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Training Peafowl to Stay at Home

Craig Hopkins

            One of the most common questions that I get from people interested in raising peafowl is: Will peafowl stay around my property if I let them free range? 

            There is nothing more beautiful than having a full-tailed peacock and some peahens free roaming around your property.  The information that follows is the steps that I take in order to train new peafowl to stay around my farm without being confined. 

            The age of the peafowl is an important factor in training them to stay on your property.  It is best to start with young peafowl.  I like to start with yearling peafowl.  Yearling peafowl are almost full-grown and they can tolerate almost any kind of weather.  Their size allows them to be safe around small dogs, cats, and other small predators.  I have been successful in training older peafowl to free range around my farm but it takes longer to train them.  If you want to train older peafowl, try to purchase birds that were raised in covered flight pens.  These birds are accustomed to being outside without being able to fly off.  Peafowl that have been running loose for years around someone elseís property are hard to keep around a new home because they are accustomed to roaming wherever they want and may leave your property even if you train them by the following steps. 

            Prior to purchasing peafowl of any age, a small building such as a chicken house or utility shed should be made ready to house the peafowl.  A box stall in a barn will also work.  An outside flight pen attached to the housing area is good to have also, but not necessary.  The flight pen allows the peafowl to be outside and to get accustomed to their surroundings without being able to fly off or roost in the trees.  The peafowl should be kept in these quarters for at least a month while they get settled in to their new home. 

            The most important training step that I have found is to wing clip the peafowl prior to releasing them into the housing area.  The peafowl learn very quickly that they canít fly up to the top of the building or across the flight pen area.  This inability to fly seems to calm the peafowl down a lot and makes it much easier to tame them down.  Roosting areas for the peafowl will need to be only 3í or 4í off of the ground so that the peafowl can jump up on them and so that they wonít injure themselves when they jump down to the floor. 

            Feed and water the peafowl daily while they are in confinement so that they get accustomed to their owner.  Give the peafowl treats such as lettuce trimmings, raisins, grapes, tomatoes, white bread, etc. to make them tamer.  After a month has passed, pick a day when the weather is good and allow the peafowl to come out of their enclosure on their own.  Do not force them out of the enclosure.  Observe their behavior and allow them to investigate their surroundings.  Do not allow dogs to chase them during this time.  Peafowl and dogs can coexist but donít let the dogs get in the habit of chasing the peafowl.  Allow the peafowl to free range for a half a day and then herd them back into their enclosure.  Repeat this process for several days, allowing the peafowl to free range for longer periods of time each day.  I would suggest that the peafowl be put in their enclosure every night for several months.  It will take several months for the clipped wing to grow back which makes them vulnerable to predators.  I continue to put my free ranging peafowl in an enclosure at night so that I donít have to worry about predators and it makes it much easier to collect eggs.  I do not allow my peafowl to free range during the winter months due to the harsh winter weather that we have in Indiana at times.

             I have used this process many times to train my peafowl to stay on my farm.  I enjoy seeing free ranging peafowl and I am sure that you will also.  

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