Home buttonAbout buttonNewsPeafowl buttonAviariesArticles buttonVideosLinks buttonFor Sale buttonContact ButtonArtSite Map

Landscaping Your Aviary

Landscaping is not required for your aviary, but it ads a nice touch visually for you, and it ads enrichment for your birds. You do not have to be very good at taking care of plants, and in this article I will show you how simple it can be to ad just a bit more to your aviary to make it more of an attractive feature to your yard rather than a fenced off area of all dirt. Many people have just all dirt or sand pens, and that is fine, but if you are going to keep such beautiful birds, why not keep them in a beautiful environment?

It is still not too late to landscape if you already have birds in your aviary and the aviary ground has had several years of being picked on so that now it is just a bunch of dirt. You can plant at any stage, but many say it is best to plant before you get birds. I know that is normally not an option. Normally plants are an afterthought and getting those birds you really want are the first thought!

First, let me go over some general things to keep in mind when planting:

1.Your aviary size will play a big role in if the plants will survive or not. More room with not many birds means the grass should fair well. Not much room and a lot of birds means the grass might not do so hot. Remember that the normal recomendation is 100 square feet per peafowl.

2. Some plants that work for me, might not work for you. Everyone's birds have different tastes. What my birds might not pick on your birds might love. Make sure that your birds get fed treats like lettuce and other green things to make them less tempted to eat the plants in the pen. If you can find an area that already has big, established bushes or other plants, do not be afraid to incorperate those into a new aviary. If you buy a new plant and you are not sure if they will eat it up or leave it alone, leave it in the pot but place it inside the aviary and leave it for a week or so. They will do test bites on almost any plant, but if they are actually eating what they bite off and seem to really enjoy it and they keep shredding up the plant, then you need to remove it and plant it elsewhere. If they generally leave it alone, then you can plant it inside the aviary.

The general rule for peafowl seems to be that the thicker the leaves, the less likely they are to eat it up. The softer the plant, the more likely it will be torn up. So if you think a pretty grove of bananas would look pretty in their aviary, it won't! They will tear even a big banana to shreds! Some people might be able to grow bananas in the pen, but I know of at least one other person other than me who failed miserably when they tried bananas.

3. Know the mature size of the plant. I let my plants grow through the netting, but some of the trees have torn the netting a little. I blame the type of netting I bought, but if you go with a large plant you might want to trim it sometimes to keep it from growing too much out of the netting.

4. When you go to plant a potted plant, remove it from the pot and gently move the roots so that they are not all formed into the shape of the pot. Next, get a bucket of water and pour water into the hole before you place the plant in the hole. After you pour the water in there imediately ad the plant and place the dirt in but do not pack the dirt too much. Once you have it all nice and planted sprinkle it with some more water. If you already have birds in the aviary, they will be very curious about what you are doing. They will want to scratch around in the dirt around the new plant. Sometimes you might have to put a bit of dirt back around the plant because the birds will scratch it a bit. Do not get too frustrated with them as even though they sometimes expose roots and everything they will eventually leave the plant alone.

5. Harmful plants - Yes, there is a list of plants that are harmful to birds. In my opinion, this list is made for parrots or macaws and is not a good guide for birds like peafowl. One such "harmful" plant, the lantana, has popped up on its own in my aviary. It turns out, lantanas are in India (peafowl are native to India), and I have watched my peafowl not only eat the leaves, but eat the "toxic" berries. None of my birds have died from the plants. Another such harmful plant would be heavenly bamboo, yet I have seen them eat the leaves and berries of this plant as well. I trust my birds instincts enough so I do not reference the list of plants that are harmful to birds, but it is up to you if you want to find this list and reference it or not.

6. The peafowl fertilize your plants. Get a shovel and shovel up the pile of poo under the roost. This poo can then be put around your plants to give them some nutrients.

7. Planting zone - I am in zone 9a for planting, but you are probably in a colder zone. Not all the plants I mention will work for your weather so find out good plants for your zone and see if you can find plants like evergreens that will stay green all year round so that your aviary will always have some green.

8. Planting location - If you put a plant directly under a roost or perch, prepair for it to get covered in poo! Also, you might not want to plant bushes or young plants too close to the fence. Peafowl will sometimes pace along the fence and they will trample these plants along the fence.


