Peacocks are flashy birds well-known for their magnificent tail plumage. These omnivores will eat almost everything they find on their way.
If you plan to raise peacocks as pets on your small farm, you might want to know, “What do peacocks eat in the wild, and how can I mimic its diet in captivity?” This article will help you explore the detailed diet of peacocks and some important notices you should know when raising these beautiful birds.
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What Do Peacocks Eat In The Wild?
Insects are the primary protein-rich foods of peacocks in the wild. These omnivores often scratch in soil or dirt and eat insects. Even when being kept on farms, they will seek insects whenever they are allowed to free-range.
Peacocks are not picky when it comes to insects. They can eat various types of insects, including crickets, earthworms, grasshoppers, mealworms, beetles, maggots, ants, spiders, grubs, termites, etc.
Reptiles also take a substantial part of peacocks’ daily diet. Their sharp and long talons allow them to kick and kill any small animals that fit their mouths.
Except for turtles or reptiles with hard shells, peacocks can eat many reptiles, like lizards, small snakes, rodents, etc.
Peacocks can also kill and eat venomous snakes like the cobra. These birds can convert the cobra’s poison to nutritious compounds that enrich the colors of their feathers. Besides, these birds can eat things in bright colors, especially those in white.
Besides reptiles, small amphibians on shallow waters like frogs and salamanders are also a great source of protein for peacocks.
Peacocks also love eating grains. Grains give them an adequate amount of energy for their daily activities.
What grain do peacocks eat? They can eat many types of grains, like corn, wheat, oats, or other available grains on farm crops or leftovers on the feeding bowls of other pets.
These omnivores love eating plants and grasses. They will eat various plants like seed heads, soft leaves, flower petals, and soft roots. You can provide them lucerne, leafy green, or any available plants in your backyard garden.
Fruits and vegetables
Besides protein, these wild omnivores also need to collect micronutrients from various fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Vegetables: cucumber, green beans, peas, spinach, lettuce, etc. Cooked pumpkin or sweet potato are also tasty vegetables for them.
- Fruits: sweet or source fruits like berries, apples, grapes, papaws, mangoes, strawberries,
Read More: Can Chickens Eat Grapes With Seeds? Grapes are great for lots of birds, including peacocks. Find out if chickens can benefit from them, too!
Like other living creatures, peafowls also need water to survive. Adult peafowl can drink 2 to 3 cups of water per day.
In their wildlife, they will access and drink any available water source. In captivated settings, you should always maintain fresh and edible water in a bowl of 3-4 gallons. In the winter, you should provide them with warm water to stay well-hydrated in cold and dry conditions.
How Do Peacocks Find Food In The Wild?
Peacocks are greedy, opportunistic eaters with a wide variety of food. So how can they look for food naturally in the wild?
- Foraging: Peacocks on lush forestry areas with rich vegetation like India don’t have to waste much effort to look for food. They spend all day plucking at tasty plants.
- Hunting: Peacocks can use their excellent eyes to seek small insects, bugs, reptiles, and amphibians. They pick them up with their hard beak and eat them.
- Scavenging: Peacocks often find grain scraps and pet food leftovers on areas with farms and lawns. Once they have identified the feeding time and feeding route, they will follow it every day.
- Finding food on the ground: Since these birds spend their daytime looking for food on the ground, most of their food is acquired at ground level. Sometimes they will roost on a high branch to get a broad view to search for extra food.
What Do Peacocks Eat In Captivity?
The diet of peacocks in captivated settings should be as similar and various to theirs in the wild as possible. Don’t just feed them grains and seeds like other birds. You should also add supplements and insects occasionally to maintain a well-balanced diet to keep beautiful and healthy feathers.
In the wintertime, when all of their natural food sources are unavailable, you can feed these birds commercial feed (or game feed pellets) specially made for peafowls. This food contains a high level of protein, which is crucial to keep them healthy and strong.
Besides, you can also feed them foods for turkeys and pheasants, with the 1/3 amount of feed.
Pet food, primarily dog or cat food, can sometimes be used as an occasional treat for those peafowls. Their large peak allows them to pick and swallow these food scraps with ease.
But how much do peacocks eat a day while being kept as pets? You should feed them twice per day, with ¼ cup of feed in the morning and a larger amount of feed at night. Let them free-ranging 15 to 20 minutes twice a day, and always keep them slightly hungry, so they always want to return to their shelter at night.
How about water? Besides fresh and clean water at moderate temperature, you should add fruit juice to encourage them to maintain sufficient daily water intake.
Summer & Winter diet
The diet of captivated peacocks also differs by weather conditions.
In summer, these free-ranging birds need at least 20% protein in their diet. They can actively get daily protein intake from insects, reptiles, amphibians, grains, plants, etc., around their pens. On hot summer days, they will drink water at normal temperatures to keep them from dehydration.
In wintertime, peafowls need a safe & warm shelter and edible water to survive. Besides, they need extra protein. You should focus on their protein demand and provide them with fresh meat as the best source. If meat is not available or not enough to feed them daily, you can mix commercial protein supplements in their feed.
What Do Baby Peacocks Eat?
In the first week since hatching, peacock chicks need to maintain a high-protein diet of 25-30% protein to help them get their best start.
