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White peacock donated to Newstead Abbey

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There is a new attraction at Newstead Abbey thanks to the efforts of volunteer bird keeper Arthur Parkinson.

The 21 year-old gardener has donated a white peacock he hatched in his own incubator from an egg he bought off Ebay.

Arthur has visited the much-loved ancestral home of poet Lord Byron since a young boy and had always admired peacocks but was unable to keep one because he lives in a town.

Said Arthur: “I was working in Kew Gardens as a trainee but was coming back most weekends.

“I had bought an egg from Ebay and after 28 days it hatched, then I placed the yellow chick under one of my chicken hens, who fostered it.”

Although the unusual white peacock was named Tracy, after a shop worker at the abbey, Arthur suspects it is a male, as the bird spends a lot of time looking in the mirror, which is apparently a trait.

The pea fowl lived with Arthur’s father before spending a couple of months as a fugitive in various Papplewick household gardens.

But the bird was returned thanks to a phone call from an allotment holder and has now been living at the abbey for two weeks.

Said Arthur: “He has to live away from the older peacocks because they have quite an established pecking order.

“Tracy is currently living with three garden pheasants, who are keeping him company in the cloister gardens at the abbey.”

The tradition of keeping peacocks at Newstead Abbey goes back 200 years.

And although they were never kept by Byron himself, he was known for rearing them at his property in Venice, Italy.

Said Arthur: “There are so many weddings at the abbey, so having pictures with an amazing white peacock in the background would be a great feature.”

If you would like to meet Tracy face-to-face you should visit at the weekend, when the house is open.

 

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