Raising and owning peafowl can be a fun and exciting adventure. Here are a few basic points you need to consider when deciding to raise peafowl and also how to care for the chicks for the first 8 weeks.
Although most people simply call them all “peacocks”, the correct term to refer to all genders is peafowl. The males are called peacocks, the females are peahens and the chicks are called peachicks.
While we do not anticipate a loss, Meyer Hatchery does cover losses of properly cared for birds that arrive deceased or that pass in the first 48 hours after arrival. Losses must be reported within 72 hours of arrival. To report a loss with a recent order, fill out our Loss Reporting Form.
Peafowl can be kept in a wide variety of climates but if you live where winters are very cold they will need good, draft-free housing for protection. Peachicks, in particular, can be very sensitive to chills, so they typically are available in the spring and summer months only. Peachicks are raised in a manner similar to chicken chicks; they need to be in a draft-free brooder for the first 8 weeks, kept warm and with access to fresh water and turkey or gamebird starter feed at all times. The temperature of the brooder should start at 95 degrees for the first week of age, then decrease the brooder temperature by 5 degrees each week. Peachicks learn quickly how to jump and fly, so add a screen lid on the brooder as soon as you see attempts at jumping. After they are fully feathered by around 8 weeks of age, they are old enough to go outside into their permanent housing. The brooder needs to be large enough to give the chicks plenty of room to grow and be active.
Special notes when using a brooder plate
- Place your brooder plate on the opposite side of your brooder space away from waterers.
- Set the height of your plate making sure there is a minimum of 1 1/8" space between the brooder plate and your bedding
- Allow enough space for your poultry to be able to move freely from underneath the brooder plate. Some brooder plates give you the option to adjust one side of the plate a bit higher than the other giving your poultry the option to choose their preferred height.
- Turn your brooder plate on 24-48 hours prior to the arrival of your poultry
- When your poultry arrives be sure to encourage them to go underneath the brooder plate showing them where warmth is.
- Brooder plates mimic a mother bird using warmth and touch so using a thermometer to measure the temperature is not reliable. It is important to watch the behavior of your poultry to determine their comfort level. If they are peeping and huddled together, adjust the plate lower, as this is a sign they are too cool. If they are avoiding the heat plate altogether it may be too low, therefore providing too much warmth.
- Brooder plates are ideal for indoor brooding. If the temperature of the room falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit your brooder plate will not provide enough heat for your new hatchlings.
Learn more on how to brood poultry using a heat plate here: Brooding with the Brinsea Ecoglow Safety 600 Brooder Plate.
Because they need a higher protein level to build those beautiful feathers, peachicks should start on gamebird starter if you can find it. Since it isn’t common to find this feed in stores, you can also use turkey starter. They should have free access to feed and water at all times. You can also supplement with cottage cheese, cooked eggs, and other natural high-protein foods.
Raising With Other Poultry Types
Different species of fowl can carry different parasites in their digestive tract. Peafowl do not have a tolerance to the parasites that most of your domestic fowl carry. For this reason, we recommend brooding and housing peafowl separately from turkeys, chickens, and other domestic fowl. Peafowl and pheasants are often kept together without any issue. Many people are also successful in keeping chickens and peafowl together, but very diligent cleaning regimes, avoiding overcrowding, and a strict deworming program are highly recommended to help avoid spreading disease. Do not house turkeys and peafowl together.
We hope this information helps with your decision to raise the beautiful and exotic peafowl varieties that we offer at Meyer Hatchery. We are always a chat, phone call or email away if you have further questions!