When I was a child, our farm was always the weird farm because we had dozens of peacocks running rampant about the landscape. Our house is still like that today. Owning peafowl is like bringing a little bit of the zoo home with you. They are exotic birds, but live rather well in temperate climates.
There is not any particular use for peacocks. Their eggs are gamey and are not great for eating in comparison to chicken eggs, though they are larger. The meat of peafowl tastes like chicken, but a lot of people find raising peafowl for meat somehow wrong.
The most profitable thing you can get from a peafowl is either selling the bird itself or selling the male tail feathers. The peacock (the male) is known for it's long colorful tail that fans out and looks a lot like eyes staring at you. They use this for mating with females. The females are the polar opposite of males in comparision to flash. The peahen is so drab because she uses that to keep her nest hidden in the wild.
At the end of mating season, which is usually late summer, the peacock will shed it's long and lustrous tail. It is then that a peafowl owner gets the great joy in walking around their farm picking up feathers.
These feathers sell like hotcakes at flea markets and swap meets. People who don't own peacocks literally cannot get enough of them as they make great center piece additions and conversation starters. I have owned peafowl my whole life, so I have never really saw the thrill.
Buying Peafowl: Chicks or Adults
When you first start out raising peafowl of course the first step is getting your first birds. If you are just going to keep your peafowl locked up, it would probably be best to buy adult birds. However, I will let you in on a little tip, peafowl hate being locked up.
Peafowl love to roam around and eating bugs and rocks (the rocks help their gizzards grind up food), plus the males have those long tails and they need some space for them. It makes me sad when I see peacocks kept in tiny cages.
If you are going to let your peafowl roam about, it is best to get them as chicks. If you have children, peachicks will be one of the sweetest pets you can get them. Peachicks love to cuddle up to a warm body and take a nap.
The biggest advantage to raising peafowl for chicks is that they will be people trained. If you hold them enough, they will follow you around for life and eat out of your hand. Aside from being people trained, you can also train peachicks to know where home is. If your peachick has grown up in a barn where there is free food, they will always return there. We let ours roam during the day and they return to their coop at night.
You do have to make sure their coop is safe from predators too. For example, recently some dogs from the neighborhood broke into the coop where we keep chickens and peafowl and killed the chickens, it scared our peafowl so much they refused to go inside for a few weeks.
If you are raising peafowl for breeding, it is best to get one or two males and about four females. The females can breed as young as one year old, but the males need to be at least three years old for maximum fertility. Their tails also fully develop around three years as well, this will help with their mating process.If you are raising from chicks, you may end up waiting awhile.
Food, Shelter, and Predators
Like chickens, peafowl are relatively easy to feed. All they need is a little scratch, which you can find at any feed store. Chicken scratch is essentially just a whole bunch of grains that are ground up. It's preferred that you buy a mash (chicken feed that is ground into small bits) if you have young peafowl so that they can eat it as well. If you want to give your adult birds a nice treat, throw some corn kernels in as well.
Like I said before, it is best to give your peafowl a safe place to sleep. Make sure this coop has roosts for them as well. Unlike chickens, peafowl prefer to sleep up high. So you can take a few tree branches and hammer them up in the rafters for your coop for them. If they do not have roosts in their coops, peafowl are more likely to sleep in the trees at night to avoid predators.
Because of their size, peafowl are mostly immune from predators from the air, though the peachicks are still viable targets for predator birds like hawks. However, they are prime targets for predators like wolves, coyotes, and the occasional brave fox. Especially the males, because their long tails make them easier to catch.
Similarly to chickens, peafowl cannot fly like regular birds. However, they soar quite well. If your peafowl have unclipped wings, you will easily see them on the roof of your house. Even with clipped wings, peafowl can still jump as high as four feet without the help of their wings.
You do not have to worry about them flying away, but they do tend to wonder sometimes. We have gotten more than a few calls from neighbors telling us that our birds had made it over to their yard.
This is the biggest annoyance of peafowl, or rather peacocks in particular. They have a very distinctive "He-yonk" yell that they do often. You will hear the "he-yonk" more often during the mating seasons, but they also do it when they hear a loud sound like a gunshot or a car horn.
Their yell can be heard quite well for about two miles as well. Most peafowl owners just tune it out after while.