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Green Peafowl

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Scientific name: Pavo muticus

Other common names: Java Peafowl; Java Peacock; Peacock (male); Peahen (female); Green-necked Peafowl

The basics:
Once widely acclaimed as the world's most beautiful gallinaceous bird or even the world's most beautiful bird of them all, the wild population of the Green Peafowl has collapsed precipitously throughout the 20th century – a decline that continues today. In 2009, this formerly common species was red-listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), thanks to the one-two punch of over-hunting and destruction of its natural habitat. While the Green Peafowl you obtain will be captive-bred birds, you still have a responsibility to manage them intelligently. There are three subspecies, of which the Burmese may be the most widely available. If you intend to breed your Green Peafowl, work with a knowledgeable supplier to avoid hybridizing these birds with Indian Peafowl or with a mate of the wrong subspecies. Many birds you find may turn out to be hybrids between subspecies, so it can take a lot of work to get back to the natural forms. The hybrids are fine, of course, if your goal is to make a fine display without breeding them yourself.

Appearance:
The Green Peafowl is a slimmer, taller bird than the much better known Indian Peafowl, with iridescent green plumage on the neck and breast, where the more familiar Indian Peafowl sports blue. While not as brilliant as her mate, the Green Peahen is quite a bit more attractive than the Indian Peahen, and in the Green Peafowl species, it can be difficult to distinguish a young male from an adult female. Of course, it's easy to pick out the splendid adult Peacock with his spectacular train of green and gold feathers marked with the classic “eyes.”

Average weight:
4.5 - 6 kilgrams (10 - 13 lbs.)

Lifespan:
15 - 20 years

Health:
Crowded Green Peafowl have been reported to fight and to feather pick. A properly managed, properly protected pair should be at far lower risk of an injury. However, as with any bird that spends a lot of time on the ground, Green Peafowl may be susceptible to worms. Get a referral to a good veterinarian who can advise you on the proper de-worming schedule to keep your birds healthy.

Behavior / temperament:
Despite being congeners of the Indian Peafowl, the Green Peafowl often exhibits significantly different behaviors. It may be monogamous, or at least it seems to settle well into monogamy in the captive breeding situation. Breeders often report success with pairs, yet they observe that larger groups may have trouble with fighting between the males. They are also known to become aggressive toward their human keepers, as well as rival mates, during the breeding season, so handle them with respectful attention.

While Green Peafowl are not considered to be as loud as the Indian Peafowl, be realistic if you have a small property with near neighbors. Their voice is loud enough and not particularly pleasant.

If you are planning to free-range your Green Peafowl, get hands-on advice from an experienced peafowl owner about how to train your birds carefully to return to the shelter each night. It would be a shame to lose these beautiful birds to carelessness, thieves, or predators. Considering the expense and relatively rarity of these birds, it would be wise to get experience free-ranging Indian Peafowl first...and, even then, you may want to think twice about free-ranging the Green Peafowl.

Housing:
Because of the rarity of the pure forms of the Green Peafowl and the tendency of these birds to hybridize with Indian Peafowl, some breeders advise against allowing this species to free-range. The Green Peafowl seems to be much more monogamous by nature than its cousin, and breeders and exhibitors have often reported that they can keep them successfully in pairs. They will need a huge enclosure. One expert recommends that you offer 400 square feet per pair, including the shelter, which will provide safety from predators at night and warmth during cooler weather.

Diet:
The Green Peafowl is an omnivorous bird that isn't particularly difficult to feed. The United Peafowl Association notes that a balanced diet will continue a wide variety of items, including “shelled corn, cracked corn, oats, rabbit pellets, dog food, trout chow, sunflower seed, grass, dandelions, insects, and many other foods.” A good game bird pellet or crumble should be provided, and make sure the hens have access to a laying mix during the breeding season. Clean water should always be available.

Written by Elaine Radford

wonderful

beautiful addition, beauty, outdoor fowl, feathers

challenging

aggressive roosters, large enclosure, young children, quick tempers, neighbors, screech

interesting

unplanned income

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