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What Do Peacocks Eat?

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Peacocks are exotic creatures and are widely considered to be the most beautiful bird in the world. The males, especially, have beautiful feathers that garner the attention of people of all ages.

To maintain this beauty, they need to maintain a healthy body. Thus, they must feed on a highly nutritious diet that is rich in protein.

Peacocks eat pretty much whatever they can find. They are omnivores that feast on pests, plants, and miniature creatures. They are not picky eaters and will consume anything they find consumable. However, depending on their habitat, their diet may vary.

Wild peacocks who can roam freely will eat anything that will fit in their beak. On the other hand, pet peafowls tend to be more selective about their meals. 

In this article, we will discuss in detail what peacocks prefer to eat and what you should avoid giving them.

Group of beautiful peacocks looking for food on the ground

Insects

Insects are a part of many birds’ diets. Peacocks are one of those birds that consume any kind of meat. They are often seen rummaging through the soil to look for slugs or other insects.

They can even fly short distances to catch their prey in the air. Insects not only satisfy their appetite but also provide many nutrients.

It is possible for peafowl to gain enough protein by eating solely insects but if there are not enough insects available for them, it is important to provide them with another protein source. This way, they do not lack important nutrients required to keep them healthy.

There are many types of insects that peacocks like. Some of which are listed below:

  • Ants
  • Slugs
  • Beetles
  • Crickets
  • Scorpions
  • Centipedes
  • Locusts
  • Spiders
  • Snails
  • Moths
  • Earthworms
  • Maggots
Snail on a log on bright yellow green background

Amphibians or Reptiles

Amphibians and reptiles make a delicious diet for many wild birds and peacocks are no exception. Experts believe that due their voracious hunting, peacocks have endangered a few species of these animals.

Peacocks are also famous for their ability to fight and eat snakes. In Sanskrit, the species name of the Indian Blue Peacock refers to the killer of snakes. Peacocks use their sharp vision and sense of hearing to find the location of these reptiles.

They mostly find such prey on the ground. Here are some of the amphibians and reptiles that peacocks love to savor:

  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Salamanders
  • Snakes
  • Lizards
  • Newts

Grains or Legumes

Grains are another of peacocks’ favorite meals. Studies have shown that some farmers have had to endure crop loss in an Indian village because of crop pests that included Indian peacocks. The ruined crops included wheat, lentils, and maize. They pecked on the ripening grains of wheat and lentils, destroying the farmers’ harvests.

After this, villagers started saving them some grains and feeding them to the peacocks. The legumes that peacocks ate the most were:

A wooden bowl of raw chickpeas on wooden background
  • Wheat
  • Millet
  • Sorghum
  • Sesame
  • Lentils
  • Rice
  • Maize
  • Mustard
  • Chilly
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas

According to other research, java peacocks and white peacocks prefer eating millet specifically. Indian peafowls were more interested in consuming maize.

Game Bird Feed

Peacocks also consume game bird feed. According to some studies, turkey’s feed ration proves to be a great meal for peacocks. The reason for that is that their physiology resembles that of young turkey fowl.

Vegetables and Fruits

Peacocks love eating vegetables and fruits. Various peacocks might have different preferences for different fruits. However, most of them can eat any fruit that they find.

Fruits make a healthy treat for them. They provide many health benefits like improved digestion or skin repair. They also prevent feather problems, inflammation, and other chronic diseases.

ripe sliced papaya on chopping board on white background

Here is a list of fruits/vegetables that peacocks consume:

  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Cabbage
  • Pineapple
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes

Berries

When in the wild, berries are one of the fruit categories that peacocks love consuming. They provide them with high nutrients such as vitamins or minerals. As berries are sugary, you should only give them in moderation.

bunch of raspberries on wooden bowl and spoon

Peafowl enjoy the following berries:

  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Huckleberries
  • Gall Berries
  • Wild Strawberries

Pet Food

When peafowl are in captivity, their owners need to provide them food that is high in nutrients and proteins. This can include cat food and poultry feed.

For poultry feed, peacocks prefer concentrated grains. If you need to feed them pet food, go for dry pet food items.

What Should You Feed Them as Pets?

Peafowl require a particular level of nutrients to maintain the beauty of their feathers. Keratin or protein composes ninety percent of their feathers. So, it is wise to provide them with food rich in protein.

For the pet peafowls, special arrangements should be made. Mixed grains or millet are the perfect diets for young birds.

A full-grown bird needs vegetables, fruits, meat, leaves, and grass. You can also feed nuts, eggs, grains, or rice to pet fowls.

They appreciate different food combinations. For instance, meat and grains or vegetables with insects.

If they roam free in your garden, they might enjoy their meal according to their choice. However, it is not wise to leave them wholly on their own.

You should get commercial food made especially for peacocks. If you do not have access to peacock food, feeding them on pheasant or turkey ration would be sufficient. This food should formulate one-third of their overall diet.

standing beautiful peacock in the forest

What Do Peacocks Eat in the Wild?

Peacocks are omnivorous. When in the wild, they can eat anything including, meat, insects, vegetables, or flowers. You might even see them picking stones or pebbles from the ground. They have a muscle called the gizzard, like chickens, which helps them grind up every kind of food.

They are exceptionally good at hunting their prey. They use their sharp eyesight, sense of hearing, and fast reflexes to grab live meals. If needed they also glide in the air.

In the wild, they mostly consume snakes, frogs, fish, and any other small animal.

What Do Peacocks Drink?

Like every other creature, peacocks prefer drinking fresh water. In the wild, they just use any source to quench their thirst.

