‘Noisy’ peacock and his two mates are confined to their aviary

Asbo peacock locked up: ‘Noisy’ bird and his two mates who are terrorising a village are confined to their aviary after council threatens owners with anti-social behaviour action

  • Becky Mullan-Feroze and Dave Markham, both 55, have to keep peafowl in barn
  • Birds wandered freely on their farm but had ‘detrimental effect’ on neighbours
  • Amber Valley Borough Council ordered the couple to take control of their birds 

A peacock accused of terrorising a Derbyshire village has been locked up by its owners after they were threatened with anti-social behaviour action.  

Becky Mullan-Feroze and Dave Markham, both 55, used to allow their fowl – Stephen, Esmerelda and Ariel – to roam on their farm in the village of Marehay.

But the birds are now shut in an aviary after Amber Valley Borough Council sent the couple a warning about the ‘detrimental effect’ of the peafowl. 

The council said they had received complaints about the birds ‘escaping’, ‘causing noise disturbance’ and defecating in a nearby housing estate.

The birds are now ‘under lock and key’ after Amber Valley Borough Council sent the couple a warning about the ‘detrimental effect’ of the peafowl

Becky Mullan-Feroze and Dave Markham, both 55, used to allow their fowl – Stephen, Esmerelda and Ariel – to roam on their farm in the village of Marehay, Derbyshire

The pair have a cattery and livery stables at the farm where they also keep chickens and pigs

But Ms Mullan-Feroze says the birds only leave their farm because residents in the housing estate have been feeding them.  

The letter, from Ian Tranter, the council’s Environmental Health Practitioner, quotes the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, section 43. 

The couple joke their peacock should be renamed Asbo – just as one particularly viscous swan on the River Cam was named Mr Asbo before he had to be moved after terrorising tourists in Cambridge in 2012. 

Ms Mullan-Feroze said: ‘We first got a call from the council and set about getting the birds under lock and key.

‘Then about five days later we got this letter. Initially we thought it was someone playing a joke on us, but when we realised it was the real thing our reaction was that it was a bit over the top. But we will respect the law.

‘We’ve kept our sense of humour over this and have joked that we should re-name Stephen ‘Asbo’.

‘The peafowl are placid birds and not aggressive. They have been encouraged into the urban lifestyle by people feeding them.

The council said they had received complaints about the birds ‘escaping’, ‘causing noise disturbance’ and defecating in a nearby housing estate

‘It’s bonkers, absolutely appalling and ridiculous getting the letter.

‘I think it is very extreme to say the birds have had a detrimental effect on the residents. The over efficiency the council has shown is not right.

‘We are very disappointed in the council and that we have upset a lot of people and will upset more who love the birds.

‘They’ve had four years of being liberated and now they might have to be kept in an enclosure. They like to wander outside during breeding season. 

‘We’ve been told by the council to try and catch them when they wander away, which we do straight away.

‘Our farm has 15 acres and you can’t throw a net over every inch of it, it’s not reasonable. The only way to stop them wandering is to keep them penned up which is not great for them.

‘Just like any other bird they make noise during mating season but outside of that they don’t really wander or make much noise. 

Ms Mullan-Feroze says the birds only leave their farm because residents in the housing estate have been feeding them

‘It would be really good to come to some compromise with the neighbours that would maybe see the birds kept away for the mating season and then after let back out.’

In compliance to the council’s demands, Ms Mullan-Feroze and Mr Markham have now confined the birds to a hastily constructed aviary.

But they fear that if the peafowls fail to settle in the aviary after years of roaming free they will have to be re-homed.

The council’s letter said: ‘I have received numerous complaints about peafowl escaping from your land and causing damage to and defecating on several nearby residential properties and furthermore causing noise disturbance to the residents.

In compliance to the council’s demands, Ms Mullan-Feroze and Mr Markham have now confined the birds to a hastily constructed aviary

A council spokesman confirmed the authority had issued a warning letter about keeping control of the birds

‘I am therefore satisfied that this could be considered to be having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality and that your conduct (which includes ‘a failure to act’) is unreasonable.’ 

If Ms Mullan-Feroze and Mr Markham, who have two grown-up children, fail to heed the warning they could face a fine of up to £2,500. 

The pair have a cattery and livery stables at the farm where they also keep chickens and pigs.

A council spokesman confirmed the authority had issued a warning letter about keeping control of the birds.

The letter, from Ian Tranter, the council’s Environmental Health Practitioner, quotes the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, section 43

The peacock and peahens had gone in to the estate more in recent week because the breeding season had begun and they were ‘driven by nature’ to seek out mates and find safe places to nest, Ms Mullan-Feroze said

He added: ‘As this potentially could be an ongoing case, the council is not in a position to say anything further at this time.’    

Ms Mullan-Feroze said she had received just one complaint about her birds, from a ‘polite gentleman’ who called her to report that Stephen had eaten his bedding plants. She admitted the birds do sometimes roost in trees and on house roofs on the estate. 

If Ms Mullan-Feroze and Mr Markham, who have two grown-up children, fail to heed the warning they could face a fine of up to £2,500

She added: ‘The peacock was a birthday present from a friend four years ago and soon after we purchased two young ladies to keep him company. They all get along very well.

‘We let the birds roam and they have taken to wandering in to the housing estate. The reason they are frequent visitors there is because people keep feeding them and as a consequence the birds treat the estate as a desirable territory.’ 

The peacock and peahens had gone in to the estate more in recent week because the breeding season had begun and they were ‘driven by nature’ to seek out mates and find safe places to nest, Ms Mullan-Feroze said.

Ms Mullan-Feroze caught the peacock by employing a ‘honeytrap’.

She said: ‘We put Esmerelda in a big cage and left the door open. Once Stephen was lured inside we shut the door.’

The peafowl spent four days inside a cramped shed but have now moved in to the converted barn which is high enough for them to roost in.

Ms Mullan-Feroze added: ‘The barn isn’t ideal but it had to be done. We are law-abiding people and don’t want to fall out with any of our neighbours.

‘If the birds don’t take to their new surroundings then they will have to be re-homed, which would make me very sad because they are exquisite creatures. Every time I see them they amaze me with their colour and beauty.

‘It is a shame they are now locked up because for all their lives they have lived in the wild.’ 

The couple joke their peacock should be renamed Asbo – just as one particularly viscous swan on the River Cam was named Mr Asbo (pictured) before he had to be moved after terrorising tourists in Cambridge in 2012

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