Do Peacocks Make Good Pets? – Care Guide

Translated by Nick R

Peacocks have become more common than we think, especially for those people who live in rural areas and have plenty of space to let them roam free as they would do with poultry. Stay tuned to find out more about how to care for peacocks.

Why have a peacock as a pet? 

In addition to the striking feathers of the male, some other reasons why you should adopt a peacock are:

  • They are quite independent and solitary, especially males.
  • They can coexist with other poultry species such as chickens or turkeys.
  • Since they are omnivores, most of the time they will be foraging for food by grazing on insects, grass, fruits, and seeds.

Why not have a peacock as a pet? 

You should know that owning a peacock is a challenge given their specific care requirements, and some of their behaviors can get you into trouble. Pay attention to this before you decide to get one:

  1. They are not affectionate unless you have them from chicks: your peacock will most likely ignore any display of affection.
  2. They can be noisy (in mating season) and rowdy, so it is recommended that those who want to adopt one have ample space for the turkey not to enter other people’s property and cause havoc or bother neighbors.
  3. They are vulnerable to predators such as coyotes, wolves, dogs or cats, which is the most common cause of their loss.  
  4. They are not, for any reason, birds to keep at home. Although there may be reasons to keep a peacock at home such as adverse weather conditions, it is best to always keep them outdoors.

Peacock Features 

There are 3 species of peacocks, the most common as a pet or ornamental bird is the blue or Indian peacock (Pavo Cristatus), the others are the green or Java peacock (Pavo muticus) and the Congo peacock (Afropavo congensis). So from the 3 species mentioned above, you will know the characteristics and behaviors of the blue peacock, read on.

Scientific namePavo cristatus
Common NamePeacock
Place of OriginIndia and Sri Lanka
HabitatDeciduous forests, savannahs or grasslands, rainforests, and mountains in tropical and terrestrial areas.
Size1.50 m
Weight2.7 to 6 kg
Average sexual or reproductive age2 to 3 years for males and 3 years for females
Maximum life expectancy in captivity23.2 years

The color of the peacock 

Male peacocks are mostly bright blue with some segments of golden feathers on the sides of their wings and chest. On their back, before reaching the tail, the feathers are scaly.

The feathers of the tail are of several colors as brown, black, gold and green, including the ocelli which have a combination of these iridescent colors that helps the males in courtship when posing in different light angles.

The plumage of the females is a combination of gray, brown, and cream.

Variations of color 

Some turkeys may be white due to a genetic variation called leukemia, but unlike albinos, white turkeys are able to reproduce. Males have visible tail ocelli and brown eye color.

There are also other variations in which some of the turkey’s feathers are white due to a genetic fault, as it can happen that instead, they are dark colored with green and blue segments called black-winged peacocks.

Peacock size 

The peacock is considered one of the largest flying birds. It may have a wingspan of 1.4 and 1.6 meters and a height of 1.5 meters.

Sexual dimorphism 

As I mentioned before, male peacocks outstand the most because of their tails, which have the function of courting females by spreading their tails like a fan.

Male and female peacocks

Did you know that… 

Do peacocks exhibiting more ocelli have a greater chance of reproducing? This is because those with few ocelli and less tail showing probably spend their energy fighting infection due to the presence of heterophile in their bodies.


The legs of peacocks are grayish brown and spurred, meaning they have spurs (bone formation covered with an extra horny layer that males have on the back of the legs) of about 2.5 cm, which help males in the mating season to fight against other competitors.

In addition to this, they are long and strong so they can sneak away from predators and hide in bushes.


Being an omnivorous bird, the beak of the peacock has no particular shape for eating a specific type of food but rather is strong, pointed, and slightly curved, which means that it adapts to the circumstances.

Behavior of peacocks 

Peacocks, in spite of their long history of human breeding, retain a slightly wilder than domestic behavior, unlike other species of the same family, such as chickens and turkeys.

Wild behavior 

  • In some cases, peacocks may live in flocks of the same sex; females may live in groups of 2 or 3.
  • They are diurnal, and foraging is one of their most common activities (except during mating season) until nightfall when they will seek shelter in high places such as tree branches until they are high enough to be protected from predators.
  • Peacocks need a large amount of water each day.
  • To clean their feathers of parasites and insects, they take baths in soil or sand, however, grooming is a constant, especially in males to maintain their mating success.

Male peacocks are territorial and aggressive with other males during mating season. One way they intimidate others is by spreading their tails, but in cases of physical fights, they will do so by flapping their wings and attacking with their spurs.

Did you know..?

Some people use to leave peacocks in their chicken or turkey coops to intimidate potential predators.

Peacock Mating 

The sexual maturity of peacocks is much longer in contrast to other species, 2 to 3 years in males and 2 years in females.

During the mating season, a male can mate with up to 6 females, and a female can lay between 3 to 5 eggs, although there can be a maximum of 12 eggs.

The incubation period lasts 28 days and is done in nests built with branches and dry leaves under bushes.

The chicks hatch with feathers and good motor skills, which enable them to fly within a week of hatching and remain in their mother’s care for another few weeks. However, peacocks will learn to eat and drink only through imitation.

Ideal space for your peacock 

The habitat for peacocks should be large enough for the bird to forage on the ground, which should preferably be sandy or grassy, although you can also let it live in a pen where it can roam free and spread its wings and tail from time to time.