Then, 3 days after the hatching day, you can start feeding them insects or fresh worms. You can also feed them high-protein pheasant or turkey starter. But avoid pet foods because these feeds contain a high level of sodium and fat.
From 3 months old, these peacocks can start foraging for plants and flowers with their mothers. Thus, you should switch to adult bird foods like game feed or pellets. Maintaining a high-protein diet for a prolonged period of more than 3 months can lead to illness.
You can take a look at the following 6-week transition schedule from weaning period to adult diet:
- 1st week: 3 portions starter – 1 portion game bird feed/pellet
- 2nd week: 2.5 portions starter – 1 portion game bird feed/pellet
- 3rd week: 2 portion starter – 1 portion game bird feed/pellet
- 4th week: 1.5 portion starter – 1 portion game bird feed/pellet
- 5th week: 1 portion starter – 1 portion game bird feed/pellet
- 6th week: ½ portion starter – 1 portion game bird feed/pellet
- 7th week: feed them with 100% game bird feed/pellet
Besides their primary food, you can keep these little birds happy by offering them extra treats in moderation like cereals, fruits, veggies, bread, dog or cat foods.
Since baby peacocks often follow their mothers for food and water, ensure that you provide food for them in a shallow bowl. Plus, keep water fresh, clean, and accessible for all of your peacock chicks. And never feed them small bones, as it will lead to choking hazards or death.
What Should You Not Feed A Peacock?
Besides the above edible foods, there are foods that you should never feed your peacocks as follows:
- Oily or fatty foods like avocado;
- Drinks with caffeine like coffee or tea, or alcoholic beverages like beer;
- Rotten feeds or daily food leftovers;
- Most processed foods or junk foods for humans aren’t safe and beneficial for peacocks. Avoid foods that contain wheat, sugar, colorants, preservatives like bread, pizzas, burgers, processed meat, chips, chocolate, candy, cheese, and dairy products. These foods can harm their fragile digestive system.
How Do Peacocks Eat Their Food?
Peacocks spend 26% of their day feeding, 23% resting, and the rest standing and maintaining themselves. They often eat in the early mornings and evenings. On hot afternoons, they prefer standing under shaded areas like under big trees.
There is a difference in the foraging behavior of peacocks in two living environments. Wild peacocks spend many hours a day foraging. Thus, they can burn an excessive amount of calcium and protein they have absorbed from their diet.
However, since captive peacocks can get their food with no foraging effort, they often suffer from gout and kidney problems due to their body’s plethora of calcium and protein.
As a peacock owner, you should balance their nutrition demands or forage more to stay fit and healthy.
Peafowls don’t have teeth, so they can only swallow food. Thus, you should provide them with insoluble grits like tiny stones to help them grind their food easier.
1. Do peacocks eat flowers?
They can eat flowers, especially ones with bright colors or white color. So if you are planting flowers that produce edible seeds like sunflowers, they can damage your crops.
2. Do peacocks eat bananas?
Peacocks can consume sweet fruits like bananas. Thus, you can safely offer them bananas as a healthy treat.
3. Do peacocks eat corn?
These beautiful birds can eat corn, wheat, and other grains.
4. Can peacocks eat carrots?
Yes, they can. Since peacocks don’t have teeth to grind these hard vegetables, you should chop them into sizable bits to make them swallow carrots easier.
5. Do peacocks eat ants?
Peacocks are omnivores, so they can eat insects like ants besides plants.
6. Do peacocks eat chickens?
Peacocks can kill and eat chickens in the wild. These game birds have long, sharp talons and a strong beak to attack backyard chickens.
When raising these birds as pets on your farm, you should find ways for peacocks and chickens to get acquainted with each other to reduce incidents or fatal injuries between these two animals.
7. Do peacocks drink milk?
It’s inadvisable to provide peacocks milk or dairy products like cheese or butter. Peafowls’ digestive systems are not designed to digest lactose, sugars, and other substances in milk. Feeding them dairy products can result in mild stomach upset or diarrhea.
8. Do peacocks eat meat?
Since peacocks are omnivores, they can undoubtedly eat meat. Meat provides them with protein to maintain their glorious plumage. However, you should not provide them with processed meat as this meat type contains additives and preservatives that are toxic.
9. Do peacocks eat seeds?
You can offer your peacocks seeds like peanuts, safflower seeds, sunflower seeds, and true nuts. However, these high-fat snacks only make up approximately 5 to 10 percent of their diet.
10. Do peacocks eat cockroaches?
Peafowls can eat cockroaches. But since cockroaches live in unsanitary places, they can be poisonous to peafowls, birds, or other animals who consume them.
11. Should you feed peacocks pet foods?
These greedy birds have large mouths, allowing them to eat tasty pet foods like cat or dog foods. However, these foods should be considered as occasional treats as they contain a high level of sodium and fat, which can cause serious health issues in peacocks if overfeeding.
Peacocks are omnivores, so they can eat plants and small animals for living in the wild. These greedy birds can consume everything you offer them. So, you should stay aware not to offer them any foods that are harmful to them.
After knowing what peacocks eat and what they can’t, you can be more confident in maintaining their daily diet to keep them looking appealing and healthy.