Raising Peafowl in a Northern Climate – February/March 2019 Photo Essay

Raising Peafowl in a Northern Climate – February/March 2019 Photo Essay

By Larry Fiske
Chapel View Farm and Stable, West Bend, Wisconsin

Photos by Alex DeFleron and Reinhold Bauer

For many years after, I only raised traditional blue and white peafowl, and they did extremely well. They layed many eggs and brought their babies onto the lawn for all to see. These “common colors” felt safe because they didn’t need special treatment as I had heard the green peafowl required. I knew my limitations and kept the idea on the back burner. 

After 35 years, my desire to raise the green variety became a reality. We collected breeding stock from all over the country and work toward producing green peafowl with the pure-bred phenotype but with resilience and hardiness of their blue and white cousins. Wisconsin has weeks of sub-freezing temperatures, and snow and ice are not conducive to birds that like tropical temperatures. I wanted the look, but not necessarily the pedigree.  

With the addition of the Spalding peafowl — a cross between a pure green (Pavo muticusand India blue (Pavo cristatus) — I looked for birds with a phenotype that better matched the pure greens: more length of leg, length of neck, straight, erect elongated crests that differ greatly from the fan-shaped crest of the India blue. I also paid attention to feathers and colors. Pure green peafowl have scallop-shaped neck and body feathers; they look like medallions glistening in the sun. The India blue neck and body feathers are softer and suppler and blend beautifully, giving a single-textured appearance. Keeping these traits in mind, we focused on breeding more hardiness into the green stock to withstand colder temperatures. The percentage of “blue blood” in the green stock must be done carefully to maintain the pure green peacock phenotype. Pedigree, parents, and other ancestors are important in knowing what ingredients you have moving forward. Our husbandry practices tell us we are moving in the right direction. 

Our birds have secure housing with heated perches, radiant heat shields, and inches of fresh shavings on the floor. Keeping them dry is essential. Wide perches allow feet to flatten out so their body heat covers their extremities. On good weather days, we open the doors and allow them into their aviaries.   

High protein is key, and we offer the best game bird pellet available along with black oil sunflower seeds, Calf Manna, and a mixture of high protein dog kibble/cat food/floating fish food. Occasionally, they receive scratch feed or crack corn in their outside aviary. We supplement with fresh greens, tumeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to help circulatory systems as well as the birds’ feather-color production and skin pigmentation.  

We have decided to bring in 100% pure green peafowl to start another line and will keep these birds separate with DNA profiles and microchips so there is never a question on which are the import birds and which are project greens.  

This spring we will have six different groups in our breeding program. In 2018, we hatched nearly 30 chicks from two pairs of adults. This spring we will be artificially incubating and encouraging the girls to set their own eggs as well. 

We love photos and videos of the birds we have collected from across the country and moving forward into breeding season it should be quite the “green show.” With all of these boys displaying for their girls they keep us and the many visitors on the farm continually entertained! 

Peacock House
Waverley Mansion
Peacock
Brilliant colored high-percent green peahen.
Peacock
Two-year-old green hen coloring up well.
Peacock
Everybody enjoying their new perches.
Peacock
A spectacular display of this high-percent green peacock.
Peafowl
Two-month-old pure Indo-Chinese green peafowl.
Peacock
A sneak peek of what spring will offer.
Peacock
Lovely high-percent green Spaulding adult peacock.
Peacock
Impressive crest of this pure Indo-Chinese peacock.
Peacock
Very tame Bernese Green adult peacock.
Peacock
His elongated crest makes for a spectacular look.
Peacock
Young 15-month-old, high-percent green Spaulding peacock starting his lovely yellow face color.
Peacocks
Excited to show off in his new barn room!
Peacocks
Spectacular young Spaulding peacocks. Super leggy and tall.
Peacock
Catching up on all the latest barnyard gossip.
Peacock
Breathtaking pure Imperator hen with her chick.

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