Many people think that peafowl and grass cannot co-exist. Perhaps grass can't survive with other kinds of birds, but I have had great success with grass this year once I decided that I wanted to give it a try. When I first built my aviary, in the summer time it would be covered with thick, tall grass. As my number of peafowl increased and the years increased, year after year there were less and less patches of grass until my aviary became a dirt pen. I was tired of seeing boring brown. Tired of looking out at the rest of the yard which was nice and green. I wasn't sure if I would be able to have grass again. The soil quality was not very good. The ground was a mix of dirt and sand. Still, I had to try. I got a big sack of ryegrass and the day before a big rain I grabbed fistfulls of the seed and scattered it out by hand all over the pen. After I had blanketed the 40x50ft space with seed, I lightly raked it. The seeds are so small and so numerous that there was no need to be worried that the birds would eat them all up. After a few days, I started to see little bits of green. Slowly but surely, I was getting more and more little slivers of green and the grass keeps getting taller and thicker. Throughout the process the peafowl have been eating the grass, but they do not scratch it up or overgraze it. Some small areas don't have grass, but overall most of the aviary has grass now. The grass is a wonderful treat for the peafowl. No matter what time of day, they can always snack on the grass. You do not have to fertilize the grass because the birds will do that for you!


Well with a name like The Bamboo Peacock, you can be sure I will mention bamboo! First off, let me warn you - Get your bamboo from a trusted source. Finding a place that specializes in mainly bamboo or has lots of bamboo and seems knowledgable is better than buying bamboo from The Home Depo. The kind of bamboo you want is CLUMPING bamboo. The other kind is called running bamboo, and this is the kind that will take over. Clumping bamboo spreads, but it spreads slowly and only spreads in a circle. With any kind of bamboo, it is easiest to get rid of unwanted stalks by kicking over the bamboo shoot when it is little and fragile. With the big ones you can cut them down and use them for a fishing pole or fencing. I like bamboo because it is easy to grow. It lets you know when it needs water by folding the leaves. Also, bamboo grows quickly and therefore you will not have to wait a long time for a nice, showy plant. Also because of this fast growth, if you want a good source of shade they provide great shade for your birds. My birds love to relax in the shade of the bamboo and I keep their water container in the shade of the bamboo to keep it cool. Bamboo stays green all year round and will give you that tropical feeling all year round. For cold zones like zone 5, clumping fountain bamboo can work. Once again, remember you probably want clumping bamboo.

Fatsia Japonica

around zones 7-10

This is one of my favorite plants. I have three in the aviary and the leaves are thick so the peafowl don't eat them. This plant has very uniquely shaped leaves which I just love! When I first planted it, it didn't grow much the first year but eventually it started growing and now this year (2014) all three fatsias are getting lots of new growth. Fatsias are green all year round and they are another easy to care for plant. I really recomend them if you are in the right growing zone.

Japanese Maple

around zones 5-9

For those of you in cooler areas, the Japanese Maple can be a beautiful pop of color. The one I have in my aviary is a nice burgundy color. I got my maple from The Home Depo. I personally wish mine was bushier. The ones I see when I google "Japanese Maple" are very nice and bushy, but mine is not as nice. While I like the color this tree brings to the aviary, it doesn't seem to provide much shade and it doesn't seem to grow very fast. Also, it is not green all year round which annoys me because I want a tropical feel, but it is still a nice plant and the peafowl leave it alone.

Cast Iron (Aspidistra Elatior)

around zones 7-11

This is another one of those evergreen plants that I love! The one complaint I have is that they dwell in the shade and if they are in the sun they will not fair so well. My peafowl pick on or scratch them sometimes, but this thick leafed plant always re-bounds. My peafowl enjoy lying amidst the clumps of these plants. I keep them in the shade of the crabapple tree in my aviary. If you have a very shady area or a good shady spot this plant will do great.


around zones 9-11

I did not plant this plant in my aviary. It came up on its own and I am not sure if this one is the Florida native variety or the invasive variety. Lantanas are great at spreading, so I do not exactly recomend this plant to you because of that. Here the plant dies back in the winter and then grows back in the spring. Lantanas really take root and can be a bear to romove, yet they grow fast for instant shade and my peafowl have enjoyed resting under the lantana bushes. This plant produces many colorful flowers througout most of the summertime which attract butterflies and bees into the aviary. Lantanas are also found in India.

