I do not consider myself an expert on this topic. In fact, I was thinking about not writing this article at all. I haven't been breeding peafowl for decades and to be honest I have had my issues with making sure my peafowl get the right food they need for all times of the year. I am ALWAYS changing their diet or mixing it up a bit and trying new kinds of feed. Therefore, I will let you know what I feed my peafowl and what I have learned about what they need and hopefully it will help you.
First some advise: Don't forget to ask other peafowl breeders what they feed their birds! It can give you some good insight especially if the breeder has been breeding peafowl for decades!
Currently there is not a specific feed formulated for peafowl. That means as a breeder you must formulate a mix that will give your peafowl all the good stuff they need. Variety is key not only for the health of your birds but also so that meal time will not be so boring for them. If you had to eat the same oatmeal all of your life, would you be happy? I wouldn't be so give your birds lots of things to try!
The way I look at it is you first need a base feed. Something you will always be giving them (or almost always be giving them). My base feed is normally black oil sunflower seeds. Peafowl LOVE sunflower seeds but they don't give them everything they need so I must give them other food too. Another feed I give them is pelleted or powdered chicken feed. Right now I am using Nutrena All Flock and Nutrena Feather Fixer (with might fighter). Sometimes I wet this type of food because the peafowl like it wet also. Also peafowl need protein so you can give them cat food or dog food a few times a week for protein. I use catfish chow for this. Then peafowl need plant material like grass cuttings, broccoli, celery, lettuce, etc. Finally it is good to give them treats. For a list of treats I give my peafowl check out this article: Treats for PeafowlMy Basic Feed List:
- Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
- Some kind of pellet or crumble feed for poultry
- Catfish Chow
- Treats like plant material, blueberries, etc.
Peahens need calcium to produce eggs, and if you take their eggs they especially need calcium to keep producing eggs for you.
During breeding season I give my peahens grit which consists of crushed oyster shells which gives them calcium. I mix this in their food or else they won't eat it. I also give them crushed up egg shells which they will eat readily even if you don't put it in their food. Finally I give them some layer feed.My Breeding Add-On feeds:
- Crushed oyster shell
- Crushed egg shells
- Layer Feed
Being in Florida, I don't have to change my feed much for the winter. I do however sometimes feed them corn in the wintertime. Evidently when they digest corn, it creates heat and helps them keep warm. You can mix corn into your regular feed for the birds when it is cold out. You can give them whole corn or cracked corn. I think mine might prefer cracked corn more, but maybe whole corn might make them warmer than cracked? I would also ask people in cold climates what they feed their peafowl in the wintertime.
My Winter Add-On feeds:
- Whole or cracked corn
Here I feed birds under a year old medicated chick starter. It is a crumble feed and I normally get it at 18 to 20% protein. Some people say too much protein can give them leg issues so I always stay around 20% just to be on the safe side. Peachicks will eat this food dry, but they really go crazy for this food when it is wet. If you do wet it, make sure that if it sours you remove it right away and replace it with fresh food. Also peachicks will benefit from numerous treats such as lettuce, cabbage, etc.
My Peachick Feed:
1. Medicated Chick Starter Crumble around 20% protein
I normally get my feed at Tractor Supply Co. and sometimes at locally owned feed stores. I go here and there for different feeds sometimes but luckily all of the feed stores are not too far from me.