Keeping a pet peacock, known as peafowl, is rewarding if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Peacocks are beautiful birds that have been around since ancient times. They were first domesticated in India and China. Today peacocks are found in many parts of the world including North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Asia.
Peafowl vs Peacock
Peafowl refers to the overall species of birds known commonly as peacocks.
Peafowl Types (peacocks and peahens):
- Peacock: A male peafowl
- Peahen: A female peafowl
The terminology of peafowl and peacock are used interchangeably.
- Blue or Indian peafowl, found in India (also known as crested peafowl)
- Males are quite colorful and display vibrant blue colorings
- Females have muted colors and are smaller than males
- Sizes range from 39 to 45 inches
- Peafowl species of least concern
- Green peafowl, common in Indonesia (Southeast Asia)
- Males have a taller tail when extended in the fan shape
- Females have a shorter tail, but overall, the birds are a similar size
- Sizes range from 39 to 42 inches, with the tail extending from 6’ (male) to 9’ (female)
- This species is endangered in the wild
- Congo peafowl, from the African Congo region
- The males and females range from 24 – 28 inches (tail not included)
- These birds are metallic green
- This species is on the threatened list in the wild and rarely seen outside of zoos
Considerations: The blue peafowl native to India are quite loud (high pitched shrill) and the green peafowl of Indonesia are much quieter (low pitched sounds). If you have neighbors that live close-by, they will probably appreciate the greens vs the blues, since the blues loud squawk is very loud at times.
Like most domesticated birds, the flock calls are loudest at dawn and at dusk. (If you have ever spent time with any of the popular parrot bird species, you have probably experienced this phenomenon from time-to-time.)
Pet Peacock and Pet Peafowl Traits
There are two types of peafowl: peahens (female) and peafowl (male).
Colors: Peacocks are known for their colorful feathers. Their plumage ranges from blue, green, red, yellow, orange, white, black, and brown.
Size: Peacocks weigh anywhere from 5-20 pounds. Peahens are generally smaller than peafowl.
Age: A mature peacock can live for 20 years.
Peahens lay eggs while peafowl do not. Peahens are larger than peafowl and have longer tails. Peahens are often kept as pets because they make great companions.
Peafowl and peacocks are commonly kept as pets. In North American it’s uncommon to keep these majestic birds to harvest as food or for egg production. Other more suitable fowl like chickens and turkeys are readily available and cost effective.
Pet Peacock and Peafowl Care
General care of the peafowl
Peacocks require a lot of attention in captivity. If kept outdoors, make sure the pet peacock pen is well constructed so predators cannot enter the area. The pens need a screen on top as well.
Give them plenty of room to roam around their cage. A single peacock requires about 400 square feet per bird (more is better), so if you want to keep more than one, you’ll need to plan accordingly.
Are peacocks good pets?
Peahens and peacocks need to be fed a balanced diet and should be given a variety of foods. As omnivores, peafowl will eat a variety of foods include insects, small lizards, frogs, rodents, etc. In captivity peahens and peafowl eat fruits and vegetables willingly and need plenty of protein foods to remain healthy.
The best way to ensure that your peacocks remain healthy is to monitor them closely. Make sure to look for signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, and ruffled feathers. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Where do peafowl live?
A well-designed housing system is necessary for keeping peacocks happy and healthy. Your peafowl’s cage should have enough floor space for it to walk around comfortably. It should also have adequate ventilation and be kept at an appropriate temperature. If you’re planning on having more than one peacock, you need double the space.
How to keep peacocks from flying away
Pet peacocks should never be allowed to free range outdoors. If they get out, they could become preyed upon by predators. Fox, coyotes, dogs, raptors, cats, and even racoons are known to harm domesticated peafowl.
It is important to provide your peacocks with clean water every day. Make sure not to let your pet peacocks drink from puddles or stagnant ponds or pools where disease could spread. You should also make certain to change out the water daily and replace the water frequently.
What do peafowl eat?
The diet of peacocks varies depending on their age and species. Young peacocks eat insects, worms, seeds, fruits, and grains.
Older peacocks may eat grasses, roots, vegetables, and even larger amphibians and reptiles.
Peacocks should always have access to clean water.
You should provide peafowl with good quality food that meets its nutritional requirements. To do this, read the label of any commercial products and make sure to choose foods high in protein, that also include fat and fiber. You should also add some fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet.
Peacock and Peafowl Breeding
Peafowl are social animals. They live in groups called flocks.
Pet peacocks (males) breed after reaching sexual maturity and peahens (females) will lay eggs. If a male is present, the eggs will be fertilized. If no male, is present, the eggs will not hatch chicks.
Breeding season for peacocks is typically in the springtime, but this may vary according to the climate.
Peahens can lay between 4-12 eggs per clutch (typically an egg each day or two). Eggs hatch after about 4 – 5 weeks. Peahens will continue to care for them until they reach about 6 months old.
Peacocks are prone to various health problems.
- eye infections
- respiratory illnesses
- skin conditions
- leg injuries
In domestic captivity, pet peacocks are vulnerable to predators such as foxes, owls, hawks, and large snakes. Although they can fly short distances, they are slow moving and need to run a short distance to take flight, which is similar to American turkeys.
Peacock feathers are among the most sought-after feather in the world. The beautiful and exotic feathers have been used for centuries to adorn clothing and decorate homes. They are also used to make jewelry and accessories.
The eggs of the peacock are extremely rare and expensive. A single egg sells in the $20 range. Since the clutches are small, availability is small.
Wondering how much peacocks cost?
To find a pet peacock for sale, search your local newspapers, gardening and chicken forums, and hobby farm magazines.
How much does a pet peacock cost?
As with most things, availability, and scarcity influence prices. Chicks sell for about $40 – $50 (or more) and full-grown birds sell for $250 – $300 (or more).
Whether you call them Peacock or Peafowl, the birds are wonderful, majestic, ornamental birds often found in zoos and animal sanctuaries based on their beauty. They add color and variety to every outdoor environment.
Keeping peafowl as pets is both rewarding and challenging.
- Wide ranging diet of fruits, vegetables, insects, rodents, and others considered pests by many
- Long lifespan
- Hands-on husbandry requirements
- Vulnerable to predators
Indian blue peafowl make great pets if you have the room to house them indoors or outdoors. Supplementing their diet with commercial pelleted food sources adds to maintenance costs but is vitally important to keep your peacocks heathy and happy for years of your enjoyment.
If you don’t have room for a large bird like peafowl, consider a talking parrot.
If you are considering indoor pets, check out our articles on other fun pets: