Peacocks are not only beautiful to look at, but they are also fun to raise. This exotic bird can be raised for eggs, meat, as pets, or simply for its ornamental value.
Like other birds, peacocks require some special care, including enough space to be active. They are highly adaptable, relate well with other animals, and are not picky eaters.
Our detailed guide covers everything you need to know about raising healthy peacocks in terms of housing, feeding, caring, handling, and other tips on keeping peacocks.
What You Need to Know About Housing Peacocks
Housing peacocks will depend on how you intend to use them, whether as pets or for their eggs/meat.
You can opt to house your peacock in an enclosed aviary or let them out as free-range.
When you choose the free-range option, ensure that you have enough space for them to move around without infringing upon your neighbors. Free-ranging is ideal for people with a lot of land. Nonetheless, when choosing the free-range option, ensure that the peacocks are not far from their food source.
Note that peacocks are good at flying away compared to other birds. However, you can teach them while young to stay on the property. When raising young peacocks, keep them confined in an area for at least two months to give them time to adjust to their surroundings.
You can let them out in the morning and put them back into their enclosed space at night. Keeping your peacocks safe from predators like coyotes is something you shouldn’t overlook. Ensure there are tall trees where they can roost during the day and a safe enclosure at night.
An aviary is a great place if you’re looking for control over how the peacocks move around. It’s also an excellent idea if your birds are exposed to predators.
When building an aviary, ensure that it’s at least ten feet wide and six feet tall to allow the peafowls space to move around. An aviary should be 100 square feet per bird, which is enough to prevent overcrowding.
It also ensures that the birds don’t have to fight over feeding stations. Create solid mesh walls and install a roof over them to keep predators away.
If you’re considering housing peacocks in an aviary, collect boards or branches and hang them near the top of the aviary. They need the branches to roost on and explore the surrounding space.
Don’t forget to add a heat source to keep the peacocks warm in low temperatures. Make sure that the shelter is not wet or muddy as this can cause diseases and lead to tail feathers breaking off.
In terms of temperatures, peafowl can withstand extreme temperatures. Nonetheless, you should protect the birds from the cold if they were raised in a tropical climate.
When raising young peacocks, ensure that they are kept in a heated area for six weeks after hatching. The temperature should be over 95°F to begin with, but remember to reduce this temperature by five degrees Fahrenheit each week.
Extra Tips on Building a Peacock House
If this is your first time raising peacocks and you have no idea how to house them, these extra tips will help you get started.
Find a Space
Find a big area in your yard that can accommodate a peacock coop. Ensure that you choose a corner to maximize space. The area should also be shaded to protect against hot summers. Mark the area where you plan on building the coop.
Get the Posts Ready
The next step is to decide whether you want an enclosed coop or a three-sided one with an open space. Dig the holes for the posts and have a trench between the posts. The posts should be set 8-12 feet around the area.
Use Metal or Wood Siding
Choose wood or metal siding. Note that metal can get hot in the summer and may lack insulating properties. Put the siding in the trench and cover a part of it. Make sure there are no gaps that can accommodate pests and predators.
Put a Gate
If you plan on building an enclosed coop, add a hinged gate on one side. Ensure that you can close and open it with ease.
Don’t Forget the Roof
You can use chicken wire to build a roof for the coop. The wire also allows air circulation, especially in a warm climate. Install a solid metal roof if you live in a colder place to prevent the entry of snow and rain.
Remember to sweep around the coop to look for items that can hurt the peacocks. Place the feeders and waterers near the shelter but away from gaps under it to avoid droppings from getting in their feed.
Feeding Your Peacocks
Peacocks are not picky eaters and consume an omnivorous diet. Their diet mainly consists of insects, vegetation, and other animals like small rodents and reptiles.
Most people make the mistake of buying chicken feed for their peacocks. Unfortunately, these feeds have too little protein and lots of calcium, which is not healthy for your peacocks. These exotic birds require lots of protein for their feathers.
Buy feeds meant for game birds, turkeys, and pheasant.
Peacocks also need a lot of green foods like turnip greens, dandelion, alfalfa, and chickweeds. Greens provide essential vitamins that they might not get from their conventional feeds. Treats like fruit or bread are fun for them.
When raising these birds in an enclosed space, they feed on commercial bird and poultry feed. They can also feed on natural materials like grass while free-ranging and foraging. Peacocks can also eat corn and oats.
What you feed your peacock also depends on what you’re breeding them for.
Supplement the feed with a protein-based feed like cat food.
If you’re raising young peacocks, unmedicated starter feed with at least 30% protein is recommended. Reduce the protein percentage as the bird approaches six weeks. After maturity, give the peacock standard feed.
Supplement dry feeds with fresh fruits and vegetables. That is helpful if you’re raising peacocks in an enclosed space where they can’t roam around and get bugs, grass, or seeds. You can also find mealworms in exotic pet supply stores or bait shops.
Giving Water to Peacocks
Don’t forget to provide water for your peacocks. They are active and drink plenty of water. You can put their water in a poultry waterer or a bowl. Ensure that the water bowl is cleaned regularly to prevent bacterial growth.
