Blue Peafowl – Breed Profile & Facts
Many birds have spectacular plumage, but few can match the exquisiteness of the Blue Peafowl. Bursting with various shades of blue and green, the train of the male Blue Peafowl is somewhat of an evolutionary puzzle.
Whether a fan of the elaborately decorated plumage of the peafowl or not, one thing is certain – these birds are an immediate showstopper.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to the most interesting things about the Blue Peafowl, as well as its care requirements.
What is a Blue Peafowl?
Native to the Indian subcontinent, the Blue Peafowl is a mid-sized bird that’s brightly colored and features a long train of upper-tail covert feathers that are adorned with colorful spots.
The males of the species are called peacocks, females are peahens. While peacocks are endowed with the train of stiff feathers that they can raise into a fan during courtship, peahens lack not only the train but also the colors of the male peafowl.
Compared to the metallic blue plumage of the peacock, the peahen is brownish with only the lower neck featuring a metallic green color, while the breast feathers are dark brown glossed with green.
Both sexes have a fan-shaped crest on their heads. But while the female’s crest is chestnut edged with green, the male’s crest has bluish-green tips.
The size of the peacock’s train is nothing short of impressive – 150 cm (60 inches). You’d think that with a train like that, the peacock is rendered flightless. As I will explain later in the article, peacocks can still fly, just not for very long, nor very far.
Blue Peafowl Characteristics
Next, let’s see some of the characteristics of peafowls related to size, lifespan, temperament, and other such aspects.
– Size & Weight
The size of a peacock from bill to end of train can be as much as 77 to 89 inches (195 to 225 cm). The females of the species are only 37 in (95 cm). They also weigh less.
While the male Blue Peafowl weighs around 8.8–13.2 lb (4–6 kg), the female weighs only 6.1–8.8 lb (2.75–4 kg).
With these measurements, it’s understandable that Blue Peafowl are not the best flyers out there. But as you’ll see, they’re also not completely bad at it either.
Peafowl have a docile personality and get along with poultry and other birds. As long as predation isn’t an issue, Peafowl rarely make escapes from their home territory and can be kept in either open or closed-topped pens.
They never attack humans and are on friendly terms with other animals kept on a farm.
These birds spend their time foraging the ground in small groups of usually 3 to 5 hens and a peacock. Following the breeding season, groups are mostly made up of only the females and their young.
These birds produce loud calls, especially in the breeding season. They also call when alarmed. They even have six types of alarm calls, identified in both of the sexes.
Peafowl are fond of bathing in the dust and spending time in the open, usually in the early morning. During hot days, they tend to stay under cover.
Peafowl are hardy birds with very little health issues. In the wild, they can live for up to 20-25 years.
Because they’re so resistant to diseases, they’re more likely to fall prey to predators than to succumb to diseases. In captivity, peafowl can live for much longer, even reaching the ripe old age of 40.
Compared to other types of poultry, peafowl have an impressively long lifespan. Compared to other large-bodied birds, they can be matched in life expectancy only by flamingos.
– Egg Production
Peafowls reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 or 3 years. Peacocks use their colorful trains to get the peahens attention during courtship. They raise the train into an arched fan, all the while prancing and strutting to get the female’s attention.
After mating, the peahen will lay a clutch of 3 to 6 eggs. Peahens can lay around 2 clutches a year. The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground lined with leaves and other soft materials.
The female will incubate the eggs. The incubation period lasts around 28 days.
The egg production is lower in the first 2-3 years, then increases in the fourth year, when the peahen can lay as many as 9 eggs per year.
Therefore, given the relatively small number of eggs that peahens lay per year, these birds are not useful for egg production.
– Meat Production
Present in history both as a decorative exotic pet and as a meat bird, its use for meat production has quickly fallen out of grace in favor of the fleshier poultry such as turkey.
Today, in most parts of the world, the blue peafowl is kept simply as a decorative bird and allowed to die of old age.
In other parts of the world like China, peafowl is still bred for meat production. Both the meat and the eggs of the peafowl are safe to eat. The meat of the peafowl tastes similar to turkey meat.
Blue Peafowl Care
It is said that caring for peafowls is a breeze compared to caring for other types of poultry or domesticated birds.
