People do eat peacock in some countries, yes. There are different laws regarding certain species of peafowl in different countries, so it’s not a simple answer. Most commonly, in China the Indian Blue Peafowl is eaten, it’s also a delicacy in the U.S.
Which Country Eats Peacock?
Peacocks and peafowl are eaten in various countries - just not very commonly. It’s really only India where the most common species, the Indian Blue Peacock is protected under the Indian Wildlife Act 1972.
The Indian peafowl is the national bird of India. They are revered in India and have a rich religious and legendary history in the country. Killing one carries some pretty harsh punishments, so you won’t see one on the menu there.
In China, it’s the Green Peacock that is protected. They are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Therefore it’s forbidden to kill or eat Green Peafowl in China, but they do eat the Indian Blue Peafowl.
In fact, there are some dedicated peafowl farms in China that rear peafowl to be sold for human consumption.
In the U.S., UK, and most of the western world there are no laws protecting peafowls so they are eaten. Being a rare bird and not carrying a lot of meat, it’s not common to find peacocks on the menu though.
Why Do We Not Eat Peafowl (at Least Not Commonly)
Outside of the cases where peacocks are protected and it’s forbidden to eat them, the main reasons why you don’t commonly see them on the menu or the supermarket shelves are:
- Cost - This is always the main reason why we do or don’t see something on the menu. Peacocks take a lot longer than chickens to rear and produce a lot less meat.
- Taste - I explain more about the taste below, it’s not that peafowl tastes bad, but it is a preferred taste. Chicken is much blander and more neutral, but more in demand.
- Demand - As touched on above, peacock simply isn’t in as much demand. Therefore it’s not readily available.
- Stigma? - It’s possible that there is some stigma involved. People are particular about what they eat. With peacocks being known for such colorful feather displays, I’m sure some people would be put off.
Do Peacocks Taste Good?
Asking what anything tastes like is always a tough question as people have differing opinions on taste.
That said, I've scoured the internet for as many opinions from people who have tasted peacock as I could find and there was a common theme.
Do you know what I found?
Apparently, peacock tastes a lot like chicken just with a little more of a gamey taste. Who would have guessed?!
Jokes aside, this is no surprise. Peacocks are game birds, and game birds do taste gamey.
I’ve tried pheasant and quail before, both are game birds and both had that distinctive gamey taste.
Now, I know what you’re going to ask next, what does gamey meat taste like?
The best way I can describe gamey meat is that it has a stronger earthy-like taste. It also has a stronger aroma, so you can get a good sense of how it’s going to taste before eating some.
It tastes like this because the taste of any animal meat is affected by what that animal eats. Game birds eat a lot of natural foods like acorns, leaves, wild grass, strongly scented plants, and lots of insects and bugs that try to hide in the earth.
One thing everyone agrees on is that peacock is an acquired taste. It’s something you should try for yourself if you’ve ever given the opportunity to.
Do People Eat Peafowl Eggs?
Although not commonly available, peahen eggs are equally as edible and as tasty as chicken eggs.
The reason why you don’t see peahen eggs on the supermarket shelves is for most of the same reasons as to why you don’t see peahen meat on the shelves.
It’s much more expensive to get peahens eggs onto the shelves. In fact, if you wanted to buy some for yourself, depending on where you’re located you can expect to pay anywhere between $10-40 per egg!
I’ve eaten peahen eggs, and while I can confirm they are delicious, I don’t think it’s worth paying that much.
They are about three times the size of a regular medium chicken egg though. You only need one to make a decent omelet.
Related - Here’s a look at how often peahens lay eggs.
How Expensive Is Peacock?
Peacock meat isn’t cheap. Looking at some exotic meat markets that ship across the country, you’re looking at around $150-200 for some meat prepared and packaged.
Obviously, if you can find a restaurant serving peacock, it’s going to be a lot less expensive. I had a good look for a restaurant with some peacock on the menu as an example, but couldn’t actually find any!
If you’re interested in raising peachicks yourself, then you’re looking at around $50-100 each. With adult peacocks and peahens often costing a little more than that.
There you have it, people do eat peacocks and peafowl meat. It’s not common, due to peacocks being expensive to raise, not yielding a lot of meat, and having a gamey taste which isn’t for everyone.
Plus there are some countries where peacocks are a protected species. If it’s on your bucket list or you’re curious and want to try peacock, if you look hard enough you should be able to find some.
Just be prepared to pay a steep price!
Image credits - Photo by Ricardo Porto on Unsplash