Peacock outdoors

Outdoor breeding 

This is the most recommended way, although it has disadvantages such as exposing your peacock to predators, but it won’t be a problem if you find a way to keep it safe. To take care of a peacock outdoors it is necessary to:

  • An area of 50 square meters.
  • That the land is grassy so that it can look for food.
  • It must have trees where you can place wooden shelves for the bird to shelter in case of danger or to sleep at night.
  • Access to a water source, such as a drinking fountain.
  • If you want your bird to return, you can leave food in feeders at night.


The function of the enclosures is to keep the peacock safe if it is exposed to predators, although it is most common for owners to place it inside other enclosures to help protect other birds inside, as it is capable of taking on an intimidating appearance.

But in case you decide to keep one or several in one, the size of the pen should be 2.5 meters long or even more including the width so that the bird can stretch its feathers and wings.


Always have a place where your peacock can roost and feel safe at night. An alternative to tree shelves is a shelter made of plywood to better conserve heat, the shelter should be about 30 to 60 square meters.

A suitable environment for peacocks 

Peacocks, coming from temperate and tropical climates, at altitudes between 900 and 1200 m.a.s.l., will prefer warm environments over cold ones, although they are quite flexible in adapting to the conditions in which they find themselves since they have lived in them since they were chicks.

How to care for a peacock? 

Grooming of peacocks 

Peacocks do not usually bathe in water unless they accidentally get wet, such as drinking water in a pond. If this happens, they will most likely dry off in the open air before doing any other activity.

Sand baths 

The best thing for a peacock is sand or earth baths since it allows them to deal with any parasites and insects that enter their plumage, which will complement with constant preening especially for males to keep their wings healthy, shiny, and strong.

For the sand bath, it is only necessary to leave inside the pen a wide container with special sand for hens or diatomaceous earth, this can be done weekly depending on the cleanliness of the container and the amount of sand that remains.

Habitat Cleaning 

Your peacock’s shelter must be cleaned monthly, although this may vary depending on its condition.

You must also clean the pen on a monthly basis, however, here you must take into account the number of birds you have and the dirt they accumulate.

Drinkers and feeders 

Remember that a great part of your birds’ health depends on clean feeders and drinkers, which should be on one side or in the middle of the pen depending on the available space.

Cleaning them daily or weekly is essential, check any trace of excrement, humidity or food to remove them and avoid virus or parasites proliferation.

Feeding peacocks 

As mentioned, peacocks are omnivores and have a very diverse diet, which is complemented by their daily grazing. Remember that food such as vegetables and fruits must be fresh and removed after your peacock has had enough and about 5 hours have passed.


Peacocks require a lot of protein that they can get from insects, small reptiles and plants they find on the ground; however, you can supply this with turkey or pheasant feed, which should be a third of their diet.

Another way to guarantee protein in your peacock’s diet is with dog or cat food, although you must be cautious with the amount of food and the percentage of protein it requires so I recommend consulting your veterinarian before proceeding with this method.


Another food group that your peacock needs to consume is nuts, sunflower seeds, and some other bird grains. These are sold in pet stores usually in presentations as some kind of special mix for poultry. The portion should be two handfuls per day.

Other foods 

As for other types of food, complement your peacock’s diet with other types of food, which it will enjoy without distinction, these are:

  • Green vegetables such as green cabbage and kale.
  • Carrot
  • Tomato
  • Rice.
  • Barley.
  • Corn.

Remember to always have plenty of water for consumption and easy access, either in drinking troughs or water fountains.

Basic health care for peacocks 

Peacocks seem to be invincible birds thanks to their independent habits, yet they are sensitive to parasite attacks so checking them will be one of your most important tasks.

However, as good news, unlike other birds of the same family, they don’t need vaccines, or at least there is no vaccine adapted to peacocks, but this is also a disadvantage since they are exposed to Marek’s disease.

Common diseases in peacocks 

WormsWorms are usually picked up through the grazing they do, symptoms include:
∙ Weight loss.
∙ Fluffy feathers.
∙ Lethargy.
The diagnosis is made by a specialized veterinarian, who can prescribe dewormers to include in the water or give it directly to the bird for a one-day treatment.
CoccidiosisIt is a disease caused by a common protozoan in young birds, since the symptoms occur between weeks 3 and 12 of life, the related symptoms are:
∙ Weight loss.
∙ Lethargy.
∙ Fluffy feathers.
∙ Loss of pigmentation in feathers.
∙ Diarrhea with mucus, watery or bloody.
The treatment is preventive, this means that in the weeks in which the bird is more susceptible, it should be given the medication called coccidiostats.  
NewCastle (Respiratory disease)The duration of the virus is 14 days and can be fatal to your peacock, symptoms are:
∙ Mucusy, watery or bloody diarrhea.
∙ Wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath.
∙ Tremors.
∙ Paralysis of legs and/or wings.
There is no effective medical treatment for this disease, so it must be prevented and controlled at the moment of observing the first symptom.  


Peacocks need to be dewormed once every couple of months. This can be done with diatomaceous earth combined with feed or with a deworming herb.

Where to adopt a peacock?

Peacocks, despite their popularity, can be somewhat difficult to find and would be expensive due to their rarity. In any case, you are most likely to hear of one in rural areas where someone keeps poultry or in places that specialize in selling ornamental birds.