Only males grow those spectacular tail feathers, and they are called peacocks. Females are peahens, and babies are peachicks. Altogether, they are peafowl.
Peahens mature and start laying eggs at one to two years of age, but they won’t be fertile eggs until three years, when males are fully mature and able to fertilize the eggs. Mating season is springtime, when the males’ feathers are their most glorious. When mating season ends, the long, colorful feathers are shed, but a new batch grows in time for the next mating season.
Peacocks are generally calm birds, but females can be aggressive when defending their eggs or chicks. Male birds can be aggressive when defending their territory. A peacock’s life span is 15 to 20 years.
Primary Characteristics of Peacocks
The peacock’s voice is as awful as they are beautiful. Some have compared the sound to cats fighting but a lot louder. It’s shrill and can carry for up to five miles.
While you might consider your peacocks as pets, they are not likely to want to cuddle with you. You may be able to get them to tolerate being handled if you start picking them up at a young age. They will follow you around and eventually eat out of your hand if you have food, particularly mealworms.
Peacocks do fly. It’s quite a sight to see these big birds with their long tail feathers in the air. They only fly intermittently, usually when they feel threatened. They might roost in a tree for a while, but for the most part, they’re ground dwellers.
Peacock Pens and Accommodations
Although peacocks originate from hot, humid climates, they can handle cooler ones if they have a place to shelter in winter. If you live in an area that has long, harsh winters, their housing must be heated.
Keeping peacocks free range on your property all day is the surest way to have happy and healthy birds. However, if you’re going to cage them 24/7, they must have room to comfortably spread those dazzling feathers.
A minimum of 80 to 100 square feet per adult bird is recommended but the more the better. Enclosures should be at least 8 feet high. You will have to separate the males, or they’re likely to fight. Even if they don’t, the alpha will grow big, long and plentiful feathers, but the others will not.
Looking for Peacock Property
Apart from having plenty of space for peacock farming, you’ll need rural property with a lot of distance between you and your nearest neighbors, as their cry is loud and unpleasant.
If you’re looking for property where you can have peacocks, check out places where horses were kept. An existing horse setup can easily and economically be adapted for peacocks with some chicken wire, 2 x 2s and a pair of wire cutters.
If you’re free-ranging your birds, it’s a good idea to feed them something they love (like mealworms) in the late afternoon so they develop the habit of meandering back to their pens at dusk.
Peacocks are omnivorous; that is, they eat both plant- and animal-based foods. Since those magnificent feathers are 90% protein, their diet must be very high in protein. Purina makes a variety of foods that are great for peacocks. It’s not “peacock chow” per se, but there are three different formulas for growing birds and during and after mating season.
Peacocks are happiest when they can forage. They like to scour the ground in search of seeds, insects and small reptiles like lizards. They also eat parts of some flowers. Some peacock owners make their own food by mixing grains, berries and protein like mealworms or cat food — yes, cat food.
Your peacocks should always have access to fresh water. Clipping their wings so that they don’t fly away is strongly ill advised. It takes away their ability to fly away from danger.