Raising peacocks is easy, so long as you give them the right feed and raise them in a proper way. Sometimes, you might be tempted to feed your peacocks with a cheaper food source, such as chicken feed.
Can peacocks eat chicken feed?
Chicken feed is not unsafe or harmful for peacocks but does not contain enough protein for peacocks, so it is not recommended to feed peacocks with chicken feed. You should only feed your peacocks with chicken feed on rare occasions.
When can you feed peacocks with the chicken feed? What is the protein requirement for peacocks? Continue reading.
Can Peacocks Eat Chicken Feed?
Truth is, you can feed your peacocks with a wide range of foods. Peacocks are omnivorous birds just like chickens, so they can eat almost everything that chickens can eat. If you look beyond the beauty of peacocks, you’ll agree that they are hardy birds that do not quickly get sick because of what they eat.
This does not mean that you should feed your peacocks with just anything. When raising them as pets or farm birds, the first thing you should consider when feeding your peacocks is the nutrient (especially protein) requirements of the birds.
Why should you consider peacock protein requirements, and what are the requirements of this bird?
Peacocks’ Protein Requirements
Peacocks need 25%-30% crude proteins in their diet, depending on their age. Baby peacocks need 30% or more crude proteins in their diet if you want them to grow quickly and be healthy.
Peacocks are the birds that need the most proteins because, aside from the growth and development of vital body organs, they need protein to grow their beautiful and long feathers. This means that if there are not enough proteins in your peacock’s diet, the bird may experience stunted growth, or its feathers might not be as vibrant.
Now, farmers who raise chickens usually raise their birds with formulated feed because they believe that this feed is protein-rich. While this is true for chickens, as chicken feed has enough protein for chickens, it may not be true for peacocks.
Chicken Feed Protein Composition
Formulated feed for chickens has enough proteins for a chicken, so long as you buy feed that matches the age of your bird. The table below shows the protein composition of different types of chicken feed according to the age of the bird:
|Age of Chicken||Type of Feed||Protein Composition|
|0-4 weeks||Starter feed||20%-23%|
|4-8 weeks||Grower feed||19%-20%|
|> 8 weeks||Finisher feed||15%-18%|
|> 12 weeks (for pullets)||Developer feed||15%-16%|
As you can see, formulated feed for chickens does not contain enough proteins for peacocks. Even though your chickens can grow quickly on this feed, peacocks will have stunted growth or a protein deficiency if they only eat chicken feed.
Now, let us properly discuss some reasons why you should not feed your peacocks with chicken feed regularly.
Why Peacocks Should Not Regularly Eat Chicken Feed
Here are some reasons that you must consider:
- Protein: Peacocks need 25%-30% or more crude proteins in their diet, while chickens only need 15%-23%. As you can see, you should not feed your peacocks with chicken feed if you consider the protein content of chicken feed and the protein requirements of peacocks.
- Other Nutrients: Aside from proteins, the formulated feed for chickens has only the required amount of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for chickens, not peacocks. Formulated feed for peacocks has just the right amount of nutrients for peacocks.
- Medication: Some formulated feeds may be medicated. It is not safe for peacocks to eat medicated chicken feed.
Now, these are enough reasons to prevent your peacocks from eating chicken feed. But what if you need to feed your peacocks with chicken feed?
Occasions When Peacocks Can Eat Chicken Feed
Here are some rare occasions when you can feed your peacocks with chicken feed:
- When you run out of peacock feed: If you run out of peacock feed and your peacocks are very hungry, you can feed them with chicken feed until you restock the peacock feed. But hurry to buy more, and don’t delay.
- As a treat: When peacocks and other birds see the way chickens run towards you while feeding them, they may be tempted to eat the feed. It is not bad if you give your peacocks some chicken feed as treats, so long as you do not give them too much.
- When they are adult peacocks: If you have a fully-developed peacock, you can feed it with feed for young chickens. It is still preferable to buy peacock feed, though.
- When it is non-formulated feed: Peacocks and chickens eat the same non-formulated feed. The only time you should worry about feeding your peacocks chicken feed is when you are considering formulated feed. There are so many types of feeds that peacocks and chickens can eat together.
Instead of feeding your peacocks with chicken feed, what should you feed them? Continue reading.
What Can Peacocks Eat?
Here are some recommended foods for your peacocks:
1. Formulated Peacock Feed
“Formulated feed” means nutrient-rich pellets for your peacocks. You can buy peacock pellets from feed mills or pet shops. Make sure that your peacock formulated feed contains as many nutrients as your peacocks need. It should have at least 25% crude protein.
Formulated feed is the best for peacocks, and you do not need to give them other types of feed except if you want to.
If you’d love to diversify your peacock’s diet, there are other types of feed to try. Note that the following types of feeds are suitable for both peacocks and chickens.
2. Grains and Seeds
After formulated feed, the next best food option for your peacocks should be grains and seeds. Examples of grains that peacocks can eat are barley, wheat, millet, and maize (corn). Examples of other seeds that peacocks can eat are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and papaya seeds.
Peacocks love their grains and seeds, so you want to give them as treats. Do not give your peacocks too many grains, as grains are richer in carbohydrates than in proteins.
Note that you can use grains and seeds to train your peacocks to return home or to their coop in the evening.
3. Vegetables and Fruits
Peacocks love their vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits have a lot of nutrients for your peacocks, and they are also delicious to these birds.
Examples of vegetables that peacocks can eat are:
Examples of fruits* that peacocks can eat are:
Vegetables and fruits may be packed with vitamins and minerals, but they usually have a very low protein content. Fruits have very high carbohydrate or sugar content.
This means that even though you should give your peacocks vegetables and fruits, it is best that you only give them as treats, not as the main diet.
4. Insects, Insect Larvae, and Other Creatures
Do you want to give your peacocks some treats that they simply cannot resist? Give them insects or insect larvae.
Peacocks may be omnivorous, but they prefer live feed such as insects, spiders, and lizards. These little critters are also very nutritious for the birds.
You can easily find live feed for your peacocks in feed mills and pet shops.
If you have enough time and would love to save some cash, you should consider cultivating the live feed by yourself. Some insect larvae that are easy to cultivate are mealworms and housefly larvae.
5. Fermented Grains
If you’d love to feed your peacocks with grains regularly, you should consider making the grains more healthy. Fermented grains contain more proteins than regular grains, and they also have some beneficial microbes that can help boost your peacock’s immunity.
To make fermented grains, you need to rinse your preferred grains and then soak them in clean water. After 2-3 days, drain off the water and then rinse the grains again.
Feed your peacocks with the fermented grains immediately, and do not expose them for long so that they do not get contaminated.
What Should Peacocks Not Eat?
Here are examples of food that peacocks should not eat:
- Toxic seeds: The pits of avocados and cherries, as well as the seeds of apples, are dangerous for consumption, so you want to prevent your peacocks from eating them. Remove the seeds before you give your peacocks the fruit.
- Formulated feed for other animals: While these feeds are not harmful, they may not contain enough proteins for your peacocks.
- Foods rich in sugars: These foods can cause obesity in your peacocks, and too much sugar can lead to other health problems.
- Raw meat: It is not recommended to feed your birds raw meat. Raw meat can encourage cannibalism in birds.
- Moldy foods: Foods with mold on them are rotting and therefore should be avoided. Dispose of these foods and do not give them to your peacocks.
Only feed your peacocks with what you are sure is safe for them.
Chicken feed may be nutrient-rich for chickens, but it does not contain enough proteins for peacocks. Only feed your peacocks with formulated peacock feed or other types of natural feed. Do not regularly give peacocks feed formulated for chickens.