Why YOU should WANT a Peacock, Too!
I want a peacock. I mean, I know I want one, but I don’t just want to go buy one willy-nilly and then end up not knowing how to care for it, or worse, having him fly off and never come back.
So, I need to know more about peacocks, and peahens and such and decided our readers could benefit from the same information. So here it is, the things you need to about peafowl, BEFORE you fork over the cash.
So, why own peafowl? Well, I want a peacock, specifically, because I love the beauty of the bird and I want my friends and neighbors, especially neighborhood kids, to stop by and see him. Maybe they will want one for themselves someday, thereby sharing the beauty of poultry, as Purely Poultry always strives to do. However, I needed more of a reason than looks to decide on a Peacock, so I considered the bird’s usefulness. Peafowl (a term used to encompass peacocks, peahens, and peachicks), are good alert birds that will let you know if there are intruders. THIS alarm-sounding that would help keep my flock of duckies safe is what sold me. I had a flock of birds taken out by a predator last winter and need a good “guard bird” that will warn me of such predators in the future. I don’t want an aggressive bird, so some other varieties of watchdog birds were out of the running. I love the call of the peafowl, which is similar to that of “Kevin” on Disney’s animated movie “Up.” So, now that I can use him, and explain to my husband why we NEED a peacock, what kind of work will this guy need to be happy and healthy?
My first concern was how to house the peafowl. So, I researched and found that some of the most reputable peafowl breeders use a setup that is similar to that of a what you might expect to see at a dog kennel but has a few specifics that need consideration.
The best peafowl pens, generally speaking, run in 10 or 12-foot squares with a shed or a shelter attached to one end of the pen. A breeding trio, however, will require a flight pen that is 20 feet long, at least 6 feet high, and are wide enough for the peacock to flaunt those remarkable tail feathers. The shed, if possible, should face south with the pen situated in front. Purely Poultry always recommends using treated lumber and galvanized tin for rot and rust prevention and to keep the birds safe. Peafowl can and will fly, so the pen needs a top. I will make the top from 1″ poultry netting, 2″ nylon netting, or 2″x4″ wire, as my sources say any of these are good.
It is also recommended to have a gate in the front of the pen that is large enough to accommodate a wheelbarrow or similar wagon that will be used for cleaning the pens.
Speaking of cleaning, bedding for the bottom of the pens and shelters can be sand, tree bark, pine shavings, hay, straw, or other similar product. Purely Poultry does recommend the pine shavings.
Remember that peafowl do roost, rooftops being their favorite from what I hear, and since we’ve eliminated the rooftops with a pen cover, it’s going to be necessary to add a roost. To protect their feet from frostbite, they need a perch wide enough to keep their feet flat. The roosting bar, or roost, can be made with a 2×4 piece of lumber, or something similar. Four feet above the floor is about the right height. We don’t need them skimming their beautiful wings or tails along the roof or floor when roosting, which is also why their watering and feeding devices should NOT be hung from the ceiling, as broken wings can occur if the bird accidentally hits the rope or wire that the feeder is hanging from while in flight.
An important thing to note here is that I’ve heard many a horror story of a freshly purchased peacock or peahen flying off and not returning. To minimize this, keep your peafowl penned for at least four months after purchase. This will help to establish a home-base for them to know where to return. Additionally, if you allow just one bird out at a time, usually the male first with the female remaining penned, the free bird will come back at the call of the one still penned.
So, now that we know how to house the new lovelies, what do we do to ensure they eat, live, and prosper? Well, we feed them, of course, but what? Well, baby peafowl, peachicks, have a tougher time eating feed, so it’s said that starting them on smashed, cooked eggs or cottage cheese is a good trick, but just for a few days. After that, a good game bird or turkey starter of 28-30% protein for six weeks and then gamebird maintenance or grower feed. So, for my purposes, a standard gamebird feed will suffice. I’ll give them treats such as leftover garden greens, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, and mealworms, too. The other consideration with peafowl is that they are prone to internal parasites, so adding an effective wormer to their water every six months is a must.
With all this info, the only thing left to do is make a shopping list and then enjoy my birds! I’ll include my list below and then get busy picking the color that I like the best. Ugh! I can’t wait to have my very own Kevin in my backyard. Are you ready to get yours yet?
My shopping list for Peafowl Protection:
- 4×4 treated landscape timbers for corner posts
- 2×4 treated lumber for framing and roosts
- 1″ poultry netting for top and sides of pen
- Galvanized tin for gate, divider, and shelter
- 2 1/2 gallon feeder, not suspended
- 3 gallon waterer
- 28% protein gamebird feed
Do you raise your own mealworms?
I’m considering it for my flock, but it seems like a challenge. I’m also considering Superworms.