Blue India Peafowl
My "peadeck" with a mature Black-shouldered male, 3 Blue India hens, a juvenile White male and an Oaten hen
In 1963 the peacock was declared the National Bird of India because of it's rich religious and legendary involvement in Indian traditions. (Does this make it the world's first sexist national bird? What happened to the poor peahen?)
A peahen's clutch may range from 312 eggs, although 46 is average. The eggs are usually laid 2 days apart and in the later afternoon. Peafowl eggs take 28 days to hatch. The young are known as peachicks. For tips on raising peachicks, go to Raising Chicks. For ideas on acclimating newly acquired adult peacocks and peahens refer to the section on acclimating guineas.
For a breeding trio of peafowl you should have a minmum of 400 square feet (37 square metres). Larger pens are better. The roof should be at least 6 1/2 feet high, with sheltered roosts at least 40 inches off the ground.
Peacocks don't develop their long trains until they are 3 years old and they molt the train yearly. In New York they begin the molt in late July or early August and are finished by September. Here's a shot of my Black-shouldered male "Magritte" taken in early fall and another (poor) shot from December, when his train was about half grown back in. The train is not actually the peacock's tail. The train itself is composed of 100150 upper tail coverts, which are supported by 20 retrices (true tail feathers).
More variety -- From left: A Spalding hen, a Silver Pied hen, a Spalding Dark Pied hen, a yearling White male and in the background a Spalding Pied male
Young Peafowl are not easy to sex. If you have a bunch of the same age, by a couple months the males will usually have longer legs. Another tip is the color of the outer primaries. This shows up fairly early. Below are some pictures of the primary feathers on male and female Peafowl.
The two shots on the left are a yearling male, on the right an adult
Photos courtesy of Andrea Wieboldt
The peacock I'm sure you all know. The ladies are called peahens! These are the peafowl that live wild in Asia. The other forms, such as White and Oaten, are varieties that have been developed through selectively breeding domestic populations.
Here's a 3 second, 463K movie of my Black-shouldered peafowl courting.
The difference between Blue India (left) and Black-shouldered peacocks
The green on the back occurs in both forms, but you can't see it on this Blue India as his wing is sitting a little high.
And here's a little of
The above three images courtesy of Bill and Sue Tivol
And if you're wondering why a peacock has such a fancy display?
Molt: Peafowl, in the US at least, molt their trains sometime between midsummer and early fall. The new one is usually grown in by late winter.
This is my Pied Black-shouldered male "Salvador" right after he molted and about a couple months after molting
My Blue India / Black-shouldered male "Matisse" with his new train about
halfway grown in
Photo courtesy of Ginger Carson
The White Peacock "Chantilly Snowman"
1 June 1989--18 March 2001
Peafowl x Guinea hybrids
Two peachicks, the dark one on the right is a Blue India and the lighter
one is a Cameo
(the "headless" body belongs to a turkey poult)
Photo courtesy of Nicole Reggia
Three peachicks with their foster mother, a Brazilian Game hen
Photo courtesy of Maxine Heasman
Direct questions and comments to Barry at FeatherSite -- questions and comments