Peacocks can eat bread, but it doesn’t provide much in the way of the important minerals, vitamins, and nutrients they need. Therefore, it’s better to avoid giving them bread and other human foods and stick to the appropriate game feed.
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Why Bread Isn't Ideal for Peacocks and Other Birds
Throwing old bread to ducks and leaving it out for birds is perfectly normal. I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the most common human foods that gets shared with birds.
Yet, when the topic gets brought up, there are often mixed opinions on whether or not birds, and this includes peacocks, should be given bread.
I’ve researched the topic in detail, and for me, the answer is pretty clear and aligns with common sense:
The important thing to note is that a small amount of bread now and then isn’t going to cause any problems.
Bread is not toxic or dangerous in any way, so you don’t need to worry about your peacock nibbling on a bit of bread here and there.
Peacocks are able to digest any type of bread just fine. The issue is that bread doesn’t provide any of the good nutrition they need.
Therefore, by giving them bread you’re filling them up with food that they don’t need and it’s taking up space where quality game feed should be going.
What Should Peacocks Eat?
Peafowl are omnivores, so they will eat both meat and vegetation. Like most birds, they’re great scavengers and will scratch around and find something to eat if it’s there.
In the wild, peacocks survive just fine eating fruit, grains, berries, small animals, bugs, and just about anything else that is edible!
In captivity, peafowl are typically fed a quality game feed. You can add some variety by giving them some table scraps and other foods, but they rely on a high protein diet that is easiest to provide with a formulated feed.
It’s important you’re aware that peafowl have complex deity needs, and in particular, require a high protein diet. You can’t get away with a basic poultry feed, it has to be a game feed suitable for peafowl.
If you can give them the space to roam and find some food sources for themselves too, even better.
Depending on what the weather is like where you are and whether or not your peahens are laying, you may need to switch up your feed to different protein content.
Related - Here’s a closer look at what peafowl drink.
Understanding a Peafowls Digestive System
This seems like as good of a time as any to give you a crash course in a peafowl’s digestive system as it’ll help you better understand what they should or shouldn’t eat.
A peafowl’s digestive system is essentially the same as other birds. If you take a close look, you’ll notice peafowl do not have teeth.
This obviously means they are not able to chew foods. So, the first thing to always be careful about is giving them foods that are too hard or big and possibly present a choking hazard.
Don’t worry, they are able to break up and digest food. Peafowl, like other birds, have an organ called a gizzard.
A bird’s gizzard is basically a large muscle that chews food up for them. If you’ve seen your peafowl eating stones and bits of grit, this is because the gizzard uses hard grit to help break up and digest food.
The food is then passed through their digestive system and the nutrients are absorbed.
Treats Are Fine, Junk Food Is Not
A lot of peacocks roam around zoos, parks, and other places where tourists and other people visit.
Like most animals, they’re attracted to food and will often hang around the areas where people are eating. Despite there being signs not to feed them, most people will throw them some scraps to eat.
Unfortunately, most human foods are much worse for peafowl than bread. Chips, processed meats, chocolate bars, candy, all these types of foods are bad for peafowl and can upset their fragile digestive system.
If you - or anyone else - is going to treat your peafowl, stick to treats along the lines of what they’d eat in the wild.
Things like fresh fruit, vegetables, little bugs you find for them, and I’m even told they enjoy cat food and get some good nutritional value from it. It’s certainly worth trying.
If your peafowl has been eating bread on occasion, it’s nothing to worry about. Bread isn’t harmful and doesn’t present a choking hazard or anything like that.
The reason it’s not recommended is that peafowl have complex dietary needs, and filling up on bread doesn’t help them meet any of their nutritional needs.
A little treat here and there is fine. Just try to limit it - which is hard if your peacocks roam amongst other people in a public place as they like to scavenge for scraps.
Image credits - Photo by Bao Menglong on Unsplash