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How to Raise Peacocks and Peahens
The Majestic and Beautiful Peacock
One of my most vivid memories of early childhood trips to the neighborhood zoo is their collection of peacocks wandering the grounds right outside the zoo entrance. My appreciation for the awe-inspiring, mind-blowing beauty of the tropical peacock has not waned since those early days. From its sparkling blue head to its large, fanned out tail, the peacock vies with the lion for the true title of King of the Animals.
Hobbyists who are raising backyard poultry often decide to start raising peacocks, not for any sort of practical reason, but simply to add a flash of color and beauty to their chicken, gamebird or waterfowl flock. The peacock is one of a kind, and having one or two of them running around your farm or backyard will truly set you apart and make your neighbors peacock-green with envy!
Of course, the peafowl species itself is not as majestic as the peacock. The peahen, poor thing, is quite drab and boring. Nature has evolved her to be this boring to help her stay hidden while raising baby peafowl, or peachicks. One might argue that she has the better end of the deal. Adding a pair of peafowl, one male and one female, or several birds of mixed gender can also increase your chances of having a reproducing, breeding peafowl pair to help liven up your landscape.
How to Start Your Own Peafowl Flock
The best way to start raising peafowl is to obtain several peachicks or young peafowl. This allows you to avoid the hassle and headache of incubating fertile peafowl eggs, which is something that only more advanced poultry hobbyists typically attempt.
Your peafowl can be fed a combination of grain (e.g. scratch, available at your local farm supply store or feed store) and gamebird feed. They will also enjoy scrounging around your yard, searching for wild seeds and grass as well as bugs, lizards and other wild critters. In the wild, peafowl survive solely on what they can find while rummaging through a plane or forest. Even domesticated peafowl will do this. For this reason, it is best to let your peafowl roam within an enclosed pasture that is fenced to protect them from all but the most determined predators (peafowl are quite large and adult peafowl are rarely the victims of airborne predators such as owls or hawks, though it's not completely unheard of).
If you want to breed peafowl, you need one male peacock (three years old or older, the older the better!) and three or four peahens (preferably two years old or older). The peahen will sit on her fertile eggs, which typically include a clutch of eight eggs. Once hatched, she will care for them. Some people choose to remove the fertile eggs and incubate them themselves. However, peafowl that are allowed to roam have a tendency to hide their nests and it may be difficult for you to collect any peafowl eggs unless you are raising peacocks and peahens within a coop or small chicken run.