Why Raise Peafowl?
Peafowls are rewarding and fascinating birds to keep! Here are just five reasons why you should consider raising peafowl!
1. Peafowl Are Stunning
Peafowl are well-known for the peacock’s extravagant long jewel-toned train. Both peacocks and peahens are lovely birds. I’m particularly fond of the emerald green plumage that distinguishes peahens from peacocks.
Aesthetics are a compelling motivation for many people to raise peafowl. This is especially true once you dig into all the stunning variations out there!
As an artist, peafowls are an endless inspiration. If you enjoy art, you’ll always have a live model to work from!
2. Peafowl Are Profitable
While you may choose to raise them for pleasure, peafowl can also be profitable birds to raise. You can make multiple streams of income with your flock. Here are a few creative ways:
- Hatch and sell peachicks
- Sell hatching eggs
- Sell the peacock feathers
- Upcycle feathers into crafts to sell
- Sell yearlings
- Bag and sell the manure
In addition, you might offer farm tours to the public for a small admittance fee or donation. You could also open a petting zoo or get started in agritourism. Peafowls are excellent for drawing in crowds.
3. Peafowl Have Long Lives
Provided that you maintain the health of your flock, peafowl have the potential to live up to forty years! This means you could be spending many years with your birds, as opposed to the average of five or six years with a pet chicken. This certainly makes peafowl quite appealing.
4. Peafowl Form Bonds
Peafowls are independent in nature and can be skittish with humans they aren’t familiar with. Over time, however, you can build a connection with your peafowl. Some peafowl – particularly the hens – can be trained to perch on your arm.
Spend time with your birds every day to give them time to become accustomed and comfortable with your presence! Remember, you can’t force a bond; it takes time and patience.
5. Peafowl Make Good Watchdogs
Peafowls are alert to the presence of predators as a survival mechanism. While peafowl won’t protect your other birds, they will scream when a predator is nearby. This can make them helpful for homesteads. I find the peafowl much more reliable than chickens for determining when a fox is nearby.
That said, a goose might better suit your needs if you are looking for a guard bird. It’s important to remember that peafowl will not protect your home or your birds!
How to Care for Your Peafowl
Peafowls have particular care requirements that help them thrive. But, they aren’t especially difficult to care for and tend to be surprisingly resilient as adults.
Peafowls are omnivores and enjoy a wide variety of food. However, don’t be surprised if your peafowls tend to be picky eaters!
Your peafowl should be fed a high-protein diet consisting of non-medicated game bird or turkey pellets. Avoid feeding your peafowl chicken mash, as this doesn’t contain the right nutrients to fulfill their needs.
For a treat, you can toss in some sunflower seeds, whole corn, dog or cat kibble, mealworms, and forage. Finely broken eggshells are an excellent source of calcium peahens require for thicker, healthier eggs.
We feed our peafowl once in the evening to avoid waste, but you can also feed them twice a day. As long as they’re consuming enough food, the time you feed them doesn’t matter.
Always ensure your peafowl have access to fresh, clean water! The water dish should be free of dirt or shavings.
Housing Your Peafowl
Peafowls require a non-drafty, insulated, and ventilated coop. Even if you free-range your birds, it’s still important for them to have a secure coop for the night! Ideally, this should include four walls, but three walls may work fine in a particularly warm climate.
Peafowls do best on a non-dusty substrate such as pine shavings. Never use cedar shavings since they’re toxic to all animals.
Your enclosure should be large enough to accommodate the number of birds it contains. Peacocks require more space than peahens to fan out their long trains. Ideally, the outside pen should have a minimum height of 7ft and a width of 10ft per bird.
Ensure you have a covering over the top of your enclosure. Peafowl are adept at flying and prone to escaping their pens! This can be a simple net, as long as it prevents your peafowl from flying out and predators from entering.
Be sure to include multiple roosts for your peafowl to perch on! They enjoy spending time off the ground. Roosts should be sturdy and secure enough to accommodate the weight of multiple peafowls.
Peahens aren’t fond of nesting boxes and often build their own nests – probably where you don’t want them. Our peahens enjoy laying their eggs beneath the roosts, or on top of the nesting boxes, we originally built when the coop housed chickens.
Free-Ranging Your Peafowl
Can you let your peafowl roam free? Free-ranging peafowl comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages. Peafowl enjoys foraging for insects and plant matter, which can help reduce your feed bill. In addition, the lack of confined space often results in fewer conflicts between birds.
That said, free-ranging increases the risk of predation and other injuries. Foxes, coyotes, dogs, and other predators are serious threats to vulnerable free-ranged birds. This is particularly true for nesting peahens. Your peafowl might also cause an accident on the road or get hit by a vehicle.
Peacocks are also notorious for being territorial during breeding; some may attack neighborhood children or dogs. In addition, peafowl love roaming and don’t have specific boundaries! They’ve been known to travel five miles or so from home in search of other peafowl or simply out of curiosity.
This means your birds might end up on a distant neighbor’s doorstep – or their roof. And not everyone enjoys waking up to a peacock’s scream.
It’s extremely important to let your peafowl acclimate to their new home before free-ranging them. This process can take up to six months! If you don’t wait, your birds won’t consider your property home and may even become feral.
