Peacocks (Pavo cristatus) are members of the pheasant family. The word peacock actually refers to the
male bird, while females are peahens, and the young are peachicks. A group of these together is referred to as a bevy. While
the peacock is a wild bird by nature, they have been domesticated in many countries. The raising of these beautiful birds
can be both a time consuming and worthy hobby. One of the first things that a new owner of peacocks and peahens will learn
is that they can and do become stressed. These grand birds like peace and harmony. Surprisingly, these birds can be found
in zoos across the country, wandering about freely at several of them. While these birds seem to have a low stress level when
contained on a farm, they seem to deal better with stress if they have more room, as they do when they are able to wander
about at these zoos. Keeping this in mind, if you choose to raise peacocks and peahens, give them as much room as you possibly
When many people think of a peacock, the first thing that comes to mind is the beautiful
colors of this bird's feathers. Blue, green, gold, and the appearance of what looks like an eye, right in the center of some
of the feathers, are the trademarks of this bird. They also have a crest, or crown, on top their head, making them appear
even more regal than they already do. The peacocks beak is on average an inch long in a full-grown bird. Reaching heights
of over three feet, an adult peacock's "˜train' of tail feathers can be sixty inches in length. A peacock does not come
into this full glory of feathers until he is about three years old. For centuries, the peacock's feathers have been used to
adorn clothing and people themselves. Even today, the image of the peacock is considered so striking, that is used to represent
major companies. One of the major television networks even uses the peacock as its trademark. The image of the feathers can
also be found adorning everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs, while the actual feathers are commonly found in floral designs,
jewelry and other wearable art, such as hats. One of the easiest ways to display the eye feathers in jewelry, is to simply
attach an eye feather with a drop of white glue into a bead, pony size, and attach this to a satin or fabric cord, making
a very "˜eye' catching necklace.
Where can you raise peacocks? Just about anywhere, as long as you provide them with adequate
shelter from extreme temperatures. We live in the north woods of Wisconsin where snow and cold temperatures dipping well below
zero are common facts of our winters. While I would not say that the peacocks enjoy the snow, they have done very well all
the years we have had them. Their feet are the one area of concern for those that raise them where the temperatures can be
quite cold. Make sure that they do not get wet, then frozen, feet. Make sure that your birds are kept out of the wind, given
ample straw or other safe material for their bedding, along with proper food and water, and you will be able to raise them
even in a colder climate. Peacocks and peahens also should be provided with sturdy perches. A peacock can have a wingspan
of up to six feet, so make sure that this is taken into consideration when building a pen and perches. Peacocks need, and
will use, all the stretching room you can offer them.
What do peacocks eat? We feed game-bird feed from our local feed mill, along with cracked
corn. Wheat can also be added to their diet. Peacocks will also eat just about anything they can get their beaks into, so
be sure that garbage and debris such as paper is not left in their reach. They have been known to eat the cat's food and the
dog's food also, and while it did not do them any harm, I would not recommend it. If you are able to give them access to your
yard at times in the summer, they will also eat grubs and green grass and love you for it in return! Watch your flowers though,
as they will mow down a whole garden full in a very short time. Peacocks seem to be drawn to light colors also, especially
white, so keep this in mind if you give them access to your yard or other open area. We had a piece of white Styrofoam insulation
board, leaning along side of the barn, and they actually made a beeline right for it. We moved it out of their reach, but
I am certain they would have eaten as much of it as they could if we had let them.
Hatching new chicks can be done either the natural way, letting the peahen sit on her
nest of eggs, or by putting them in an incubator. If you choose the second, the incubation period is 28 days, and you should
keep the temperature a steady, (very steady!) 99.5 degrees. A peahen may lay eggs only once a year, or several times a year.
I believe this has a lot to do with her stress factor. A happy peahen will lay more eggs, more often, while a stressed peahen
may not lay any eggs at all, or just one or two only once. Keep noise and activity to a minimum around your pen if you are
trying to have your peahens hatch the eggs too. A peahen will abandon a nest if she feels that too much commotion is going
on. Also, keep in mind that a nest of eggs will be a draw for animals such as raccoons and weasels. One raccoon can destroy
a peahen's nest of eggs in a very short time. If you choose to raise some of these fascinating birds, you will have some work
ahead of you, but you will not regret it!
Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails.
These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total
body length and boast colorful "eye" markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. The large train is used in mating rituals
and courtship displays. It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird's back and touches the ground
on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather
The term "peacock" is commonly used to refer to birds of both sexes. Technically, only males are peacocks.
Females are peahens, and together, they are called peafowl.
Suitable males may gather harems of several females, each of which will lay three to five eggs. In
fact, wild peafowl often roost in forest trees and gather in groups called parties.
Peacocks are ground-feeders that eat insects, plants, and small creatures. There are two familiar peacock
species. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). A more
distinct and little-known species, the Congo peacock, inhabits African rain forests.
Peafowl such as the blue peacock have been admired by humans and kept as pets for thousands of years.
Selective breeding has created some unusual color combinations, but wild birds are themselves bursting with vibrant hues.
They can be testy and do not mix well with other domestic birds.