Peacocks are gorgeous exotic animals that are often seen at the zoo, but not many people would consider keeping one or two as pets. That said, peacocks are becoming more and more popular as pets throughout the United States and the world in general. Their official name is the peafowl — peacocks are male peafowls — but most people call both sexes by this common name. In addition to knowing their official name, there are other important things that you need to know about peacocks before deciding whether to go out and buy one as a pet.
1. Peacocks Need Plenty of Space
One peacock needs at least 80 square feet of living space to stay healthy, but the more, the better. A caged habitat should be at least 7 feet high to allow for flying and feather spreading. These animals will not typically leave their territory, so if you live on an acre or more in a rural area, you can let your pet peafowl roam free.
Peacocks like to make loud shrieking noises, especially during mating season, so there should be space established between where your pet peacock is living and your neighbor’s properties. If you do not live in a rural area and plan to keep a peacock in a caged habitat, it is a good idea to talk to your neighbors about your plans first.
2. They Like Warm Climates
Wild peacocks live in tropical climates, and birds in captivity prefer warm weather over cooler temperatures. They do not necessarily require humidity to thrive, but they do need warm weather or protection from colder weather to enjoy a high quality of life.
If you do not live in a tropical location like Florida or Hawaii, you should provide your pet peafowl with a large wooden chicken roost to huddle up in when the winds get heavy and the weather gets too cool for them. You can build walls around their habitat using plywood during the winter months to provide them with a safe and insulated place to live until the weather warms up again.
3. They Are Easy Prey
Peafowls are not timid nor tiny, but they are considered prey by many predators, including dogs and coyotes. Because of this, it is important to make sure that they are protected from possible predators 24 hours a day. Protection can be effectively offered whether your pet peacock is free range or lives within an enclosed area.
Free-range peacocks can get protection from predators if you build perch boxes in the trees for them. If a predator comes around, your bird will fly up into or onto the perch box, where the predator cannot reach. After some time, the predator will give up and go away. Contained peacocks should also have some kind of elevated house or perch, just in case a predator gets through the fencing or caging.
4. They Are Omnivores
Peacocks are omnivores and eat a wide range of different foods in the wild, depending on the time of year and what happens to be growing wherever they are. In captivity, peafowls should eat a commercial bird feed made for chicken or pheasants, as well as peanuts and leafy green vegetables daily. Cat or dog food can also be offered to ensure that your pet peacock gets all the protein that they need. Fruit can be offered as a snack occasionally, as can colorful veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
5. They Require Special Health Care
Peacocks are notorious for getting worms, so they need to be dewormed every couple of months, but you will not find a wormer made specifically for these animals. You can use one made for cattle or chickens. Some feed stores sell herbal wormer products that can be used to treat any animal, including peafowls.
Peafowls are also susceptible to parasites such as lice and chiggers, so they should be checked for them and treated as necessary throughout the year. There is no established veterinarian protocol established for the peacock because they are not common pets. However, farm vets should be able to help you prevent and treat diseases, such as avian pox.
Peafowls are beautiful creatures, but they require careful care as pets. They are not the same as chickens, as they are more interactive with humans, but they will never be friendly with family members or show affection as a cat or dog would. Still, owning a peacock that is happy and thriving is a rewarding experience that any animal lover can appreciate. Have you decided whether to get a peafowl as a pet yet? Let us know in our comments section!
Featured image credit: MarcoPazzini, Pixabay