'Spread your colours across the sky' - Tributes pour in for popular peacock killed by dog
PUBLISHED: 16:01 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:38 18 July 2019
A peacock known to thousands of visitors to a Norfolk nature reserve has died after being savaged by a dog.
Ashley and his twin brother, also Ashley, had lived all their 17 years at Faith animal rescue in Hickling delighting visitors and often appearing in 'spotter' lists compiled by wildlife watchers.
Faith founder Judy Simmance said the bird was attacked on the lawn, a trail of tail feathers bearing witness to the strike.
Traumatised, he stayed away for three days, not even coming home to feed, and rescuers were only able to catch him when he became too weak.
Thinking he could be saved he was primed for surgery but vets discovered so much skin had been ripped from his leg there was nothing they could do and the decision was made to put him to sleep.
Since sharing details of the attack on social media Mrs Simmance said she was amazed by the reaction, with hundreds of people posting condolence messages and voicing their shock.
Meanwhile, Ashley's brother was pining and refusing to display, spending time hanging around his sibling's old haunts.
Mrs Simmance said the two birds were given the same name as chicks because they were impossible to tell apart.
As they grew one appeared to have more of a white flash and prefer the area at the front of the house, whereas Ashley #2 was more usually found at the back.
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It is Ashley #1 that has been killed.
His brother is said to "completely lost" following the death.
Mrs Simmance said at the time of the attack they were having 150 hens delivered so didn't hear or see a thing although she imagines he would have cried out.
"So many people loved to see him. Even those walking up and down the road were always coming in and taking photographs," she said.
She suspects passing dog walkers were to blame and said that they should have informed them.
Writing on Facebook she said: "Ashley's brother looks so sad and has not displayed since losing his companion of 17 years.
"Poor boy, we don't know how to help him feel less lonely.
"Ashley had delighted many people over his seventeen years with us.
"His friendly courage and beautiful displays will be missed by staff and visitors to Faith and to the nature reserve.
"A wonderful, beautiful bird who is already greatly missed. RIP - Spread your colours across the sky."