Gold Dust

around zones 6-10

This is a super pretty bush with yellow flecks or "gold dust". Currently my gold dust plant is about the same size it was when I bought it (I didn't buy it too long ago though). The peafowl picked on the leaves a good bit and scratched around the base of it a lot but it has been able to recover from them and now they never mess with it. I can't wait for my gold dust to become a big large bush like the ones I see in other people's yards. The gold dust plant is evergreen.

Heavenly Bamboo

around zones 6-10

This is yet another plant that I didn't plant. Heavenly bamboo is green all year round and has bright red berries. My peafowl used to pick on this plant a little, but now they leave it alone. It won't really provide shade unless if you have several of them in a clump, but it is a nice decorative plant.

Jack's Giant Elephant Ear

around zones 7-10 but because they are bulbs, they can be pulled up and overwintered in the house which is what many people do in cooler areas.

I have been wanting to grow large elephant ears for a while. For some reason, I never had any luck with elephant ears until my mom went to a home improvent store and bought me several bags of elephant ear bulbs. I planted two Jack's Giant elephant ear bulbs inside the peafowl pen. I didn't expect them to survive the peafowl. Like I have mentioned earlier on this page, normally soft plants don't make it in the peafowl pen. Since bananas did not work in the pen, and elephant ears have just about the same structure and tenderness as a banana, I planted most of the elephant ears outside of the pen. The elephant ears I planted in the pen came up and while the peafowl sometimes nibbled on them a little, they never destroyed them. One of the ones in the aviary I planted under the hose so that it gets the dripping water. Elephant ears can get very droopy if it is very hot, so if you see them drooping make sure you water them. Each new leaf seems to be bigger than the last. I really love them!

Giant Cycad

around zones 9-11

I think it can be grown in areas even colder than 9, but I am not sure... Anyways, sometimes this plant is evergreen, but sometimes the winter will turn all of the leaves yellow. The leaves are very pokey so you might not want this plant because it can poke you. I like it because it reminds me of a palm. Since the leaves are so hard and pokey the peafowl will not mess with this plant, although you may have to protect the new growth on it because the new leaves are very tender.

Crepe Myrtle

around zones 7-9 with some varieties perhaps even more hardy.

There was already a crepe myrtle where we built the aviary, but now it is much larger and is growing through the netting. Some people prune their crepe myrtles back every year, but I don't like the way that looks so I do minimal if any trimming to mine. The crepe myrtle I have has hot pink flowers. Of course it is not green all year round, which is a bummer, but in the summer it makes up for it with the clumps of flowers it produces.

Native Plants

There are several plants native to my area that I have in the aviary. I have a young oak tree growing up through the netting and as it gets bigger I am excited for the day when the peafowl can perch on its brances. I also have 2 or 3 evergreen trees that have popped up. They grow fairly slowly. Then there is the crabapple tree that is also growing through the netting. This tree produces many white, strange smelling flowers at the beginning of spring and then fills out with nice roundish leaves. The oak and the crabapple create a lot of shade for the birds and fill the pen with leaves which the peafowl like to dig through and bugs can hide in. Bugs are good to have because the peafowl benifit from eating bugs.

So in summary, you should know your planting zone and pick plants that can be grown in your zone and that are not too tender.

Decide if you want plants that:

- have folliage all year.

- have flowers.

- provide good shade and cover.

- grow fast.

Make sure you water your new plants weekly and every now and then put some of your bird's poop around the plant for added nutrients. Be patient as some plants take longer to grow than others. Also remember that you can plant more tender plants around the outside of the aviary so that they can still beautify the area, but the birds cannot destroy them.

Plants That Have NOT Worked in My Aviary

Here is a list to give you ideas of plants that do not work inside an aviary.

Bananas - I tried planting ones around 3ft. tall and they were destroyed. Perhaps if you plant one even larger it will be okay. I am not sure as to what variety I planted.

Cannas - The peafowl kept picking at these soft leafed plants. They also die to the ground in the winter.