Check that the water system is functional, as it can be disastrous to leave peacocks without water. For a regular water supply, you can have a big bucket that slowly leaks water into a shallow bowl. Refill the bucket regularly during the hot season.
Young peacocks need a shallow bowl to drink water from because they can easily drown in deep bowls or water containers.
Hatching and Brooding
If you plan on hatching peafowl eggs, you should note that it can take up to 30 days. You’ll also need to incubate the eggs at 99-100 degrees Fahrenheit once they are laid.
Peafowl eggs can be hatched in a commercial incubator. Unlike chicks, peachicks mature quickly and hatch full-feathered. Ensure that you have enough brooder space during the breeding season, which starts around March and ends in August.
Peacocks require extra care as they are more susceptible to diseases than other domestic animals.
Don’t overcrowd their space because this increases their risk of falling ill and spreading it among other animals. Peacocks are prone to Fowl Pox, Newcastle disease, and other bacterial infections. Certain diseases are visible with a physical examination.
You can usually tell if a peacock is sick by looking at its eyes, feathers, and overall body language.
Always consult an experienced veterinarian before giving medication. Some diseases need to be treated with antibiotics.
Parasites like lice and mites also tend to attack peacocks. They can be dangerous as they live on the bird’s bodies, extracting nutrients and blood from the bird. This could result in weight loss, anemia, and weak immunity.
Worms are also common in peacocks. They pick them up when foraging outside. Weight loss, ruffled feathers, and lameness are early symptoms of a worm infestation. If you keep free-range peacocks, consider scheduling periodic deworming sessions to treat the problem.
Young peacocks are susceptible to coccidiosis, which, if left untreated, can lead to sudden death. Some of the early symptoms include bloody diarrhea and ruffled feathers. You can prevent this by practicing proper hygiene and ensuring that their living area is free from contamination.
It’s recommended to get poultry feeders to avoid food contamination and to clean them regularly to avoid bacterial growth.
Their sleeping space should also be clean and free from droppings. To prevent the spread of disease, separate them from chickens and other wild birds. Give the birds a balanced and healthy diet and have them checked by an avian veterinarian yearly.
Behavior of Peacocks
Although peacocks can fly, they mostly prefer to walk. Their hearing and eyesight are accurate, but they can’t tell the direction of sounds as well.
Peacocks thrive on short grass or bare ground as they prefer to show off their feathers as they watch out for predators. You’ll notice that they tend to get on top of anything to get a view of their surroundings. That could be a garbage can, roof, gate, or even a car. You can keep them away by pouring water over the area.
Additionally, they tend to hide from predators by hiding under bushes and roosting in tall trees. They can also fly away to escape.
Mating season starts in May and can run through to October. Males are aggressive and noisy during this season.
Challenges You Should Know When Raising Peacocks
While peacocks adapt well to any environment and can eat anything, there are also certain concerns to consider. Here are some things you should be prepared for when raising peacocks.
Peacocks Can Be Noisy
Peacocks tend to let out a loud shrill cry, which can disrupt neighbors. The birds tend to be noisy during early autumn and early spring, their mating seasons. Late evening and dawn is the most common time for this noise.
Ensure that you’ve kept peacocks in a large pen a good distance from the neighbors if you have a large parcel of land.
Peacocks Like to Roost in Trees
Peacocks will find the closest tree to roost in and may sometimes damage your favorite trees. It’s also common to find them roosting on roofs.
When raising peacocks, you need to create a space for them where they can roost without damaging property.
Peacocks Wander Off Often
Unfortunately, peacocks can fly away if not monitored, and you can’t allow them to roam freely like chickens.
You can prevent this by creating a roof over their enclosure and making sure that fences are adequate to prevent them from running away.
Keeping a Single Peacock May Not Work
Peacocks thrive with their kind, which means having one peacock can be an issue. Mix both female and male peacocks as males can be aggressive and territorial.
Peacocks Don’t Do Well With Small Children
Young children are constantly excited and want to run and move around. However, peacocks can be easily frightened by these movements. If you’re considering raising peacocks, wait until your children are older and can be calm around them.
Losing Tail Feathers
Peacocks mature at three years, and they are ready for mating. The male peacock loses his tail feathers or tail each year after the mating season. However, some may lose their feathers within a week.
These birds also molt and lose their plumage. That creates space for new feathers to grow. During this period, peacocks need a good diet to replace their feathers. They also need extra protection from predators as they cannot fly during molting.
Note that peacocks can also lose their feathers due to ill health. If you notice that your peacock is losing its feathers and it’s not the molting season, have him checked by a veterinarian. Ensure that the peacock is also kept in a warm environment.
Although peacocks are considered exotic animals, raising them can be an exciting hobby. These beautiful birds can live up to 40 years and are available in different breeds. All that a peacock needs is enough space, the right food, warmth, and safety.
Hopefully, with the tips above, you now understand how to better care for your peacocks in terms of housing, feeding, healthcare, and more.