Three to four gallons of water is the perfect quantity for a peafowl. You might also provide them with apple juice or berry juice.

When you keep them as a pet, it is necessary to replace old water with fresh water daily. In winter, try to provide them with lukewarm water.

Female peacock in zoo cage close up

What Do Baby Peacocks Eat?

In the wild, baby peafowls tend to eat whatever adult fowls eat. Peachicks are trained by their parents about what to look for and how to grab their prey. For 24-28 hours, they tend to survive on the natural nutrients they absorbed before hatching.

They try to stick to their mothers until they are capable of finding food on their own.

As a pet, they should be provided with a separate coop. Plus, you must feed them processed food for their healthy growth. It might include boiled eggs, chopped grains, boiled vegetables, and ground berries.

Their special food might include items with at least 30% protein. When they reach the age of 6 months, their protein intake can be reduced to 20%. After that, they are ready to enjoy everything an adult peacock eats.

Here is a list of food items that are best for baby peacocks:

Grains

Grains make the best meal for baby peacocks. In winter, grain digestion helps them to avoid getting cold. You should try to grind grains because they are easier in that form for them to swallow. Maize, wheat, barley, and rye are good choices of grains for baby fowls.

Seeds

Seeds will also provide them with important nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Their favorite seeds are sunflower seeds, peas, peanuts, and watermelon seeds.

Sometimes, when provided with fruits, they tend to eat only seeds and leave the flesh.

Arthropods

Insects that you could feed to baby peacocks include:

  • Snails
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms

You can check this article to know more.

Food to Avoid

Sometimes people tend to feed their peacocks their leftovers. Food items such as French fries, burgers, or pizzas, etc. are high in carbs and low in nutrients. When peacocks fill themselves with such a meal, they are more likely to gain fat. It also leads to nutrient deficiencies in them.

Some food items are not harmful to peafowl, but they should still be used only as treats. For instance, you should not feed your fowl large amounts of corn. They might like it, but they will be missing the required nutrients. Corn is best used as a winter supplement to provide body heat at night.

If a peafowl ingests a high amount of junk food, it might get inflicted with infections, weight gain, and heart diseases.

A high-fat meal could also lead to liver disease. The fowls might experience diarrhea, itchiness, and breathing difficulty. In the case of the severity of disease, death might also occur.

chocolate bars and coffee beans on black background

Here is a list of must-avoid food items:

  • Chocolate
  • Any Junk Food
  • Highly Processed Meats
  • Candies
  • Fries
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Beer

Change in the Diet of Baby Peacocks

If you have been feeding the same meal to peachicks for a while, you might want to introduce a change in their diet. If you wish to do so, do not bring a sudden change. It might lead to digestive problems.

You might start feeding them on new things along with the old feed. You will need to continue with the old feed for a week or two. After they get used to the new meals, you can just stop feeding them the previous food items.

Why Do Peacocks Need Protein Rich Food?

Peacocks are popular because of the beauty of their feathers. They are made up of keratin which is a hard form of protein. A fowl’s feathers can be affected by many factors. For instance, nutritional deficiencies, age, or other diseases.

Thus, if peafowls do not consume protein-rich food, their feathers might deteriorate with time.

Therefore, it is important to provide them with protein so that they could maintain their healthy plumage. Protein also plays a significant role in maintaining their reproduction system. Repair of tissues and brain development is also enhanced by protein intake.

Can Peacocks Eat Bread?

“Can peacocks eat bread” is a commonly asked question. The answer is that yes they can eat bread. It is not harmful to them at all.

You can feed them bread occasionally. However, the issue is that it does not provide any nutritional content to them. That is why you should avoid giving it to them on a routine basis.

Common Peacock Types and Their Diet

There are three common types of peacocks. There lies a small difference between their diet preferences. Let’s have a look at them:

Indian Peacocks

standing beautiful peacock in the forest

Indian peacocks are the most popular variety. They are aboriginals of India and Sri Lanka. However, they can be seen in Eastern Asian regions. Their beautiful plumage and blue heads make them exquisite to see.

Their diet includes:

  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Insects
  • Roots
  • Tubers
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Flowers

Javanese Peacocks

Javanese peacocks are also known as Java or Green Peacocks. They are found in southeast Asia on the Indonesian island of Java. They are as beautiful as blue peafowl. Their feathers and head are green in color. They are the strongest peacocks among all the breeds. They can fly higher than Indian peafowls despite their large size.

They like eating the following items:

  • Seeds
  • Shoots
  • Insects
  • Amphibians
  • Worms

Congo Peafowls

sideview of male congo peafowl species

The Congo breed is native to the African continent. These peacocks are not as beautiful as other varieties. However, they do have a beautiful blue shade on their body. They are more like pheasants than other peacocks.

Their diet includes:

  • Insects
  • Vertebrate Species

When Do Peacocks Eat

Peacocks are more active in the daytime and tend to catch prey all day long. As their food lies on the ground, daytime suits them the most.

At night, they leave the ground and take refuge among high places. In spite of their enormous size, they can fly and sit even on rooftops.

Final Thoughts

As peacocks are omnivores, they can eat anything including insects, reptiles, amphibians, fruits, and vegetables.

When they wander freely, they scratch on the ground or fly to find themselves food. They might even rummage through your garbage can for a treat.

When you keep them as a pet, it is important to provide them with supplementary food. If you can’t find a special peacock feed, gamebird feed can also work. Plus, allowing them to roam free in your garden will allow them to find treats according to their mood.

When it’s all said and done, do not forget to provide them with fresh water twice a day.

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