Penned v Free Roaming
Which is best?
The diet of penned Peafowl can be controlled with exacting measure, you can control & regulate their dietary needs for all seasons. This is important prior to and during the breeding season for both sexes, vitamin & Calcium levels drop during the season and weight loss is also a factor.
Diet: Free Roaming
You can and should feed you Free Roaming Peafowl twice a day, however you cannot control what they eat in-between, they are at risk of consuming toxic plants and Toxic Insects, Vermin control baits, pesticides, ect… but they do have access to wild grasses, seeds, Insects ect..
In securer pens Peafowl have little issues or concerns with Predators, in areas where foxes or wild dogs are a problem a secure base is imperative (wire 3 feet out from the bottom will resolve this)
Security: Free Roaming
Unless your Property is fully fenced with small wire (i.e. chicken ect...) 6 foot high then you can do little to stop a predator attack, too often we hear of a Domestic Dog or Fox attack with a devastating result. Peafowl will take to the trees when threatened and they can and will go high into the canopy (30-40ft) for protection which is not possible in a pen but some are simply not fast enough and sarcoma.
With penned Peafowl you can control & select the pairing of your Peafowl, you can also regulate what the hen sits on (i.e. white’s eggs under a Blue hen) the number of eggs each Peahen sits on and in turn the number hatched. You can also control the chicks once hatched and have a close contact with them to form a bond with humans.
Breeding: Free Roaming
Free Roaming Peafowl breeding generally cannot be controlled as they usually hide the nest, when the chicks hatch the hen will immediately move the chicks from the nest area and may move them great distances with losses along the way. The chick are very vulnerable to predators including Birds of Pray, Crows, Dogs, Cats, Snakes ect.. In addition many hens will run the chicks to death as they may travel great distances and fly at times leaving the chicks behind trying to catch up, many don't. They do however have access to native grasses, seeds, Insects, Fruit ect.. which may be of benefit in the chicks growth. Free Roaming chicks that survive generally lean at an early age to avoid Predators including Humans this means they will generally be quite wild and as they grow this will be obvious. Some eventually grow to accept Humans and some do not but it will take time and patience. It should be noted from the survey that those surveyed on small acreage stated some of there Peahens sat and raised the chicks on a neighbors property (in one case 2 km away) to around 2 months then approx 60% returned with one or two chicks.
General Health: Penned
With penned Peafowl you can at any and all times view the birds at close range this allows you to observe any problems or injuries they may have or develop, this also allows you to treat one bird or all with little or no fuss in a controlled environment.
General Health: Free Roaming
It is difficult to control the health of Free Roaming Peafowl, and equally difficult to treat them as many treatments are water based or direct to the bird (in serious cases) and if you don not feed you Peafowl in a pen then this is almost impossible. Free Roaming Peafowl are more susceptible to disease and worms, so you must have a treatment plan in place.
The above Article was compiled from a short answer survey and the observations and opinions of 5 breeders in Australia (3 very experienced 2 limited experience) & 3 breeders in the United States (all experienced). The purpose of this Article is to arm you with helpful information so that you may decide on what’s best for you and your birds.
So which is Best? we will let you decide!
Article Compiled August to December 2005