Raising Peafowl

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For more than a dozen years every animal on the farm had a practical purpose for being here. For example, goats give milk and barn cats kill rodents. Many animals are multi-purpose. Heritage chickens give us meat and eggs. Shetland sheep gave us wool and meat. So, many people are surprised that we have peafowl. People often ask with a smile, “Why do you have peacocks?” (because they don’t know that only the males are peacocks).

Why raise peafowl?

After 13 years of being super practical, I bought a trio of peafowl (a peacock and two peahens) in 2015. It was not an entirely frivolous addition though. Being omnivores, peafowl eat all sorts of insects, which would include undesirable bugs like ticks, as well as snakes.

One source I read said that they’ll eat anything they can swallow. They are excellent foragers, and because they almost never go into the chicken coop, the only grain they consume is whatever is left in the wake of the chicken tractors after they’ve moved to a new location every day.

So, they haven’t cost us anything since we let them start free-ranging. If we ever find ourselves with too many, we can sell the offspring or eat them. In the meantime, they add a special beauty to the farm.

Yearling Peacock showing his tail
Yearling peacocks have a tail that is about the same size as a turkey.

Getting started with raising peafowl

I did actually try raising peafowl the first year we moved out here, but we let them outside too soon, and they left. At dusk they flew up into a tree, and we never saw them again. So, I was never going to try raising peafowl again because they are kind of pricey to buy, starting at around $50 each from a hatchery.

But in 2015, someone nearby had three chicks available for $20, so it didn’t seem like such a big risk. I really did my homework though, to be sure we didn’t lose them again.

How to get started with peachicks (baby peafowl)

Peafowl require a hig- protein starter feed. We used a game bird starter from the feed store for several months. Otherwise, they are raised in a brooder and are very similar to raising chicks or poults. They need to be kept at 95 degrees the first week and can be five degrees cooler each week.

The most important thing is to keep them locked up for a few months. Once they were old enough to be outside the brooder, we put them in one of our chicken tractors, so they were moved around the yard until they were four or five months old.

Their range is a lot larger than chickens or turkeys. While chickens don’t usually go more than about 100 yards away from the coop, the peafowl go all over our 32 acres and beyond. We once got a phone call from someone half a mile away, saying that our peacock was in her yard. We knew that trying to catch him would be futile because he’d just fly up into a tree, so we hoped for the best. I was relieved to see him in our yard again the next morning.

Unfortunately, we found our first peacock dead on the road when he was about four years old. He had obviously been hit by a car.

Breeding peafowl

Peahen and her chicks

If you start with peafowl that are all the same age, they probably won’t hatch any eggs for two years. The female peafowl, called peahens, ignore the peacocks until they have a full tail, or train. It was pretty funny to watch the peacock strutting around in front of the peahens the first year. He’d scream as if someone was attacking him, and he’d shake his cute little tail, and the hens were oblivious to it. One of the hens did disappear for a few weeks when they were a year old. We assumed she was setting, but the eggs didn’t hatch because they were not fertile. The other hen never laid any eggs in her first year.

The second year, however, the remaining hen (one was hit by a car last year) made a beautiful nest in a stall in the barn and sat on five eggs. Three of them hatched. You can see why no one eats peafowl eggs — and why you don’t see peafowl on the menu of even the fanciest restaurants. They don’t reproduce very fast!

Raising peafowl

Because we didn’t want to risk losing any of the three peachicks, we put mama and babies in their own private chicken tractor. Since one mama and babies don’t put much pressure on the grass, it only needs to be moved every couple of weeks.

We put all poultry hens and their babies in a chicken tractor. If we don’t do it, the hens usually lose most of the babies, sometimes all of them within a couple of weeks. But if we lock them up, then 100 percent make it to adulthood. And seeing how slowly peafowl reproduce, you can understand why we don’t want to lose any.

As of this revision, we’ve had peafowl for nine years, and the numbers have fluctuated from around five to nine most years. We have never had a peahen hatch more than four chicks, although two or three is more common, and we even had a hen hatch only one.

