It's a cold week here in Bedford, New York, but my peafowl are out and having lots of fun!
So many of you enjoy the updates on the animals at my farm, so I thought I would share with you the latest on my stunning peacocks, peahens and growing peachicks. I now have 10-peafowl in all. If you remember, the peachicks were incubated and hatched right in my home on the kitchen counter this past summer. Once they were old enough to live outdoors, they were moved to one of the coops in the chicken yard, and then to the enclosed peafowl pen near the stable. They’re all doing very well. These birds won’t be fully mature until two and three years of age, when they will look like their parents next door. For now, they’re active, vocal and growing more colorful every day.
Enjoy these photos…
All my peafowl live in a very safe and comfortable area adjacent to my Linden tree allee. The older peafowl coop houses my five peachicks, while the newer coop on the right is home to my two peacocks and three peahens.
Peafowl are happiest when living in small groups. All my outdoor birds have access to natural perches made from old felled trees here at the farm.
These youngsters are about six months old now. It’s been very cold here in the Northeast, but here they are venturing out of their coop. It has been so exciting to see them grow.
Peafowl are members of the pheasant family. There are two Asiatic species – the blue or Indian peafowl native to India and Sri Lanka, and the green peafowl originally from Java and Burma, and one African species, the Congo peafowl from African rain forests. Peafowl are ground feeders. They do most of their foraging in the early morning and evening. As omnivores, they eat insects, plants, grains and small creatures.
Peafowl are very smart, docile and adaptable birds. They are also quite clever. It is not unusual for peafowl to run en masse when the food appears.
Remember, technically only the males are peacocks. The females are peahens, and both are peafowl. Babies are peachicks. A family of peafowl is called a bevy.
And, do you know… a group of peafowl is often called a party, a muster or an ostentation? These peachicks are growing more beautiful every day. As they mature, their necks turn more and more peacock blue and iridescent.
Full grown, peafowl can weigh up to 13-pounds. This one still has some growing to do.
And, when peafowl feel uncomfortable or threatened, they may ruffle up their neck feathers to look even bigger and more menacing. This peachick is very comfortable around visitors.
As beautiful as peafowl are, they don’t make very melodious sounds. Peafowl have 11 different calls, with most of the vocalizing made by the peacocks. And, with their sharp eyesight, peafowl are quick to see predators and call out alarms. Oftentimes, I can hear them all the way from my Winter House.
While peafowl are ground feeders and ground nesters, they still enjoy roosting at higher levels. In the wild, this keeps them safe from predators at night.
A peafowl’s legs are very strong. They have three toes on each foot facing forward, and one facing backwards. They also have sharp, powerful metatarsal spurs that are used for defense. Also, as they develop, males will tend to have longer legs than females.
Both male and female peafowl have a fan-shaped crest on their heads called a corona. It may take up to one year for a corona to reach full size.
Peafowl are pretty social and curious animals. Yearling peafowl act much like teenagers – they play, pester each other and love to explore if allowed.
Peafowl have acute hearing too, but can be poor at discerning from what direction certain sounds originate.
These peafowl are still less than a year old. A peacock doesn’t grow its first train until three. And even then, it won’t be full grown or have showy ocelli. The train gets longer and more elaborate every year until five or six years old when it reaches maximum splendor.
As peachicks get to be yearlings, their individual personalities become more evident. Some will be more tame and more friendly than others. Here is a youngster fanning its tail feathers – it’s the only sight we all rush to capture on camera here at the farm.
Next door are the adults. Because the males are very territorial, I keep the white peacock and one peahen on one side of the house, and the blue peacock and his hens on the other. They are all free roaming, but the males alternate days outside the coop to keep them safe.
Here is one of my adult peahens – she’s grown up here at the farm, so she isn’t shy at all. In fact, she is very accustomed to all the visits.
This is my Black Shoulder Silver Pied peacock. The Silver Pied is a white bird with about 10 to 20-percent color on it, including the bright iridescent blue. He also has white-eyed feathers in his train.
Peafowl will look at you in the eye; however, if you stare at them or seem aggressive in your body movements, these birds will feel threatened. Talking softly and keeping eyes averted tells them you are not a predator.
Peafowl are very hardy birds, and even though they are native to warm climates, they do very well in cold weather as long as they have access to dry perches away from strong winds. These birds will spend most of their days outdoors, and nights in their coop where it is warm and cozy.