One of the reasons why it’s easy to care for them is because they’re naturally disease resistant. Unlike other commercially raised or domesticated birds, peafowl have not been overbred or inbred.
Let’s see what the feeding and housing requirements of these birds are, and which are some of the health problems you may encounter while caring for the Blue Peafowl.
– Feeding & Nutrition
Peafowl are omnivorous and eat a variety of foods including seeds, insects, worms, fruits, small reptiles and small snakes. They also feed on tree and flower buds, petals, grass and bamboo shoots.
In captivity, peafowl are raised on a diet of gamebirds or pheasant mixed grains as well as game bird crumbles. They’re also offered a variety of greens.
Much like other types of poultry, peafowl can be allowed to roam freely on the farm. They’re even more docile than other domesticated birds and can be given a higher degree of freedom since they rarely stray from their grounds.
It’s important to provide adequate housing for these birds, especially in areas with snow or sub-zero temperatures.
They need protection from snow, wind, excessive heat and rain. They also need a coop or hutch that is insulated and warm during the winter.
During the summer, they need cover against strong sunshine to prevent heat exhaustion.
– Health Problems
With adequate care and nutrition, peafowl rarely get sick. This is a hardy bird species that hasn’t been overbred.
Still, some diseases can still cause problems, especially respiratory diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. Avian pox is a concern in the case of peafowl, since the vaccine is not routinely used in peafowls.
Peafowl are also susceptible to blackhead disease, which is caused by an amoeba-like parasite that lives in the caeca of peafowl.
It’s important to test the stool of peafowl for parasites and keep their enclosures clean at all times.
How Much do Blue Peafowls Cost?
The cost of a Blue Peafowl can vary depending on the age, size, gender and physical features of the bird.
The price is usually higher once the Peafowl has already reached sexual maturity, or if you’re looking to buy a male and female pair.
Their price can range from a couple of hundred a piece for sexually mature specimens to as much as thousand for a pair.
Are Blue Peafowls Good for Beginners?
If domesticated birds are something you’re fond of, Blue Peafowls are a good choice for a pet, even if you’re not well versed in caring for these birds.
The good news is that these are not high-maintenance birds and can be allowed to roam freely in an enclosure, farm or even in a spacious backyard. So, yes, Blue Peafowl are good for beginners.
Although they can take flight, they rarely do so, even when disturbed. In fact, even in animal parks and zoos, Peafowl have freedom of movement at will since they rarely stray away from their territory.
Are Blue Peafowls Hardy?
Just as I’ve mentioned before, Blue Peafowl are generally resistant to diseases and hardy birds that won’t usually get sick if their nutritional needs are met and they’re kept in a clean location.
It’s important to keep their environment clean to prevent the proliferation of diseases, viruses, and parasites.
Peafowl do best when allowed to forage and walk the grounds freely.
Can Blue Peafowl Fly?
Yes, while they don’t do so often, Blue peafowls can take flight. When disturbed, they try to escape first by running. To take flight, they need to build momentum by running and flapping their wings.
Once they take flight, they can fly at a height of around 8 feet but fly for only 300 feet or so. They usually seek out a tall tree to roost.
Peafowls are capable of reaching a flight speed of 10 mph (16 km/h). Their running speed is also 10 mph.
Tips on Keeping Blue Peafowls
They may not be high-maintenance birds, but there are some basic requirements you must meet so that your Blue Peafowls stay healthy and thriving:
- Make sure they have constant access to clean and fresh water.
- Feed your peafowls complete commercial diets that are suitable for game birds or pheasants. Nutritional deficiencies can make these birds susceptible to diseases.
- Make sure they have an enclosure or cover where they can stay dry and warm. Wet or muddy conditions can cause diseases and feather breakage.
- In winter, ensure protection against cold and frost.
- In summer, protect against heat exposure as they’re susceptible to heat exhaustion.
- Offer them protection against predators as they’re not very good at escaping them.
- Allowing them to forage for grasses, berries, worms, and small lizards also helps with their well-being and nutrition.
With spectacular plumage and easy-going nature, the Blue Peafowl can be kept as a pet bird or a decorative bird. Their care requirements are easy to meet, even for beginners.
Although they have a high disease resistance, they still need disease monitoring and disease prevention measures including good nutrition and clean environments.