Question about age for you Peafowl Pros...

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by PeepsCA, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there anyway to tell the approximate age of IB Peafowl?

    I just recently got 2 "new to me" birds... an IB Peacock that could be 1 yr old, or 2 yrs old, (we aren't sure), and an "older" IB Peahen that I have no idea about... I was told she is possibly 5-6 yrs old. Just curious if there's a way to narrow it down (cuz it's not like I can open their mouths and look at their teeth like I can on a goat or horse, lol).

    Obviously if the Peacock has a much nicer/longer tail by spring than he has currently I think it'll be safe to assume that he's probably a 2 yr old... but what about the Peahen? (They came from different sources). I can see that she has some pretty pronounced/developed spur "nubs" on her legs, as opposed to what my young 6 1/2 month olds have (just little bitty bumps).

    Just curious if you Peafowl Pros have any pointers/secrets on determining age on IBs? I'm still learning, and I have a lonnnng way to go, so any help is much appreciated [​IMG]

    If pics would help, let me know, I'll do my best to get some decent pics if you let me know what exactly you need pics of... in the meantime there's some pics on this thread, post #16 - https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=599714 , but none that show the "old lady's" spur nubs (or whatever they are called, lol).

    TYIA!

    ETA... One more question:
    I've done a bunch of reading/absorbing of Peafowl info already, but I have yet to find an answer to this question as well... How long are (IB) Peahens productive? I know they kick it into gear around 2-3 yrs old, but when do they stop laying fertile eggs (assuming that they have a prime choice fertile male as a mate of course).
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  2. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm not a pro. but I do know something about life spans and fertility of peafowl. I've known of or have had peafowl breed well into their late teens. This comes down to reproductive health. The female is more prone to chronic internal infections than the male. You generally won't see any signs of the infection until it's too late.
    You can always recalibrate. I'd catch her up once a month until March and poke 1 cranberry gel cap ( look for it in the pharmacy- it's for people with chronic urinary infections- make sure it is a gel cap and now powder- as the gel cap is made from cranberry seed oil not dehydrated cranberry pulp like the powder) and one mega red gel cap ( made of krill oil - loaded with fatty acids/anti oxidants). While both of these supplements contain anti-oxidants/fatty acids, there are different forms, some unique to plants and some unique to aquatic animals. If your hen is a cameo she could really use an omega red capsule twice a month. Read up on female reproductive health of birds . Gallinaceous birds including chickens and peafowl are one of the oldest surviving lineages of birds. They were around during the Jurassic (no kidding! and what's with the miserable-looking silicone hippy?) their reproductive workings are a bit more like a dinosaur than modern birds. Regardless,look out for soy . If you want your birds to live long, productive lives cut out the soy. If you feed your birds soy every single day of the year, 365 days of the year, you are going to limit the lifespan of most of your birds and hatch fewer individuals with specific traits, like superior feather cells that do not bleach or abrade in the sun. Learning about avian hormones will be critical in your long-term management of birds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  3. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Res, great info, and plenty to read about and keep me busy (and FYI IMO, you are one of the many Peafowl Pros on this forum, you are very knowledgeable and helpful!).

    My older Hen is not a Cameo, she's just an IB with maybe a little tiny % spalding in her, because she shows a little yellow on her face on her cheek area (unless that's a poor health related thing [​IMG] )... but the cranberry and omega for her do make perfect sense. I am sure she wasn't getting everything she needed from the ranch she was running feral on (altho there is a decent sized pond and a couple irrigation ditches there that do have lots of small fish in them, and lots of fruit trees around, so who knows, maybe she only looks as bad as she does because she got so thrashed during the chasing, catching, and transporting process a few days ago). I did not get to observe her before she was chased down and caught/netted, I wish I had tho.

    The friend I got her from said she was sitting on a clutch of her own eggs this summer, but foxes got all the eggs (and either foxes or some other nuisance predator took the 2 other Hens that were dumped off with her that were sitting on their own eggs too). There were no males on the ranch tho, so unless the eggs that were laid were all fertilized by a Turkey... they weren't gonna hatch anyway, lol. Poor Hens tho. These birds were offered to me before in the past, I just did not have pen space for them back then, now I am kicking myself for not making it happen. But the fact that this Hen laid last season is a good sign that there's hope she will lay for me, especially once she's healthy and settled. If there's a possibility she will lay into her teens, who knows, she may be a fabulously productive Hen for me, for quite a few years. I'll do my best to get her healthy and hope for the best. Even if she just produces a few chicks for me in the next few seasons I'll be beyond happy.

