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Pavo Muticus (Green) Peafowl

Craig Hopkins

I am providing you with the following information so that you understand the special needs of the green peafowl that you are considering.  Green peafowl are one of two ďwildĒ colors of peafowl.  The other one being the Pavo cristatus or better know as the India blue peafowl.  Their care requirements are as different as their physical appearance.

There are three sub-species of green peafowl.  They are Muticus-Muticus (Java), Muticus-Imperator (Indo-Chinese), and Muticus-Spicifer (Burmese).  All of these sub-species have subtle differences in coloration and confirmation.

When you receive your green peafowl, put them in a small building, box stall, chicken house, or utility shed.  It is a good idea to isolate the birds, if possible, for a couple of weeks to make sure that they are adjusted to their new environment before introducing them to other birds.  Sometimes the birds that you already have will pick on new birds.  You donít want your new birds to have to compete for food and water while they are settling into their new home.  Green peafowl are prone to feather picking so donít over crowd them.  If several green peafowl are to be kept in a small area, anti-peck devices may have to be used.  Green peafowl are more aggressive by nature so they may pick on your other peafowl if they are in a small area as well.

If the building or stall has glass windows, cover the windows with wire or Plexiglas so that the glass wonít get broke by the birds flying into it.  Green peafowl are much more excitable and nervous by nature than the common peafowl.  I play a radio on low volume with these birds since they are hatched so they will be accustomed to strange noises.  When entering their pen, talk to them or whistle softly as you enter the pen so that they know that you are entering their pen.  Donít make sudden moves or loud noises while in the pen.  Make sure that the door or gate to their pen will close by itself behind you.  They are strong flyers and can fly out an open door before you know it.

In areas where wintertime temperatures plunge well below freezing, additional heat should be provided to keep the building between 30 and 40 degrees F.  A heated roost can also be used to keep their feet and legs from experiencing frostbite.  Photos of the heated roost and how to build one can be found in the Peafowl Articles section of the web site.  The heated roost consists of an electric heat tape attached to a 2 x 4 and covered with short, pile carpeting.

Green peafowl of ages 6 months and older can be fed the same diet as the common peafowl breeds.  Avoid high protein feeds such as turkey feeds.  Peafowl are the largest member of the pheasant family and they should be fed game bird or pheasant diets rather than chicken or turkey diets.  Green peachicks under 6 months of age should be fed a low protein diet to prevent slipped leg tendons.  I use a low protein medicated, chicken starter for all of my peachicks.

As the green peafowl reach breeding age, the males can become very aggressive towards one another, the hens, and their owner.  It is a good idea to have plenty of roosts in their pen and places for the peahens to hide from an aggressive male.  I would not keep 2 breeding age males together in the same pen during breeding season.  Protect yourself when entering a pen with a breeding age male because many males show no fear of humans and will come and challenge you at the gate.  Be very careful if a breeding age male is roosting above your head.  They like to fly down on top of you and attack.

If you need to catch your green peafowl for any reason, I recommend that you do it after dark.  They are much easier to catch and handle when it is dark.  They wonít try to fly through windows or to the top of their pen once it is dark.  Many green peafowl have been killed during handling because they flew through a window or flew up and broke their neck when they hit the ceiling.  Use a strong fishing net to catch the birds.  Never grab them by the wings or by just one leg.  Catch them in the fishing net and grab both legs at the same time and hold the legs together above the knee joint.  Allow the bird to kick its legs.  Donít try to hold the legs just above the feet because the knee joint can be damaged or a leg can be broken.  Proper handling of green peafowl will prevent injuries to the birds and to you and it will lessen the chances that the birds will go in to shock.

Green peafowl are one of the rarest and most beautiful peafowl available and well worth the extra work that it takes to raise them.  They are the closest relative to a truly wild peacock and they take some special care to raise them.  I hope that you enjoy your green peafowl.

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