In captivity, peacocks and peafowl typically live between 10-20 years. I have found records of Indian peafowl living to the ripe old age of 30 years, but around 15 years is the average.
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How Can You Tell How Old a Peacock Is?
It’s not easy to tell the exact age of a peacock. However, their eye feathers do help to give you a general idea of how old they are.
Here is a general timeline of feather development that will help you better understand how old a peacock is:
- Up to 1 year old - They will not have any eye tail feathers at all.
- Between 1 and 2 years old - They will have a few eye tail feathers, but not enough to make a full display.
- Between 2 and 3 years old - Generally speaking, when a peacock is 3 years old it will have a full set of eye tail feathers and is able to fan them out and display them.
When peacocks have fully developed feathers, it’s hard to tell their age from that point on. It’s not like they show any signs of aging, so unless you banded them it’s almost impossible to tell how old they are.
Peahens are a different story from the start. Once they’ve grown into adults, it’s pretty much impossible to age them based on their feathers.
If you’re adopting fully grown peafowl unless the seller is able to give you some written documentation about their age you’re probably not going to know if they’re 5 or 15 years old.
Do Peacocks Make Good Pets?
Maybe I’m biased, but I’d say that peacocks or peafowl make great pets. This doesn’t mean that they’re for everyone and easy to keep though.
It’s easy to be allured by peacocks’ magnificent appearance, but without the right space, knowledge, and commitment, raising peafowl will become a chore more than a joy.
Here are some of the main pros and cons to raising peafowl in captivity:
Main Benefits of Raising Peafowl
Raising peafowl comes with some unique and fun possibilities. Here are the main pros most peafowl owners talk about:
Loads of Fun - The number one reason most people keep any animals or pets is that it’s fun, right?!
Peafowl are one of the most exotic and interesting birds available to keep in a backyard setting. If you’re looking for something different, look no further than peafowl.
Community - There is a passionate community of peafowl owners. I recommend getting involved in the community, you’ll find all the tips and knowledge you need to get the most out of your peafowl.
Earning Potential - A lot of owners end up selling the eggs and feathers from their party of peafowl.
There are few patterns more iconic and well known than the ‘eye’ in a peacock feather. They’re in demand and you’ll see them for sale if you look around.
Potential Problems With Raising Peafowl
Much like most animals, raising peafowl isn’t without some drawbacks. Some of the main issues to be aware of before keeping peafowl on commercial or residential properties include:
Noise - Personally, I don’t mind the noises peacocks make - I’m not sure my neighbors would say the same though. Peacocks can be pretty noisy, especially during mating season.
Make sure you check the local ordinance laws where you live regarding noise. The laws vary from state to state depending on where you live, your type of property, and so on.
Wandering - Peafowl are much more prone to roaming far from home than chickens and other domestic birds.
If you don’t have a vast amount of land and you let your peafowl free, there is a high probability that they will ‘escape’ and venture onto other people’s land.
Damage - Peafowl, and peacocks, in particular, are the main offenders here, can do some considerable damage to personal property.
They are known for standing and jumping on cars and can cause some deep scratching. They also scratch around and dig up plants looking for bugs to eat.
So, if you want to act lawfully and stay on the good side of all of your neighbors, it’s best to check with your local office and have a chat with your neighbors.
Realted - How far will peafowl roam from your home?
How Many Peafowl Should You Have Together?
Peafowl are social creatures and are much happier being in a flock. Or an ‘ostentation, or ‘muster’ as these are the proper terms for a collective group of peafowl.
There are varying opinions on the optimal number of peafowl. Generally speaking, it’s believed that 2 peahens are the absolute minimum, and 3-4 is a better number.
If you want to keep a peacock, then you should only have 1 peacock for 3-4 peahens. Any more than that and you risk fighting and having issues over territory.
The determining factor is usually how much space one has. If allowed to roam, peacocks will travel miles. When kept in pens, you should allow at least 100-150 square feet of pen space per bird.
There are a number of factors that contribute to how long peacocks live in captivity. With ideal conditions met, you can expect these birds to live anywhere between 10-20 years.
If you’re interested in raising peacocks, as long as you do your research beforehand and make sure they’re allowed in your area, you’re in for a treat.
They are great pets, very sociable, obviously have an impressive fan of feathers, and will provide you with endless hours of fun and entertainment.
Image credits - Photo by rigel on Unsplash