Peacocks and peahens drink water. In the wild, they’ll find and drink just about any water source they can find. In captivity, all you have to do is provide fresh drinking water and they’ll drink all they need.
How Do Peacocks Drink?
Much like most birds, peafowl dip their beaks into the water and take a sip using their tongue and by basically ‘necking’ some water back.
They don’t ‘slurp’ and swallow in the same way we do. If you watch a peacock drinking, you’ll notice they dip their beaks into the water then usually pull their heads up to help the water go down.
If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. They have long necks so they’re not able to swallow water in one gulp as we are.
Here’s a short video showing you how peacocks water:
How Much Water Do Peacocks Need?
Adult peafowl will drink around 2-3 cups of water per day. As a general rule, however, you should always make sure there is more than enough fresh water available at all times.
It’s vital to their health that they’re able to drink fresh water when they need it. If you’re administering medication, then adding it to water is the easiest way to ensure they’re taking it.
A lot of owners add a little apple cider vinegar to their peafowl’s water. Apple cider vinegar aids digestion and respiratory health and is commonly used with other birds such as backyard chickens, turkeys, and such.
Can Peacocks Drink Milk?
It’s well known that peafowl are social scavengers and will take a nibble or sip on just about any food and drink left out.
If you’ve left milk out for a hedgehog or some other animal, or just happened to leave milk unattended to find that your peafowl has helped themselves - don’t panic.
Milk and other dairy products do not always go down well with birds as their digestive systems are not designed to digest the sugars, lactose, and other substances in milk.
However, if a peafowl has ingested a small amount of milk the worst that should happen is a mild stomach upset and maybe a bout of diarrhea.
Therefore it’s not a good idea to intentionally give peafowl milk, but at the same time, you shouldn’t need to panic as it’s not toxic or poisonous.
Related - A closer look at peafowl behaviors; sleeping habits and roaming.
Can Peacocks Drink Alcohol?
This should be fairly obvious, but you shouldn’t intentionally give peacocks any kind of alcohol.
I couldn’t find any conclusive evidence as to whether or not alcohol is toxic or poisonous - as hopefully there haven’t been any incidents of drunk peacocks being harmed.
We do know that alcohol is dangerous to birds in general though. It can depress a bird’s organs and is potentially fatal.
This is more commonly observed with smaller birds swooping down and taking a sip of something they shouldn’t. While peafowl are a lot larger and more resilient, I think it’s safe to say that it still presents a danger.
What Do Peacocks Need to Survive
Whether fending for themselves in the wild or being kept in captivity, peacocks need food and water to survive. As well as shelter and protection from predators, of course.
Peafowl are omnivores, this means they will eat living things, such as bugs and little critters, as well as vegetation.
In the wild, depending on what’s available peafowl will eat just about anything they find. This typically consists of grains, berries, fruits, small mammals, insects, and most things that move and are small enough to be eaten.
In captivity, the more space you can give peafowl to explore and forage for scraps the better. It’s normal to provide what’s known as game feed though.
Game feed is designed to provide all the good nutrition peafowl needs to maintain optimal health. It’s high in protein, usually comes in a pellet form, and you can simply leave some out for them to graze on.
You do need to switch up the exact type of game feed you give them depending on their age, the time of year, and whether or not the peahens are laying.
It’s pretty simple though. Any good game feed supplier will be able to advise you on exactly which feed you need if you explain what type of peafowl you have.
Related - A look at the life expectancy of a peafowl.
There you have it, the short answer is that peafowl (which is the collective name for males which are called peacocks, and females called peahens) require fresh drinking water.
It’s best not to try and get fancy and offer them other things to drink, and peafowl would not drink anything other than water in the wild and it can upset their digestive system.
Image credits - Photo by Ricardo Porto on Unsplash