    Unfortunately I am stuck with using game bird feeds containing soy for now [​IMG] ... they have done well by all my Guineas and my 2 young Peahens up to this point, but I completely understand why its a good idea to steer clear of them... beside the health of the birds being a major concern, my family and I do consume a lot of the eggs from my Guinea Hens. I'm pretty sure the local feed mill that makes the feeds that I buy uses all grains (and soy) from local crops grown here in my area of Northern CA, but that doesn't mean the soy they use is any better than what everybody else is using. I've raised/bred Guineas for years and take their nutritional needs pretty seriously (as I do with all of my animals) so I will be looking for a reliable, affordable source of soy free feeds in the near future. For now I may switch the older Hen over to the Ultra Kibble/scratch mix ASAP since I'm quarantining her for a while anyway. The other 3 Peas are kept with a flock of my Guineas that I hatched this year, and until I liquidate a bunch of them... the feed costs for that pen would break my wallet if I switched them all over, lol. I do at least feed lots of fruits, veggies and greens from my garden, some sweet feed for a treat, plus everybody has free choice to leafy, fine stem alfalfa.

    Thanks again for the informative response. Much appreciated [​IMG]
     
  4. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Actually, if the were free ranging on a ranch she very possibly has had nothing but the best nutrition. Those are the birds that tend to live the longest. She lost all her feathers being captured no doubt.

    Quote:If you let her set every year and keep at least one chick at least two years ( with its mother) she will be a great mother year after year. She would probably be anyway but ethically speaking I think it's important to encourage natural reproduction and part of that is allowing for the bond between parents to remain as long as it does in nature. The subadult chicks should help their mother rear the new chicks as it occurs in nature- so always try and keep a single "helper" (generally a female) back every year.

    Quote:Birds do well on these feeds. The GMO round up ready soy has only been included in our food chain ( accepted by USDA to put into livestock feed) for the last few years. Anybody that tells you that they've been feeding it for decades is willfully ignorant.
    You can ask if they are using round up ready soy that's the worst possible thing to feed every day. Soy that is not round up ready is not as bad- but it does limit the lifespan of birds and screws reproductive health up- males maturing too fast -birds not being in sync- kills sperm cells- that sort of thing. I also do not know of any soy farmers in the USA that provide soy for the animal nutrition industry to rear anything but round up ready soy. Most soy used in feed in this country comes from Brazil where the rules of what pesticides are used- and so on are not identical to what the requirements are in the USA. I just don't trust the stuff and don't want it fed to any of the animals in my care that much is certain

    Vegetable and fruits are very important but really- there's no nutrition in them. We feed them because they look nice and it makes us happy to see them eating a salad. They'll get some dietary fibre which is always great and some vitamins and minerals- but really- that's a diet for a vegetarian species, not a bug hunter so try not to overemphasis fresh fruits and vegetables over animal protein and dietary fat. Turkeys and most domestic waterfowl can go vegetarian with little problem- for a while at any rate- their bodies are designed for it. But peafowl- their digestive system requires as much animal protein as you can manage to get them- at least seasonally- from late winter through the end of moulting.

    You could save a lot of money dropping the soft feeds and switching to scratch and putting out some sort of incredibly inexpensive meat once every week and a half or so. You should be able to locate a local farm or ranch that processes its own pork or beef or what have you and purchase a big supply of scraps- the problem is that you'll be obliged to grind it- but that's better for the birds by a long shot and they can't consume nearly as much scratch in a day as soft feed- as the soft feed disintegrates upon ingestion. Scratch sits in the crop for a long while.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  5. Hens and Roos

    Hens and Roos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With the recommendations you are making with feeding peafowl is this okay to feed to pheasants too? We have a pair of 6 month old peachicks that share the aviary with a pair of Red Golden pheasants and want to make sure that we are meeting everyones nutritional needs the best we can.

    enjoy reading all the informative information, thanks!
     
  6. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Pheasants will thrive on that same diet. To be sure, the Golden Pheasant subsists, like the Red Junglefowl and Silver Pheasants, almost entirely on bamboo seeds for long periods of the year, grass seeds, fruits, ants and as such, it is capable of living on much lower quality nutrition. That's probably why they have been so successful in captivity for so many centuries.
    In the same aviary as the peafowl the Golden Pheasant will just get better feed -optimal feed- the sort of diet the wild parents might have seasonally right around nesting and moulting seasons.

