The bird population at the nation’s largest producer of peacock hatching eggs is taking a hit from this long stretch of cold weather. It will take years for the numbers to come back.
Dennis Fett operates the Peacock Information Center in the Pottawattamie County town of Minden. He was beginning to recover from a tornado that hit two years ago and killed around 100 birds when the cold snap hit, sending temperatures below zero over the past two weeks.
“You always lose a bird here and there during cold weather," Fett says. "Some of the older birds get up in age and they just can’t handle it well, even when you provide them with enough food and water, which we do. So that happened.”
Fett says he only has around 70 peacocks still alive and it will take some time to rebuild the population.
“We have always produced close to a thousand hatching eggs," he says. "You have to understand it takes three years for a bird to get to actual sexual maturity to produce about 20 eggs a year.”
Fett has been raising the colorful birds since 1980. He says he will not give up, adding he’s “here for the long run.” But in the near-term, he says, the loss will lead to a shortage of peacocks nationwide, and a price increase for them.