Peacocks are regal birds renowned for their bright plumage. A large relative of the pheasant, peacocks are divided into two species: the Indian peafowl and the green peafowl. Indian peafowl are noted for their long, vibrantly-colored tails, while green peafowl are much rarer and prized for their iridescent green plumage. Peacocks can be raised for their eggs and feathers, with adult birds often bringing in more than $100 each.
Set up a coop for your peafowl. They are larger than most species of chicken, but a regular coop made of chicken wire, sturdy posts, and a shelter is adequate for peafowl. They require at least 100 square feet of space per bird for sufficient exercise, and the pen should be at least 6 feet tall to allow the males to fully display their long tails during mating season.
Place feed and water pans on opposite sides of the pen, and fill each with exotic bird scratch and fresh water, respectively. Exotic bird scratch is similar to chicken scratch but formulated with extra vitamins and nutrients that wild birds would normally consume in their natural environment. Peafowl are messy eaters, and keeping the pans separate will prevent the birds from spilling their food in the water pans.
Worm each peafowl with bird wormer before the spring breeding season and then again in the fall after the breeding season is over. Bird wormer is available from your veterinarian’s office and is added to the water for easy dosing.
Observe your birds for signs of mating. A peacock will call loudly to attract females, and will extend and fan out its large tail. When a female comes near, the male will dance around her and vibrate his wing feathers along the ground. If she is receptive, she will cluck softly and lie on the ground near the male, allowing him to mount her.
Add a few flakes of straw to the pen after mating to provide the females with nesting material. In the wild, peahens will drag fallen limbs and dead grasses to their nesting area to cushion the eggs, and straw provides cushion and warmth for the nest. Hens will lay eggs every other day, so gather the eggs as soon as they are laid to maximize the success of hatching live chicks.
Move the eggs to an incubator if you plan on hatching them for your own flock, or place them in a cool, dry room with a maximum temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the embryos from developing. Eggs will stay viable for up to five days if stored below 60 degrees.
Gather long tail feathers with complete eyes as the males shed them after mating, and sell them to local craft stores and art studios. The eyes are the large, colorful ends of the feathers, and are frequently used in jewelry and clothing projects.
Advertise fertilized eggs and adult birds for sale at local veterinarians, farm supply and ranch stores. Most stores have a bulletin board for posting fliers and business cards with your contact information so interested parties can contact you.
Post an advertisement in local newspapers or farm publications. The ad should include whether you are selling eggs or adult birds, the species, the asking price and contact information. Most publications charge only a few dollars per ad.
Peafowl are one of the simplest birds to raise, and even a novice bird owner can be successful. If you have questions, contact your veterinarian or an experienced breeder in your area.
- peacock image by PP from Fotolia.com