Peacocks can eat peanuts, yes. Peafowls are omnivores and eat a wide range of nuts, berries, seeds, and insects in the wild. In captivity, peafowls’ diets typically comprise of game feed and is supplemented with similar foods.
Should You Feed Peacocks Nuts?
Just to make sure we’re clear on something that is often misunderstood about peafowl; peacocks are male peafowl, they’re the ones with the large beautiful tail feather displays.
While the females are called peahens, and are typically blander in appearance and mostly grey/brown in color.
Back on topic, peanuts are fine for peacocks and peahens to eat, yes.
So, whether you’re asking because you're raising peacocks or peahens, or just wondering because you fed some to one at a public park, don’t worry.
There is really only one concern, and this applies to feeding peanuts to birds in general. Peanuts are highly susceptible to mold during storage or if they’re left outside for long periods.
In particular, peanuts can grow a fungus called Aspergillus Flavus, which releases large quantities of aflatoxin.
This is highly toxic to birds and can cause anything from mild discomfort to carcinoma of the liver and death. The smaller the bird, the more they’re affected of course.
With peacocks being so big, the risk is lowered but it’s something to take very seriously. Make sure any peanuts you feed to peafowl are fresh and clean!
Related - Can peacocks eat bread?
What Is a Peacock's Favorite Food?
The good news is that peacocks really aren't that fussy when it comes to food and it’s pretty easy to feed them.
I'm not sure if they have outright favorite foods, but I know that peacocks absolutely love finding and eating just about any insect or small animal.
This is the same with chickens, foraging for insects comes naturally to them and it’s how they survive in the wild.
You can tell that they enjoy the chase, and they enjoy the snack even more. So, if I had to pick a favorite food for peacocks I’d say some kind of live insect, bug, or small creature.
They also eat plants, berries, grains, seeds (they love sunflower seeds), and almost anything else that’s edible. But there is clearly not as much enjoyment in pecking away at plants.
Understanding a Peafowls Digestive System
You may have noticed that peafowl - and all birds - do not have teeth. They have beaks, which they can use to break up food a little before eating it.
But for the most part, they swallow foods whole without chewing them.
Don’t worry though, hard foods like peanuts do not cause issues for peafowls. This is because birds have an organ called a gizzard.
The gizzard is a large muscle, essentially another stomach that contracts and chews up food with the help of small stones and grit.
It's a powerful organ that will break up peanuts and other similar foods. Peafowl and then able to pass these foods through their digestive system so they can absorb the nutrients.
Peafowl rarely eat anything that will cause them an issue in terms of size. Obviously, you do have to be careful to let them have access to any potentially toxic foods though.
Can Peacocks Eat Chicken Feed?
If you're raising chickens and peafowl together, naturally you’re probably wondering if you can feed your peafowl chicken feed.
The answer is, no - you shouldn't feed chicken feed to peafowl. For the simple reason that peafowl and chickens have different dietary needs.
It’s not toxic or harmful in any way, at least not in reasonable quantities. So, you have nothing to worry about from that standpoint.
Peafowl needs to be fed a game feed, which is much higher in protein and formulated with a different balance of vitamins and minerals than chicken feed.
You’re going to have to set up two separate feeders and try to make sure your peafowl do not help themselves to your chicken’s feed and vice versa.
The only exception is peachicks. I know a lot of people feed peachicks a good game or started chick feed. My best advice is to run this past a vet, farmer, or someone with experience raising peachicks.
Can Peacocks Fend for Themselves?
This is always hard to answer as to whether or not peacocks can fend for themselves depends on whether or not they can easily find more than enough quality nutrition off the land.
Wild peacocks are native to jungles and landscapes rich in food sources. If you're raising peacocks on your own land, it's very unlikely they'll be able to find enough quality food to maintain optimal health.
For this reason, people raising peacocks in captivity provide a quality game feed to their birds.
If you're unsure what the best feed is, I recommend reaching out to a hatchery, farmer, or someone locally with experience raising peafowl.
I'm sure they'll be more than happy to let you know what they feed their birds. And they should be able to point you in the direction of where they get their feed, too.
You now have a much better idea of the foods peacocks and peafowl can or cannot eat. Peanuts are fine, in fact, I’m sure you’re aware that peanuts are a favorite for most birds.
Just be sure that any peanuts you feed to peafowl are clean, fresh, and have been stored correctly.
Don’t use this as an opportunity to get rid of a load of peanuts that are past their best. The mold that forms on peanuts is particularly toxic and potentially harmful to peafowl.
Image credits - Photo by Srivats Venkataraman on Unsplash