Peafowl housing

If you want to keep your peafowl at home, and you want them to roost in a shelter of your choosing, then you need to create an aviary pen, which is like a chicken run but much larger because a peacock’s train at maturity is about six feet long. The aviary pen must be completely enclosed because peacocks are excellent fliers in spite of that long tail. Ours can easily fly to the top of our barn.

If you let your peacocks and hens free-range, they will roost wherever they choose, which means they don’t have a devoted shelter. They never go into the chicken house to roost. Their favorite roosting place is in trees, although if it’s cold, raining, or snowing, they go into the barn and roost in the rafters, which makes a poopy mess if they happen to be above the haystack.

Peafowl in winter

Even though they are from India, peafowl do remarkably well in cold weather. When our overnight low temperature fell to -25 F (yes, 25 below 0), one of the peahens decided to roost on the deck of our house, and sadly, we found her dead and frozen in the morning. However, all of the other peafowl who decided to roost in the barn were fine.

Raising peafowl may not be the most practical thing I’ve ever done on the homestead, but they do provide great entertainment value, and they’re quite beautiful.

How about guinea fowl? Interested of raising them? You may have heard of its loud chatter or maybe you’ve seen the strange-looking, chicken-like creature with a tiny head and big body. Learn more about guinea fowl now.

Originally published August 31, 2017

Revised January 13, 2024

For more information

If you have already raised chickens, it is not that different from raising peafowl, so most of the information below will also apply to raising peafowl.

Raising Peafowl pin image

51 thoughts on “Raising Peafowl”

    • I have been raising peafowl for 13 years. You might get 6 a season
      . I started out with 4. I now have 22. I lost 2 over the years and it has cost me money at St the vet if they get sick. I am very good at what I do. I won’t sell a chick to just anyone. I now have 4 hens sitting on eggs. I have Indian blue, purple,white,and midnight. My birds know me and trust me. One of my white chicks follow me around like dog. They are really sweet animals. But you must know how to raise them

      • I’d like to know the do’s and don’t to raising peacocks. I’m getting 3 in the next week. I’ve raised chickens and ducks, but this is new to me. Could you help. From a to z please?

        • Hello!
          This is the only article Deborah has specific to peafowl, but there is much more great info in all the comments here.
          She has also linked to several articles at the bottom of this post, specifically about chickens, stating they are very similar to raise.


  1. Is it safe to have peafowl with chickens? What about blackhead? Also, is there any way to keep peafowl nearer to home? We only have 7 acres and a busy hwy 1/4 mile away.

  2. Our peacocks were the most excellent guard dogs! They were very good at attacking any chickens that wandered into our yard from a neighbor’s house. When our hens would hatch babies, we had to introduce them to our peacock pair, because they would also try to run away any chicks they didn’t recognize. Many times I would shake my finger in their faces and tell them “NO!”, so they wouldn’t harm the chicks! We finally sold them, because they make a dreadful noise, and their poop is incredibly large and juicy.

  3. When I was 12, I found a peacock in our backyard ( we had about 4 acres). I tried to feed him crackers and chased him around for 2 hours. He stayed! Became a pet. Sometimes I fed him ground round, but mostly he ate bugs. At night, he would roost in a tree and scream just once. My father named him LeeRoy! Birds are interesting creatures and sometimes you just connect!

  4. i thought of rearing peafowls for commercial purposes more so to sell to recreation places and also help multiply their numbers in my country , thanks for the write up it is a good beginning for me as i research more in regards.

    • The males are the only ones with the big beautiful trains. The females look more like female turkeys in terms of body shape and feather arrangement, as in the photo with the peachicks. Other than that, they are pretty similar. Males are more likely to get aggressive if there are females around, although you will sometimes see two males fighting even without females.

  5. I’m interested in getting 1 or 2 just to have on our property. We have 5 acres – each of our neighbors’ properties are the same size so lots of area to roam. My only concern is them becoming prey possibly to fox or coyotes. Any ideas on protecting them from other wildlife? Our property has a farm fence with wire around it to keep big animals out but I couldn’t keep the birds from flying over it.

    • Since they like to roost up high in trees or barn rafters, they tend to be pretty good at avoiding predators. We have lost peafowl to cars rather than predators.

