The Glorious & Mystical Peacock by Shirley Jacobson from the August/September, 2006 issue of Backyard Poultry

February 7, 2013

The Glorious & Mystical Peacock

By Shirley Jacobson

Long Prairie, Minnesota

I have many different birds-turkeys, guineas, chickens, bantam chickens-but the peacocks are the most interesting and beautiful.

I have been raising birds for many years, since I was a young girl and now have over 40 years experience. It has been an enjoyable hobby and I have sold the extra birds. I have hatched for over 30 years. The most popular birds have been guineas.

Besides the beautiful tail, peacocks also have unusual 'masks' on their face, adding to their mystique.
Besides the beautiful tail, peacocks also have unusual "masks" on their face, adding to their mystique.

I got peacocks about 15 years ago and hatch a few babies each year. I use a StyrofoamTM incubator, as it is too risky for a hen to set out in the woods for four weeks. We have many predators here including skunks, raccoon, and fox. I am pretty good at trapping predators and have had to shoot many skunks.

Care of the Peacock

The Pied peacock in the above photo (the Pied peacock has white feathers) is very tame as he was a lone chick one year and got all of my attention. He eats out of my hand and follows me around the yard like a puppy. His name is "Big Guy."

Peacocks do not get a big tail until they are three years old. Hens don’t lay a hatchable egg until they are two years old. Some pea hens lay up to 10 eggs at a time but most lay only three to five and want to set but will lay eggs into September.

Pea chicks need a family so I put them with guineas or bantams that I want to keep because they never forget which birds they were raised with.

A Pied peacock
A Pied peacock

Peacocks love to roam free and are nervous when kept in a pen. Some rules I use for raising the babies are that they need heat and warmth longer than chickens or turkeys. I don’t let them get wet as they can get sick and die quickly. They do best when you can put them out in a grassy pen in sunshine during the day, but the pen needs a cover as they can fly high within a few weeks.

I feed them chick grower with chopped boiled chicken eggs. I also feed them lots of greens-grass is fine in summer. They also like red tomatoes. In the winter they get lettuce, chopped celery and apples. As adults I add whole corn and wild bird food with lots of millet in it.

I raised my peacock with my other birds and have not had disease problems as I try to keep pens dry and clean. It is also important to give them fresh water everyday.

Products of the Peacock

Peacocks have been so much fun. I also collect peacock items-jewelry, pictures, books and ceramics.

I made a couple quilts with peacocks and embroider my hand drawn pictures on many dishtowels.

The peacock also loses his big tail feathers every August so I have many feathers to sell and give as gifts.

I am a digital project manager with Swift Digital. I started at Swift in June 2007 and joined the Backyard Poultry Magazine team in 2012. I hold a master's degree in interactive journalism from the Un...