About Us - George & Sonja ConnerGEORGE CONNER, Conner Hills Peafowl
As with many of us with peafowl, it started with one or two birds. I had raised Sebright and Sumatra chickens for fun and my sons had poultry for 4H and FFA projects. In 1976, someone traded us two blue peachicks for some chickens. One of them died and the other was a peahen. My children called her Lefty because she was the one left. Well, you can't have just one female, so I got a few more birds to go with Lefty. They ran free on my five acres in Oklahoma City since the perimeter was chain linked.
The first year one of the older hens started laying in the tall grass of the fence line. Peahens do a very good job of hiding their nests and I couldn't find it. One morning I found her remains in the pasture (that's one reason everyone says, "I need a hen."). Coyotes had visited during the night. A hen will protect her nest and is very vulnerable. This is one of the many lessons I've learned the hard way while breeding peafowl.
The next year we had a place to pen the birds from the varmints. We had purchased a few more blues. We wanted some whites but these were too expensive for us.
The years went on and we just had the India blues, selling some off as things got crowded; and as you know, we had to build more pens. The hens were always penned, but some extra cocks were still allowed out. They stayed in the fence and were a joy to watch. When our son did the chores for his hogs and chickens, he always carried a little radio. The neighbors got a kick from seeing him with a parade of about 15 peacocks in a line following the music as he did his work.
We stayed mostly with the blues, and not too many, as the children grew and went through college. We did get one trio of whites and raised a few of them.
We were selling chicks to a fellow for $5.00 and he was reselling them someplace (remember, this was in the '80's). He wound up owing me for some chicks and he gave me a blue pied to help settle the debt. This turned out to be a nice, loud colored male that I really admired.
The peacock was about 18 months old when I experienced my first problem with capillaria worms. I lost the pied and 8 other birds. I talked to a few veterinarians and was given a lot of guesses. It was some time later that I was able to determine what done them in. They all had the same symptoms. They were eating fine, then would get weak, stumble around, couldn't get up and died. At that time I was only worming with Piperazine.
Eventually, I got acquainted with people who also raised peafowl and learned much more from them. Just looking at how others do things is many times a big help. We got to where we had eight breeder pens and quite a few holding pens for the young.
I don't recall how I found out about it, but first subscribed to the Peacock Journal around 1994. When the first issue came, I was just thrilled as it had color photos and peafowl information on different kinds of peafowl I had never seen. It was a quality publication.
I recall writing to Charlotte Chaney, who was then secretary-treasurer of the United Peafowl Association, to ask what in the world a white-eye was. I had figured out that it didn't mean actual eyeballs in the head but wasn't at all sure what they were or where they were located. She sent part of a tail feather in a letter explaining them. Some of our hens were showing these traits and I started trying to make more. I'm still not really knowledgeable about peafowl genetics but find it a lot of fun.
The first convention we went to was in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The hosts were Mike Johns and Jody Ruddick. It was so enjoyable meeting the great members and so informative that we haven't missed a convention since. 2007 was our tenth one.
We retired and moved to our farm in Missouri; after I built more pens. We moved all of the poultry six hours up the turnpike in the back of a U-Haul truck. It took two trips in December and January in the rain and snow. They all survived.
The new pens were built with chain link hung vertically. They are strong enough to keep out most varmints. The bobcats, very good killers, caused a few losses by reaching through the links while the birds were on an outside roost at night. A smaller wire on the inside of the regular links fixed that problem. The bird netting on top works well to help prevent broken necks. A great horned owl learned he could land hard and bounce on it to reach some of the peacocks on high outside roosts. He is now in great horned owl heaven and no longer a problem.
We still have only about 400 peafowl including blue India pied white-eyed, white, Java green "Muticus Muticus", Cameo, bronze, purple, Midnight, blue India silver pied and Spaulding's. Seems we always need more pens. We have Fred Heubner's book on peafowl genetics. I don't fully understand it; but then, I've only read it 8 or 10 times. The fun and possibilities are so endless that building new pens will continue to be part of our life. I love these birds. We have learned a lot from being associated with the UPA. It can offer you a source of the best peafowl information in the world.
We are not big or fancy but you all are welcome to stop in and look any time. We like to talk about peafowl. Just give us a call first so we'll be home.
George and Sonja Conner - Conner Hills Farm Rogersville, Missouri
We love visitors but please call in advance to make sure we're home!