  6. I love this post, as I have wanted peafowl since we moved onto our homestead. I have resisted because I have heard they are hard to keep from wandering off. We have 19 acres so I’m not sure it would be enough room. Question: would the chicken tractor method work with duck moms? We have a couple that went broody this year and they lost so many ducklings until we locked them up in the barn.

    • Chicken tractors work great with mama ducks and ducklings. That is the only way we ever have ducklings survive to adulthood.

  7. I am looking at purchasing 17 acres that are completely wooded and I hear have many ticks some years. I am considering peafowl or guinea fowl to knock down the numbers. How much noise do peafowl make? Someone told me they are not that loud and someone else said they are the noisiest fowl ever.

    • I’ve had guineas and peafowl, and guineas are far louder than peafowl. However, chickens and turkeys eat ticks too. There is no need to get guineas or peafowl just for tick control.

  8. Can I raise turkey, peafowl and chicks together? I have Chickens but I am wanting to start raising a couple of turkeys and about 3 peafowl.

  9. 1st mating season I’ve had my pair. They are supposedly 3 years old. Peahen nested on at least 2eggs then disappeared on hatch day. The two egg shells looked hatched, there was no disturbance and didn’t look like anything got into them. Day 2, and no sign of them. I’m getting incredibly anxious and worried about them. Should I go searching for them (they have several hundred acres with not many roads around) and try to catch them?

    • I’d probably have gone looking for them as soon as I knew they were hatched, but with an area that large, it’s going to be challenging.

  10. I have a question, please. We are adopting a 2 1/2 year old peacock. The owner no longer wants him. He is currently living in a 10 x 10 cage with no perch. He lets him out once a day to eat, then the peacock goes back in the cage by himself. We have 3 acres with a 6′ fence, 2 big puppy dogs, and a confusion of 25 quinea fowl at present. We have a 20′ x 16′ x 9′ high barn for the guineas, a child’s play house for the puppies. We want to free range the peacock. My question is, should we buy a cage to keep him in until everyone gets used to each other? Or will he be all right if we give him a perch in the play house, (the puppies no longer go inside their house, it could be the peacock’s. We just want to make sure everyone gets along. I’m afraid if we put him in the barn with the guineas the males will gang up on him. Sorry to be so lengthy but this is very important to us. Thanks for any help.

    • Sorry for the delay! If you already got him, I hope you locked him for awhile. Peafowl are not as territorial as chickens or turkeys so they need to be locked up for a few months in most cases before let out to free range. If you let them out too soon, they’ll wander off. We learned this the hard way!

  11. I am looking for at least two peahens, we have a mature free tanager peacock and he is lonely. What is the best way to find hens that are available? I have searched the internet, with little luck. What are your suggestions?

  12. I am looking for at least two peahens, we have a mature free tanager peacock and he is lonely. What is the best way to find hens that are available? I have searched the internet, with little luck. What are your suggestions?

    • Hatcheries sell peafowl, but I’m not sure which ones sell peahens (rather than just peachicks). If you can’t find any locally, they will probably be quite expensive, especially once you add in shipping.

    • I have not heard of them doing that before, but when chickens eat their own eggs, people sometimes say it is a calcium deficiency. Egg shells are pure calcium.

  13. My wife and I recently found what appeared to be an abandoned peahen. We were planning on getting chickens again (raised half a dozen a few years ago but just moved into a new house back in October) maybe next year, but have decided to raise the peahen and get a head start on our fowl collection. We were already a bit concerned with the money it will take to build a nice protective pen for her to roam and such, but as I’m reading this article and other comments it occurs to me that 2.25 acres will not be sufficient (especially since we were planning to keep her in the range most of the time to avoid attacks from predators). Any thoughts? Is our plan too small-scale for our peahen? If we’re worried about the cost now, is this likely to snowball down the line?

    • Sorry I don’t understand what costs you’re concerned about if you’re going to let her free range. Our peafowl cost us nothing. If you want to build a chicken coop and run now, that should last many, many years, and it would be used by your future chickens.