    I keep peafowl in the same aviaries with other species and all are fed a basic maintenance diet, which consists of bare essentials and then a decent custom mixed scratch grain.
    Green Peafowl are housed with subtropical pheasants with similar nutritional requirements. Indian Peafowl are housed with those species that have similar requirements.
    Something you will certainly notice about Goldens fed on a more optimal diet- and let's remember that eating fresh bamboo seeds and bugs all day is hardly as hard tack as what the Chukar or the Sage Grouse or Valley Quail are searching for all day- but Golden fed on the diet for the slightly more insectivorous/carnivorous Indian Peafowl will certainly result in longer reproductive season. Moulting won't happen as early and the moulted feathers will generally speaking- largely factors of environment involved here as well- the moulted feathers will not show as many signs of wear as those that were fed on some of the more energetically taxing production feeds.
     
  7. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Peeps ...yes you can tell peafowl age 1 ,2 ,and 3 yrs olds after that hard to tell. yearlings will not have pointed spurs, 2 and 3 yr olds will.

    2 yr old males will be colored out just with short trains, 3 yr old have full trains.

    not all peahen have spurs but if you see point spurs on hens ,even smaller ones pointed one sign they are 2 or older.


    Peahen if in larger pens will set and hatch eggs, even ones hatch in incubators and raised in brooders. I would let some peahens set and hatch their last clutch of the year.

    I also have fed a premix feed for the last 30+ years , with great results. 18% to 20 %.


    IMO scratch feed if the worst feed for peafowl and pheasant.....one thing go the UPA site check the peafowl breeders, you will see what most peafowl breeders feed their birds.......also feeding bugs are real bad idea, they will eat them, but most are host to some type worms. meal worms would be ok.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  8. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the response deerman, another Peafowl Pro I was hoping to hear from [​IMG]

    I was able to find out from the breeder the age of the Peacock that he sold me (he has several males and wasn't positive at the time which one he caught and boxed up for me, but he has since done an inventory on all his birds and let me know). My pretty boy is indeed a 2yr old, which I'm really happy about... he's that much closer to breeding age!

    The older Peahen I "acquired" (free, from another source) definitely has short spurs that are growing out of her nubs (they are not just nubs or bumps on her legs under the skin, the spurs have protruded), so she's obviously older than 3, I just don't know how much older. If she is around 5-6 that's fine, if she is already 13 (or older)... then that's not so fine [​IMG] I took her in as a potential breeder for this upcoming season. I was hoping there was an easy way to age Peahens (at any age), guess not tho, bummer. Since she's been away from any Peacocks for a few years (or even getting to see anything but Turkeys strut and fan for her - lol) I'm hoping that this coming March she will be completely receptive to my 2yr old pretty boy and lay fertile eggs for me. Being that it will be my first year breeding Peafowl and I want to hand raise chicks, I plan on collecting as many eggs from her as I can. I may leave her with 3 eggs (and maybe a few Guinea eggs) towards the end of the season and then see if she goes broody. I'll if course incubate the rest of her eggs and hope for the best [​IMG]

    Thanks for the feeding tips, I started frequenting the UPA (and lots of other Peafowl sites) and have been reading up as much as I can and as often as I can about Peafowl. And yah, I'm well aware of all the nasties the birds can ingest from bugs, worms, grubs etc. I've always avoided hand feeding earthworms and grubs etc to my breeding flocks of Guinea Fowl for the same reasons. As far as the premixed soy protein feeds vs ultra kibble/scratch discussions that I've read go... I am not a huge fan of feeding scratch as anything more than a treat (which my Guineas and 2 young Peahens snub their noses at already anyway, lol), but the more I read about it , I'm even less of a fan of feeds that contain round up ready soy and the affects it is known to have. I'm specifically concerned about the Guinea Fowl eggs and meat my family and I consume, and then factor in how it effects the life span of my birds (ugh)... so even if I do not go the ultra kibble route, I'm definitely planning on looking into buying feeds that contain alternative healthier protein sources for all of my birds... which is going to be difficult (and possibly rather costly) for me in my somewhat isolated area, with my flock total number in the 200s here [​IMG]
     
  9. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Quote:another thing on older peahens, some when they get to the age of not laying, they start getting the color of a male, some even been known to get short trains...I has one do so, she was in her 20s
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  10. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That's good news [​IMG] My main concerns with breeding this older Peahen this coming season is her unknown age, and her health... since she's been feral for quite a while and I have no history on her at all. I figured my 2 yr old Peacock would be up to the task, I just don't have any confidence in the old girl in question (yet). My other 2 little Peahens are only 6 1/2 months, they will be a yr old at the beginning of May/2012... but they more than likely won't produce for me until 2013 (tho I have heard/read Peahens can sometimes lay fertile eggs at a yr old... but I am not holding my breath on that, lol). So I'm hoping the older Peahen really pulls thru for me this year. I have plenty of time to make sure she's in good health by Spring... I just don't know her age (and that really bugs me, lol) [​IMG]
     

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