Caring for Peafowl In Summer and Winter
Peafowls have adapted to warm climates. However, providing your peafowl with a constant water source during the scorching heat is essential to avoid dehydration! They also require shade to regulate their temperatures. A well-designed coop will provide plenty of ventilation in the warmer season.
The winter months may prove more challenging for your birds. That said, India Blue peafowl are quite hardy and can adapt to most temperatures in North America.
You may find you need to heat your coop in the winter. If you do, take plenty of precautions to prevent fire hazards! Ensure their water doesn’t freeze and check them frequently in the cold.
Maintaining the Health of Your Peafowl
Peafowl are susceptible to various diseases and viruses you should be aware of. These include avian influenza, Newcastle Disease, Blackhead Disease, and many others. Remember, education is the first step to prevention!
While there aren’t any vaccinations for peafowl as of yet, there are many things you can do to protect the health of your flock. Here are a few basic tips:
- Maintain a clean and dust-free environment
- Keep a dust bath for your peafowl to help prevent parasites
- Deworm your flock twice a year with Tramisol or Ivomec
- Ensure your peafowl are separate from other birds such as chickens and turkeys
Can you take your peafowl to the vet? Since peafowls are exotics, you’ll need to find an exotic animal or avian veterinarian if your birds require specialized care. A large animal or farm vet most likely doesn’t have the right qualifications to treat peafowl.
To mix in their water, combine 4 ccs of 1% ivermectin per gallon of water. This will cover your entire flock.
However, if you need to treat one particular bird, you can administer it orally with a syringe. Use one drop for a month-old bird and approximately seven drops for an adult.
You should ideally deworm your peafowl at the start of the breeding season and again at its conclusion.
Raising Peafowl As Pets
Can you raise peafowl as pets? Peafowl is notorious for being standoffish and independent. That said, if you spend regular time with your birds, they can bond quite fiercely with you. While raising pet peafowl in the house is not ideal for the birds, you can keep them as outdoor pets!
Adults, in particular, can benefit from keeping peafowl as pets. When the stress of daily life becomes too overwhelming, you can always head outside with your birds.
However, peafowl can be fun and educational for kids, too! Having a share in raising peafowl teaches children about responsibility. It also instills a love of and respect for nature in them.
Just be cautious leaving your kids unsupervised with a peacock during the breeding season. They tend to become more territorial this time. Most peahens, on the other hand, can be trusted with children.
It’s important to teach your children about peafowl behavior and body language. Make sure they know what is acceptable and what isn’t. For example, kids shouldn’t pull on a peacock’s train or get in a bird’s face.
Keep your expectations realistic if you plan on raising pet peafowl. These birds aren’t as sociable as chickens and turkeys.
Are peafowls friendly? Some peafowl can be surprisingly friendly, especially once they’ve bonded to a particular human. Peafowls are also extremely inquisitive birds and enjoy being around humans. They also tend to have a standoffish, independent nature. Peafowl unaccustomed to humans can be skittish and difficult to tame.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I have just one peacock or peahen? Peafowls are social birds and require stimulation from a flock hierarchy. Ideally, you should keep at least two peafowls together. Never keep two males in the same pen!
Are peafowls expensive? Adult peafowl cost anywhere from $45-$900, and some variations can be more expensive. Cost depends on age, quality, health condition, location, and other factors.
Are peacocks hard to take care of? Peafowls aren’t particularly difficult to care for. I recommend raising turkeys before raising peafowl, but beginners can easily care for peafowl without prior experience. Make sure you educate yourself as thoroughly as you can.
Why do peacocks scream at night? Peacocks are notorious for their loud calls in the wee hours of the night. Typically, they scream at night to announce the presence of predators in the vicinity.
Can I keep two peacocks together? Peacocks are extremely territorial and fight each other to death. Never keep more than one male in the same space unless you add more peahens to compensate. Keep a ratio of one peacock for every five peahens and increase the space for every bird added.
What do I do if my peafowl starts fighting? If you notice your peafowl are fighting, you need to separate them immediately to prevent death or injury. Occasional squabbles should be expected, but if one bird is constantly picking on another, you must take action.
Why is my peahen attacking me? It’s uncommon for peahens to attack humans, but when it happens, it’s usually an indication she’s protecting her nest, eggs, or peachicks. Give her space! If she isn’t broody, she may be accustomed to humans. In this case, try to spend time in the pen with her in a relaxed, casual manner. In time, she should grow more comfortable.
Peafowl is incredible birds with unique personalities and a joy to keep on the homestead. Peafowls are not picky eaters, they can be very affectionate, they get along well with other animals, and they molt every year, which means that they drop their feathers which gives you a humane way of gathering and making extra income by selling them. Make sure you keep your expectations realistic and do plenty of research before jumping in!
My family and I recently adopted a Rex rabbit named Ponyo. He free-roams in our house, which worked out wonderfully until we introduced him to our new Labrador, Wally. A week later, Ponyo started...
Pigs have big appetites and effective digestive systems to cope with them. They are the opposite of picky eaters and will try almost any available food source, including tomatoes, potatoes,...