Deterring peacocks

ilovegardening(10a San Gabriel Valley of L.A.)March 13, 2012

I consider myself blessed to live in an area that has peacocks/peafowl roaming its neighborhoods. I love them. I love it when they're in my yard and I can take closeup photos of them. BUT...I don't love what they can do to flower beds!

The last time I planted a bed it was spectacular, just overflowing with plants and blooms. Then the peacocks invaded. They ate many of the plants, dug up others--including gladiola bulbs--apparently just for the fun of it, as they weren't EATING them, just spreading them all over the lawn. Then, when most of the plants had been destroyed they took to digging little cubbyholes in the soil to lie down in.

I've just had my gardener create two huge new beds, and for the one in the backyard--since I don't care about it being seen from the street--we put 24" chicken wire around it. So far that's been enough of a visual cue to keep the peacocks out. In the front yard, though, I don't want ugly fencing around the bed, so we're going with 18" decorative fencing. We've talked about laying chicken wire (or some other mesh fence) ON TOP of the soil, as that wouldn't prevent the seedlings from coming up, but should prevent the peacocks from digging. However, once the plants are taller, they're going to eat those they like!

We also thought about placing chicken wire over the bed, i.e., laying it across the 18" tall decorative fence and then supporting it with 18" stakes, so if peacocks land on it it won't collapse under their weight. But, again, once the plants are tall enough to poke through the fence...they're going to eat them.

So I'm looking for suggestions on how to keep the peacocks OUT of my flower beds. I do not want anything that's toxic to anything, not spiders, birds, bees, nothing. And, yes, I do realize that if I stuck to the FEW plants they're not interested in, this wouldn't be as much of a problem, but I WANT a multitude of different plants, so my goal is to dissuade the peacocks from bothering the beds altogether. (FWIW, the only three types of plants I found that they didn't touch were alyssum, dianthus, and cosmos.)

I also don't want the peacocks getting caught or stuck in the fencing if we go with the 'lay it over/on the soil' idea.

Any ideas?!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

And you feel blessed??

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:11PM
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ilovegardening(10a San Gabriel Valley of L.A.)

Why, yes, I do. Thanks for asking! :)

They're not only beautiful to look at, but they've provided me a whole new hobby that turned into a way to earn money. They're also very entertaining to watch, especially when the new chicks start showing up with their moms in the spring.

Yes, I absolutely feel blessed and lucky to have these amazing birds in my yard, and that they pose for me whenever I want and let me take closeup pictures. But that doesn't mean I enjoy them ruining my flower beds, or that I want to skip having flowers, you know?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Have you considered getting a flock of guineas for the benefits they can do in your garden? They tend to act as "watchdogs" and they have very good eyes and can see and eat almost microscopic insects. People with a tick problem sometimes resort to guineas. Our guineas eliminated a flea beatle outbreak in our garden a couple of years ago. I don't know for sure, but the guineas might be territorial enough to keep the peacocks off of your property. You might be interested in the book, Gardening with Guineas. Pitting the guineas against the peacocks might be a little like "fighting fire with fire."


    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 1:32AM
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ilovegardening(10a San Gabriel Valley of L.A.)

Thanks, zenman. No, I can honestly say I'd never even THOUGHT about bringing in some guineas! However...I don't want to rid my property of the peacocks, so that's not an option. They're an important part of my life at this point, and I'd hate to see them go. But, as I've said, they make growing lovely flower beds a challenge!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 11:51AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

I suspect you live near the arboretum, right? If so, call them to ask for any potential tricks, gimmicks or whatever else has worked for other folks.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 12:44PM
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ilovegardening(10a San Gabriel Valley of L.A.)

Yes--a mile, to be exact! :) When I go there I see that they're doing NOTHING--in a physical sense, like fencing--to dissuade the peafowl from destroying their beautiful plants, and I don't believe for one moment that they're ONLY growing things peacocks don't like. So the mystery DO they prevent the peafowl from destroying their plants?!

Good idea to ask them for tips. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 12:55PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Friends of Peacocks, Palos Verdes, suggests both motion activated sprayer, and red pepper flakes scattered around your plants as deterrents.

I can't vouch for how effective, we don't have freely roaming peafowl here. A local nursery keeps a few but they don't have the run of the nursery, are contained...

Here is a link that might be useful: Contech Scarecrow - I have one for deer, robins&crows will trigger it

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 1:08PM
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ilovegardening(10a San Gabriel Valley of L.A.)

Thanks, morz8! The motion activated sprayer is a great idea. I'm looking at different models right now. This may be exactly what I was hoping for. Once set up, it'll be easier than continually spreading red pepper flakes around...two very large beds...and I think this will actually work, whereas with the pepper, who knows?!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 7:19PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

As I suggested, call the arboretum. They have some suggestions because they've received of flack from nearby folks about the peacocks.

Jean who formerly gardened for 30-some years in Long Beach, CA.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 10:06PM
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