Spalding Peafowl

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Scientific name: Pavo cristatus x Pavo muticus

Other common names: Emerald Spalding Peafowl

The basics:
The Spalding Peafowl is a hybrid created by breeding the Indian Peafowl with the Green Peafowl. The goal in creating this popular hybrid has been to produce birds that possess the less grating call of the Green Peafowl, combined with the confidence and less nervous behaviors of the Indian Peafowl.

A California breeder, Mrs. Keith Spalding, is believed to be the first person to try the experiment some decades ago. The hybrids are fertile, and hybrids bred to other hybrids are also called Spalding's Peafowl. Some people still refer to a bird that contains at least 75% Green Peafowl genes as an “Emerald” Spalding Peafowl, but the United Peafowl Association has recommended that the name “Emerald” be dropped. Instead, the breeder should explicitly note what percentage of green blood appears in the bird in question.

There is a great variation in the appearance of the Spalding Peafowl hybrids, depending on the percentage of blue and green blood. There are also a large number of color mutations that may appear.

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

15 - 20 years

Crowded 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, Spalding 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:
While Spalding Peafowl are not considered to be as loud as the Indian Peafowl, be realistic if you have a small property with near neighbors. Listen to the male crow before you purchase.

If you are planning to free-range your Spalding 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.

A pair of Spalding Peafowl will need a huge enclosure to allow the male to show off to best advantage. 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. If you are thinking of getting into the hobby of creating some colorful hybrids and mutations for yourself, you will need to have a number of such pens, so that you can control who mates who. If you sell hybrids you produce, you have an ethical obligation to disclose accurate information to the buyer.

The Spalding Peafowl is an omnivorous bird that isn't particularly difficult to feed. The United Peafowl Association notes that a balanced diet will contain 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

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