Hi! I can relate A TON to what you are saying! I have a planted peafowl aviary and I have tried many plants in the aviary and some have failed and some have thrived. My interest in peafowl and in plants kind of developed at the same time. I had been wanting peafowl and I heard about a bamboo garden that had peafowl. I visited them using the excuse that I was going for the plants, but I was most interested in seeing the peafowl. The owner of the bamboo garden helped me get my first pair of peafowl, and his beautiful garden also inspired me to create my own little paradise not only for me but for my peafowl. It is a nice escape especially when I am having a bad day.
I tried pamas grass before because I though since the grass is sharp on the edges the birds wouldn't destroy it. We had a huge pampas in our front yard of our old house and I thought once the bush was mature it would make a great nesting/hiding area for the peafowl. The peafowl trampled it, lay on it, and I watched them scratch at the leaves, not pecking, but actually scratching them all up! Needless to say they killed my pampas, but I figure different people's birds will react differently to plants. I know of a lady who grows bananas in her peachick pen and a guy who grew cannas in his peafowl pen and my birds would destroy such a soft tropical plant as bananas and cannas. I keep those tender plants on the outside of the pen, but if they are too close to the fence the birds can reach through and still peck at them.
I have really been wanting to try grape vines! I found a photo of someone's peafowl aviary that had a beautiful gourd vine growing all over the aviary fence. It looked so whimsical seeing all those gourds hanging from the fence and a proud peacock perched by it.
As for bamboo, I give it an A+ for peafowl aviaries. Just make sure you get clumping bamboo because the running kind can get out of control. I like to kick over some of my clumping bamboo's new shoots and I break open the shoot to feed the soft part to the peafowl. They eat it, but they aren't crazy about it. The bamboo shoots seem to be too tough for them to destroy. The clump you see in the photo below started out as just two or three wimpy yellowed bamboo stalks. They were maybe as thin as your pinky finger and maybe 5ft tall. Now they are growing out of the netting and they are very close in height to the surrounding pecan trees. Oh and the dead bamboo leaves provide the birds with something to scratch through to look for bugs. I love the color of dead bamboo leaves too. There is an oak tree overhanging my aviary so I get a lot of oak leaves in the pen as well, but sometimes I go out and rake up a bunch of leaves to put in the small attached pen I have because the peafowl really do love having leaves to scratch through. With the peachicks I raised last year I took them outside almost every day and I scratched through piles of leaves to find bugs for them and I would point at the bug and they would chase after it. When you watch a peahen with her peachicks that is exactly what she does for her babies, so substrate in the pen is great especially if you plan on having a peahen raise her chicks in the pen.
One of my other favorite plants is Fatsia Japonica. This plant has thick leaves, looks tropical, and it stays green all year round in many growing regions.
Here is a clump of varigated bamboo - I think it is called Bambusa multiplex. It is yellow with green stripes.
I also like bringing big logs into the peafowl pen. The peafowl love jumping on top of them and it looks very majestic.
The way I test new plants is I put them in the peafowl aviary while they are still in the pot. If the birds don't hurt the plant too much within a week, I will plant it. They always test peck at plants - even the good ones that survive get a few bite marks. Usually I always go by the rule that the tougher feeling the plant, the more likely the peafowl will not destroy it. So soft plants like bananas I usually avoid. There are exceptions though. I find that elephant ears do really well. My yearling peafowl who were moved into the big aviary this year decided they would misbehave and they started pecking at my elephant ears a lot. The elephant ears are so tough though they grow back quickly and now the young peas are losing interest.
Anyways, I have other plants I would recommend and I also talk more about the grass seed I like to sow in the aviary, but I have already written an article about that on my website here:
Here is a page with links to some things that inspire me when it comes to aviary design & planting:
Also here are some more photos and details about my setup:
What planting zone are you in? I am in zone 8 but I like to pretend that I am in zone 9 or above.
Edited by MinxFox - 6/19/16 at 7:15pm