Green Peafowl

Juvenile green peacock

Green peafowl (Pavo muticus) are one of three species of peafowl. There are multiple subspecies of green peafowl in the wild; consequently, their range is quite extensive in southeastern Asia. The sexual dimorphism is less extreme with green peafowl than with the other two peafowl species, meaning the peahens' plumage rivals that of the peacock (minus the train of course). They are classified as Endangered by the IUCN, and this is largely due to threats like hunting, poaching, and habitat destruction.

Juvenile green peacock

Insight into Green PEafowl

Pair of green peachicks

Green peafowl were added to the collection in 2016. Due to the situation of green peafowl in the states, I am unable to say with certainty that this is a pure subspecies. It appears that many pure green peafowl in the U.S.A. are a conglomeration of the various subspecies that were imported at one point or another. Given this, and their endangered status, it is highly important for people to thoroughly research green peafowl prior to purchasing them. Just because a well-known peafowl breeder sells "Java green peafowl," one should still be cautious and not always take their word. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in locating some pure green peafowl, as there are a few sources I would recommend.

Green peafowl (Pavo muticus) are a separate species than the typical Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) that the majority of peafowl owners keep. Crossing these two species will produce fertile offspring (which are termed spalding peafowl), some of which can closely resemble pure green peafowl. It takes practice to spot the differences in spalding peafowl, so I suggest you scour over as many websites and image search results as you can to gain a better idea of the proper green peafowl phenotype. 

The information below will give you a very general idea of what is involved in caring for peafowl. Green peafowl do have additional needs that I will briefly touch upon. First of all, they are tropical a species and will require an indoor shelter that is heated (mine are kept at 55 F). Their protein requirements are slightly higher than those for Indian peafowl, so in addition to a base diet of Mazuri Gamebird Feed and bird seed, my green peafowl are fed a blend of sweet potato, carrot, hard-boiled egg, kale, and softened Farmer's Helper UltraKibble (these are all combined in a food processor and fed daily to the birds with a sprinkle of Vionate). Another difference is aggression; green peafowl have a reputation of being aggressive to humans (especially males during breeding season). This is something to really consider, as green peafowl are large birds equipped with sharp spurs. One final differentiating feature is their vocalizations. While Indian peafowl have high-pitched shrieks, green peafowl have a lower-pitch call, and they call less frequently.

I hope this provides realistic insight into green peafowl. I love mine, but they are not definitely not for everyone. At the end of the day, this is an endangered species that should not be purchased on impulse, as they do not deserve to suffer down the line due to inadequate facilities or improper husbandry. To maximize their welfare and have a more enjoyable experience raising them, thoroughly research them to make sure there are no slip-ups.

Caring for Peafowl

Most people think that peafowl are an exotic bird that is out of their reach. In reality, peafowl are actually quite common in captivity, with people keeping them in all sorts of climates. The biggest mistake made with peafowl is thinking that they are compatible with just about anything. This sort of an attitude can ultimately kill your peafowl. Peafowl should NOT be kept with domestic fowl like chickens. Peafowl, just like turkeys, are susceptible to blackhead disease (histomoniasis), which chickens carry. Also, keeping peafowl with chickens puts the peafowl at risk of coccidiosis. It is best to keep peafowl in large, spacious pens to give them room to be their natural selves. This way they will establish a designated dust bathing area, a dancing ground for the peacock, and some favorite perches.

Peafowl need a gamebird style feed, which can be supplemented with wild bird seed. By providing a variety, you will learn what your peafowl prefer the most, and you can adjust your feeding regiment based on their preferences. Fresh fruit and greens are loved by peafowl, so they should be incorporated in their diet. An important supplement to not overlook is cat food or dog food. To understand why that is, picture a peacock's train. To grow so many long feathers takes a lot of protein, which can be sourced from the protein-rich cat/dog food. Since peafowl are regrowing their trains starting in the fall time and through winter, be sure to give them a treat that is high in protein. I also recommend feeding Farmer's Helper UltraKibble and Farmer's Helper Cackleberry Nugget Treats. They are soy-free and full of great ingredients. In addition to the feed discussed, make sure your peafowl always have fresh water to drink, this is especially important during the hot summer months.

Peafowl are notorious for their calls, and this is definitely justified. During breeding season, peacocks can be quite noisy; their calls are loud and they call frequently. If you have neighbors in the vicinity, it would be a good idea to talk with them to make sure that they are okay with this. But rest assured, the loud calls only last during breeding season; for the remainder of the year they are relatively quiet. Peahens can also have loud vocalizations, which resemble a honk. If they get spooked by something is common for them to honk and raise their neck feathers. If you love peafowl, you will be able to survive their calling. I personally enjoy it, but it is not a sound that everyone will enjoy. 

Breeding season begins in late April in our region and continues through July. The duration of breeding season is dependent on multiple factors, with the two main ones being when the peacock drops his train and whether the females are allowed to naturally incubate. Some peacocks molt their trains early on (late June), while others molt later. Once the peacock drops his train, there is roughly a two week cut-off period until fertility will be low-to-none. In terms of actual egg laying, it is very noticeable when it is time for a female to lay. Her wings will be droopy, she will be making repeated clucking sounds, and she will pace around. This behavior is common during the late afternoon, as peahens lay in the evening. If you notice a female in this uncomfortable pose for longer than a day without any egg being laid, you should begin to worry about the possibility of the peahen being egg-bound (this may require veterinary intervention). This can be prevented by providing calcium sources, like poultry grit, at all times.

Eggs take approximately 28 days to hatch, and I found that is beneficial to incubate peafowl eggs at low humidities and at 99.5 F. For the last three days of incubation, egg turning must stop, the temperature should be lowered to 98.6 F, and the humidity should be raised to 60-70%. Be sure to monitor the peachicks. If you end up with a peachick that is not in the right hatching position, or one that is shrink-wrapped, it is necessary to intervene. Remember, do not rush hatching; if you assist too much and too soon, that could cause more harm than it will help. There is much more to hatching peafowl, so if you have specific questions then let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

Green peachick

Green peachick

Green peachicks

Once the peachicks hatch you will find that they already have feathers on their wings. Peachicks are able to fly just days after hatching. Keep that in mind to have your brooders covered with a screen. Be sure to feed medicated chick starter. Once peafowl are transitioned to living on the ground, it is a good practice to worm them twice a year. Some wormers to use include Safeguard and Ivermectin.  

There is some basic information about peafowl. As always, if you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact me (form found on the About Us page).    

Considerations for the winter

The following images depict depict my green peafowl (when they were one year old juveniles) in their winter quarters. Since they are native to tropical regions, they must be heated. A heated perch with a windbreak will not suffice, so please make sure you have adequate facilities to house these birds. I utilize an insulated shed and an oil-filled electric heater. I keep them at 55 F. It is especially important to have multiple perches to allow the peafowl to get away from one another if they so chose to. Feather picking can often arise during the winter months, and this can be avoided through enrichment. Rather than offering food directly in a dish, I try to disperse feed so that the birds have to forage for it. Additionally, I also throw in lettuce heads and various vegetables for them to work away at (rather than each other). Vitamin supplementation is important, which I accomplish by sprinkling additional Vionate on their vegetable mash (see above for more details). I wait until nighttime temperatures are no lower than 40 F before I release them back outdoors. 

Juvenile green peafowl

Green peacock with green peahens in the background (<1 year old)

Juvenile green peacock (<1 year old)