  14. So how often during the season will the peafowl breed? Like if I have one peahen and one peacock will he be on her constantly like some roosters? Also if we purchased the hen while she was laying her eggs and we brought her to our farm, will she continue laying after an adjustment period? Or will the disruption cause her not to lay any more for the season? Thanks

    • Peacocks are gentlemen suitors like male turkeys. They woo the ladies with their fancy tail feathers! The peahen gets so impressed by the peacock’s fancy feathers that she just throws herself down in front of the male. In fact, if your male is less than two years old, he will probably see no action at all this year. He will be showing his tiny turkey tail and doing his dance in front of the peahen, and she will most like totally ignore him. He screeches and stomps but all to no avail, as the just doesn’t even see him until he is at least 2 years old and has a semi-impressive tail. The tail won’t be the mature 6-foot length until his third year.

      I’ve never moved a mature peahen so can’t say if the stress of the move will stop her from laying.

  15. Hello,
    We have been trying to find homes for a number of peacocks and two peahens as part of settling my uncles estate.

    He had mentioned having two breeding pairs before he passed away, but we don’t know how to identify them. From the small amount of research I have done it seems that they may switch partners over time, but also may continue to mate with the same male.

    My question is, does it matter which male is sent with a peahen?

    What questions should we ask of the buyer to ensure s good home for these animals?

    Any guidance you can provide is appreciated

    • They don’t mate for life. Usually you have one male for several females. Perhaps your uncle was paying attention to genetics and planning specific breedings. So, it does not matter which male and female are sold together.

      The main thing is to be sure that they have an enclosure large enough for them for the first couple of months. If you are in the US or Canada, there’s a good chance the males have already lost their tails (trains) this year, so that will make it easier to keep them enclosed at their new home because those tails take up about 6 feet. If they are not kept locked up for a couple of months, there is a good chance that they will just leave their new home.

  16. Do you find that the Peafowl range farther than the Guinea fowl? Im glad to hear that the Peafowl are not as loud as the Guinea fowl because I had 30 or so G.F. and never found them to be annoying. I hatched out 5 Peachicks this summer from multiple purchases of hatching eggs on Ebay, but I wouldn’t recommend this route because of the low hatch rate (from shipping distance and rough handling) and expense but it does work if you can’t find any otherwise. 2 of the peachicks from one batch are about 8 weeks old and both started strutting about. I assume they both must be males? If you think one year old birds look funning strutting around you should see these 2 strutting around for the 20 or so Keets they share their pen with!

    • Yes, the peafowl absolutely range farther than guineas. I’ve received a phone call from 1/2 mile away from someone telling me one of them is on their farm.
      I don’t recommend buying hatching eggs through the mail because there is almost always a bad hatch rate. I quit selling hatching eggs through the mail a long time ago for that reason.

  17. Was looking for some new homes for my ever expanding muster of peafowl (now over 70 strong). any one looking? Over populated in oklahoma. fyi- my peahen died this year she was over 20 years young! The mother of them all.

    • Hi Jeanette.. I grew up in Yukon. Left in 1975 and moved out West to NV now in CA. I will be passing through Oklahoma in Dec. and would love to purchase some of your brood to bring back to my farm in the Sierra Mts.
      You could text me; 7023712002
      Susie Strunk

      • Will contact you. All of the peacocks are grown, free range so they will need to be caught. Will need heads up to get that done. How many? Pairs?

  18. Loved the article. I adopted a peahen that showed up in a friend’s subdivision. After 5 days of no one claiming her we got her. Walked right up to her at dark and picked her up. Fast forward to now—3 months later. She’s still here. Gets along with our chickens. Our one Guinea makes her keep her distance but our peahen mostly hangs out with our youngest chickens. My problem is that she roosts on the roof of my storage building every night. Which is fine except for the coming cold temperatures and inclement weather. Any tips on how to get her in the coop? She has been in the coop on her own once, when it was raining. She voluntarily went in and roosted alongside her friends. I wish she would go in every night. Any advice is appreciated!

    • Hi Amanda
      I would only offer food in the area that you want her to go to.
      This has worked very well for me in training guineas, chickens, and turkeys.
      I would also add a roost that is as high up as you can get it. This was the other factor that helped my guineas learn to roost in their house at night- we changed out the roof to accommodate very high roosts at the peak.


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