12 things to know about peafowl

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

• There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of peafowl in the world in vary­ing colours, but the breed in NZ ( Pavo crista­tus, the In­dian or ‘blue’ peafowl) orig­i­nates from In­dia.

• Peafowl are part of the pheas­ant fam­ily.

• Birds range in size from 70-100cm in length. Males can then grow tails up to 140cm long once ma­ture. Adult pea­hens weigh 3-4kg, pea­cocks 4-6kg.

• Males don’t have a tail un­til their sec­ond year, but you won’t see a long one un­til they are about three years old, and you won’t see a tail in all its true glory un­til they are about six years old.

• They were first brought to New Zealand in 1843 as pets. There are now es­tab­lished flocks liv­ing wild in many parts of NZ in­clud­ing Kaipara, Auck­land, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Gis­borne, Whanganui, Nel­son, Marl­bor­ough and Can­ter­bury.

• They pre­fer a warm cli­mate but will tol­er­ate cold and have adapted to life in zoos and parks right around the tem­per­ate world.

• They are a for­est bird that roost in large trees but spend most of their time for­ag­ing on the ground. In the wild they live near for­est edges and in clear­ings.

• Males live alone, fe­males in small groups. How­ever, bird spot­ters in NZ have seen groups of up to 100 wild birds at a time mov­ing to­gether over win­ter and early spring.

• They eat a diet of mainly plants and seeds, but will also eat in­sects like crick­ets, ticks and ci­cadas, and small an­i­mals like mice and lizards.

• Peafowl in a do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tion can be eas­ily tamed (best done when chicks) and can be quite friendly birds, but wild ones tend to be very wary.

• You can eat peafowl but it de­pends on who you talk to as to whether it’s rec­om­mended. It’s typ­i­cally a dry, tough meat, even af­ter long cook­ing due to the lack of fat in the breast meat. The best bet if you want to eat them is to choose young, grain-fed birds that have been kept in a run, vs free-rang­ing.

• The eggs are about three times the size of a hen’s egg and are said to have a gamey flavour but can be eaten. How­ever, a pea­hen will only lay a small clutch of 4-6 eggs once a year. To get more, you need to re­move the eggs each day, which will en­cour­age them to con­tinue lay­ing for up to a month.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.