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.
around zones 7-10
around zones 5-9
around zones 7-11
around zones 9-11
around zones 6-10
around zones 6-10
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.