The more time you spend with them, feeding them treats (eg biscuite, cake, lettuce , chips etc.) the more tame they become and will eat from your hand .
They like nuts, but not the salted ones, we use them only as a treat and they must not have too many. The natural food that we give them is layers pellets, we sometimes mix it with wheat, or cut maize, turkey or pheasant pellets.
The layers pellets contain medication which prevents diseases mentioned later We get these foods from Countrywide foods.
They will have their full tail when they are 3 years old , the first year they will no tail as such, but they will display it at just few weeks old especially when they are contented and they show off to their "mother " and other birds, when you see this, it's a good sign .
In their second year the cocks grow a short tail, half the full size , next year they will have the full tail, in the fourth and later years it will grow longer still.
They lose their tail every year about the beginning of August, it appears to irritate them and they pull it out one by one , so that in over a week you will see their feathers strewn about. It is almost fully grown again by Christmas.
They can live to be 40 years old.
Peahens like to sit on their own eggs but they like to choose their own spot , the most awkward of places and where the fox could get them where they are nesting, it could be in a sheltered area, or on a roof, and we have built a little "house" around them FOXPROOF.
They come out for their food and water WHEN THEY WANT IT, so make sure their spot is not harassed by the cock and other hens, so they are not disturbed.
They lay up to 15 eggs a year , every other day, towards dark.
We put them in at night so that they do not lay out, they roam about during the day.
To get them in easily at night, we keep their nuts in a jar and shake it, and they know that the nuts are on their way and they come down from the trees, and out of hiding and usually they are inside by the time we get there!
The eggs take 28 days to incubate. They require ventilation, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT to keep them healthy, we have found that our healthiest birds are in the aviary.
They can pick up diseases, but this is usually where there are a lot of poultry on the same grass, most people who keep just 3-4 birds never have a problem.
They can pick up worms from the grass, one of them is the gapeworm, symptoms of this, the animal gapes for air, the worm would be in their throat or lung, hence they are gaping for air, If they get this, the treatment is FLUENVET, obtainable from Countrywide or your Vet, about a teaspoonful is mixed with their food will treat 3 kilos of food, mix it in with sufficient food to last 5 days.
Treat them twice a year, because of egg laying, best in February and October, they can also pick up an infection called "blackhead" which turkeys get, but due to the additive in their food blackhead has not been seen for many years.
They are also prone to the common cold, and should require antibiotics which you should get from your Vet. main cause for this is usually down to not enough ventilation in their house.
Peafowl love to perch and if not shut inside before dark, they will perch in the trees, so we have to be up before dawn before they get down, as the fox will be watching., so best to shut them inside before dark.
To stop them getting up into the trees we CLIP ONE WING to put them off balance.
We leave a permanent container of food in their house, so theY HAVE FOOD AD LIB.
LOOK OUT FOR MITES, it can make the bird run down and weak, we use a spray, Johnson, for pigeons, gets rid of lice and mites, and dust them before they start to lay.
If they are kept in a pen be careful that they don't pick up any food from the soil as this can cause coccydiosis, especially if they are kept along with chickens,
Never put food down on the soil, always put it in a clean container.
The same applies to their water, which should be changed daily, drinking water that is not clean can cause enteritis, and if they get that, they are unlikely to get over it. we have seen them drinking water that has been collected from a drainpipe and that is almost always fatal