What is the difference between Peacocks and peahens?
Peahens are plain looking. They come in a small variety of brown hues and don’t grow showy tail feathers. They start laying eggs when they’re about a year old and then lay five to nine eggs a year. They will lay eggs whether or not the eggs were fertilized by a male peacock.
Peahens sit on their eggs practically around the clock for four weeks before they hatch. You’ll want to bring them food and water periodically to make sure they don’t get too weak. They raise their chicks by themselves. Even with mom’s attentive care, the survival rate for peachicks is two for every six eggs.
Chicks are able to forage from the moment they hatch, but they still look to mom for comfort and protection. It will take a good two weeks before they can flap their wings well enough to avoid danger.
About Those Gorgeous Feathers
While peacock meat is sold in some parts of the world, most people who raise peacocks in the United States do so to sell them as pets and to sell their feathers. The male’s extra-long feathers that make up the “train” are called covert feathers. Covert feathers are of two types: eye and flue.
Eye feathers have the distinct indigo, turquoise and brown round markings on their tips. They are naturally fringed above each “eye.” Flue feathers (sometimes called sword feathers) can be equally long, but they don’t have eyes. Instead, their tips are the shape of a wide open "V." Not surprisingly, eye feathers are sold at higher prices than flue feathers.
Peacock Feather Uses
Peacock feathers are used to make jewelry and adorn clothing. One wedding dress that featured more than 2,000 peacock feathers was valued at $1.5 million.
Fashions come and go quicker than peacocks grow and shed their feathers. So, although it could happen, you can’t count on some couture designer buying your entire stock of feathers each year.
Peacock feathers are also used in crafting, and nothing makes an interior decor statement like a huge vase full of peacock feathers.
Peacock Product Pricing
Money can be made from peacocks by selling their feathers, eggs and the birds themselves. The longest eye feathers sell for $5 to $10 each with discounts for volume purchases. Flue feathers only fetch around $2 each, with discounts for bulk purchases. Shorter eye feathers are referred to as “mini feathers” and are usually priced around $6 per 10 feathers.
Fertile eggs that have a good chance of hatching into a live peacock sell for about $40 each. Most suppliers offer volume discounts.
Depending on the demand in your area, immature male birds can each be sold for $100 and up. Females are in less demand and have to be priced lower. Fully mature birds are often sold in pairs because a lone peacock is not a happy peacock. Mature pairs usually sell for $500 and up.
Peacock Farming Reality Check
Making a profit from peacocks is tricky. In the U.S., their eggs are not in demand, although you can certainly eat them. They’re similar in size to extra-large chicken eggs and taste a little richer. The birds themselves can also be eaten, but you’ll rarely find them on any menu.
Most zoos already have peacocks, and there isn’t a big demand for them as pets. Like geese, they make great watch birds, but they’re impossible to keep anywhere but in a rural setting because of the noise they make. So, their primary market value lies in the male’s feathers and the birds themselves.
With an average sellable feather output of 175 per male per year, you’re looking at $875 to $1,750 a year maximum income from each male peacock you own. This assumes you're selling each eye feather individually at top price and that none are damaged, but damage inevitably happens. One way of increasing your peacock income is to make your own arts and crafts from their feathers and sell those products too.
The Main Takeaway
Owning peacocks is a big commitment. While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make enough profit from them to quit your day job, you should be able to make enough to cover their costs and then some. In the meantime, you’ll be able to enjoy their breathtaking beauty. To get started, search “peafowl for sale”