If you’re wondering how to tell the age of a peacock, there are some physical characteristics that will help you get a good idea of their age.
If the bird is less than one year old, it’ll have almost no tail feathers. Between 1-3 years old, it’ll have some tail feathers in their trains. When 3 years and older, peacocks have full developed tail feathers.
Here’s a more detailed look at these key stages:
Up to 1 Year Old
When peachicks first hatch, unless removed they will spend about 2 months being closely cared for by their mothers.
By around 2 months of age, they will have developed a decent coat of feathers and be able to fend for themselves for the most part.
They are mostly brown at this stage and it’s hard to tell the females from the males. In fact, without knowing how to sex peafowl by inspecting them, it’s impossible to tell them apart until they start developing their adult feathers.
When a peacock is approaching a year old, it will start developing some length on its tail feathers. But they will still be brown for the most part and you will not see any eye feathers.
Between 1 and 3 Years of Age
Peacocks between the age of 1 and 3 years look very different physically. Most peacocks are fully grown in size and weight when they’re approaching 24 months old.
They will start to develop their distinctive eye patterns on their feathers at some point between the age of 1 and 2 years. With the number of feathers increasing as they approach 3 years old.
Even by two years, however, their train of feathers will still be visibly underdeveloped. It depends on the bird as they all develop their feathers at a different pace, but as a general rule of thumb, a handful of eye feathers indicates they are around 2 years old.
3 Years and Older
Three years of age is the major turning point for a peacock. A peacock will typically have fully developed tail feathers by the time they are three years old.
Exactly how old they are after this point is where it gets difficult, or almost impossible for the most part.
Peacocks typically live around 15-20 years in captivity. Once they’re fully mature adults and older than three, it becomes almost impossible to tell how old they are just by looking at them.
For this reason, a lot of owners tag them with their age or keep written documentation. In the wild, however, it’s anyone’s guess.
Related - Here is a closer look at the life expectancy of a peacock in captivity.
Peacock Growth Stages
Another way to explain this that may help you get a better guess of how old a peacock is by looking at growth stages peacocks go through.
This is roughly outlined as follows:
- Hatching to 2 months - They are baby chicks being cared for by their mothers weighing less than 1 lb.
- 2 to 12 months - They are starting to develop some tail feathers but without eye patterns or colors and will weigh around 4-6 lbs.
- 12 to 24 months - By the time they are 24 months old a peak will start developing eye pattern feathers and may weigh as much as 9-13 lbs.
- 24 to 36 months - By the time they are 36 months old, peacocks will have reached sexual maturity and their full size. Peacocks typically weigh anywhere between 10-13 lbs.
Life Expectancy of Peacocks
In the wild, peacocks typically live around 20 years. Obviously, there are natural predators in the wild, so not all of them will get to the end of their natural lives.
Therefore, they do have a longer average life expectancy when kept in captivity. Most owners say their peafowl live around 15-20 years.
Although, while researching this I did find several accounts from owners that said they have peacocks living as long as 40 years!
As long as you’re able to provide quality nutrition and stress-free living conditions, there’s no reason why your backyard peacocks will not live a long and healthy life.
They’re not known for many illnesses or other hereditary health conditions. The most common type, the Indian Blue Peacock does prefer warmer climates, but they’re hardy birds.
Related - Here's how to tell the difference between male and female peafowl.
If you have the opportunity to see peachicks growing up, it’s a truly magical experience.
You’ll see them changing a great deal over the first few years of their lives as they mature and start to grow their tail feathers.
It’s a peacock’s tail feathers that are the best indication of how old they are. After they turn three years old and their eye feathers are fully developed, however, it’s not really possible to pinpoint how old they are.
Image credits - Photo by Andrew Ek on Unsplash