahen an “X”-name and then using it for the game. But we did brainstorm quite a few names. There is a road near where my son lives that is called “Xenia Place” and also, it sounds a lot like Zena, Warrior Princess’s name. Char & I were superheroes for Halloween this year and so Xenia seemed to fit our girl.
After her second full day in the barn, we decided to introduce Xenia Marie & Figaro. The GOOD NEWS is that it’s love. They get along very well. Thank God for a happy ending, for now. Maybe next year there’ll be peachicks? As we’d hoped would happen with Figaro and the Susannahs….with Figaro & Jewel…
Time will tell.