Best environments for Peafowl

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by vbgarden, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. vbgarden

    vbgarden Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2008
    Virginia Beach
    I am hoping to get some insights, ideas and experiences from the folks here who have shared such great info on peafowl. I have a pair of peafowl that were given to us. I'm concerned about making sure they are safe and secure but also happy and healthy. If this gets long, please bear with me.

    We were originally given four peacocks, more than we could handle - so we, in turn, gave three away and kept the sweetest, friendliest one. We've had that male about 18 months. He's a sweetheart and spent most of his life here with our chickens. Once he acclimated to the farm, we let him out of the run with the chickens and he would forage around with them during the day and return, with them, to the coop and his elevated perch at night. The last time he was out, earlier this spring, he stayed out overnight on a large 4x4x8 perch I had placed between two close trees - but it's only about 10' off the ground and I don't think it's safe enough from night predators.

    Since spring we now also have a female from last summer's hatch from the same pair as the male. I've kept her and the male penned together to imprint our farm, her new mate and to get her accustomed us being food and home base. They are in a pen that adjoins the chicken run/coop with free access back and forth to all. The peacock area can be shut off from the chickens but that also takes away cover from rain. Their area is 18' long, 12' wide and 10' high with a large platform perch about 10" wide about 9' off the ground.

    We have friends whose peafowl free range and I had planned to give these two the run of the farm.... until I realized that we were woefully short on protective cover for them. I have one very large, open pine tree with lots of flat branches and there are moderate sized trees near the chicken run but not many good perching places among them because those younger trees tend to have steep branch angles. It's here that I placed the home-made perch. They can perch up on top of their run, on the barn, on the small coop..... but I'm worried about them in bad storms (much less our summer hurricanes).

    There are some dense pine woods across large fields/roads within sight and the one time the original four peacocks went on the lam that's exactly where they flew to. In fact, they crossed the inland waterway tributary near us and ended up in the lovely mowed pine woods yard of an estate about five miles away.

    I feel badly when I let the chickens out to range in the lush grass and ditches but not the peafowl. The male's always been good about staying near the chickens and coming back to the coop area at night but I don't know what the little female will do. I'd like to let both out each day but I'm afraid they will not want to come back to the run and I need to know what to provide for them outside of it to keep them safe.... or how to lure them back at evening. In addition, I hear that one shouldn't have peafowl near chickens - although all the ones I know of here are penned, corralled with chooks and they seem fine.

    I do have photos of them on my backyard blog: www.usefulgardens.com

    I'd sure appreciate any suggestions, experiences and ideas you are willing to share that will help me decide what to do. We didn't expect to have peafowl but have gotten very attached to these two!

    Many thanks,
    Sybil
     
  2. FLOrange00

    FLOrange00 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Indiantown, Florida
    Well, I've had peafowl for close to 20 yrs and they are happy & healthy free rangers. I got some new ones (yearlings) from Texas about 4 months ago. I penned them up for about a week. During that time, they got to see the routine and had plenty of company from my flock. After a week, I let them out in the morning. They did fine. They roost in a pine tree with about 6 other birds and have ventured off a couple times exploring, but always knew to come back for dinner. I do have some "bachelor" cocks that roost across the street during breeding season, but they come home in the morning. Even during breeding season, they all get along very well. The only birds I have lost in 20 yrs. were two hens that were setting on nests. I firmly believe space and freedom is as important to peacocks as is the air they breathe. I wish you the best of luck...they really are cool birds. Terri
     
  3. Fowler Hencock

    Fowler Hencock Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2011
    That is a nice pair of black shouldered peacocks that you have! Interesting that the male has some white on his back feathers, but not in his ocelli.


    When we first got our birds, we kept them penned until they could imprint upon our location. When we let them out to free range, they would stay pretty close, but they discovered the old oak trees over the neighbor's house, and they decided that they preferred to sleep there rather than in their pen. The neighbor came over one day, and said that he liked seeing the peacocks, but they were pooping on his roof and deck, so we had to pen them back up. So as our flock has expanded, the pens have, too.

    As far as safety goes, it's a toss up. They are pretty safe sleeping in high trees, but very vulnerable on their nests out in the open. The down side to penning them up is, if a predator defeats your fencing system, the birds are sitting ducks and unable to escape, locked up in a pen. We've buried chicken wire a foot into the ground around some pens, and been awoken to the neighbor's dog inside the pen, barking at the birds. Skunks and raccoons can chew through netting and eat eggs. VERY difficult to keep snakes out. Small hawks can squeeze through wire weld fencing and eat chicks. Not to mention, no matter how safe you build it, birds will find a way to get caught in the netting and wire, or drown in a water trough, knock themselves out flying up into their perch, etc.

    I guess the bottom line is, no matter what you do, there's always danger and something that can go wrong. Just hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
     
  4. vbgarden

    vbgarden Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2008
    Virginia Beach
    Thank you both for sharing your experiences with me. I think I'm ready to let them free and hope for the best. Like you, I think they will be much happier overall. what's your experience with weather? FLOrange00, have yours weathered any hurricanes? Fowler, do you get serious cold/snow? Here in Virginia Beach, we're sort of in between - we get some cold winter weather and some serious nor'easters/hurricanes but I notice that my neighbor's free ranger seems fine. She has a heavily wooded lot, however, so I know her guy has lots of cover.

    Oooh, so I have black shouldered peafowl? Both of them? I'm thrilled. Hadn't a clue, just loved 'em. [​IMG] Hard to argue with freebies!

    Sybil
     
  5. Glenmar

    Glenmar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2011
    VIRGINIA
    Your boy is beautiful!!!! [​IMG]
     
  6. vbgarden

    vbgarden Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2008
    Virginia Beach
    His proud mama thinks so! He is a true sweetheart, too. He lets the little chicks bound around him and very, very carefully steps over them. He spent hours watching the mamas on the nests, almost like a protector and seems to feel some ownership of the baby banties. He's never pecked at any of the chickens, other than one ballistic mama hen who chased him like a maniac when her chicks hatched (although the chicks seemed to find him comforting). The two of them are now wary of each other but calm. When a couple of the pullets couldn't get back into their nest area one night, I found them on the peacock perch huddled under his wings - - whether he wanted them or not![​IMG]
     

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