The breeding season for peahens, typically spanning from March/April to July/ August, is a critical period requiring attentive care and management to ensure their safety and health. Last year I received over sixty phone calls from peahen owners totally distraught that their peahen had been eaten or killed by a fox

This email outlines essential care practices for peahens during the breeding season, focusing on nutrition, habitat management, health monitoring, and stress reduction.

Nutrition: Tailoring the Diet for Optimal Health

Peahen stance when laying an egg
Peahen stance when laying an egg

During the breeding season, peahens have heightened nutritional needs to support egg production. A balanced diet is paramount. While peahens are omnivorous, consuming a mixture of plant-based foods and insects, their diet during this period should be supplemented with high-protein foods such as crickets, mealworms, and specialised poultry feeds designed for breeding birds. Adding calcium sources, like oyster shell or limestone, to their diet is crucial for eggshell formation. Fresh water should be abundantly available at all times, ensuring it’s clean and replenished daily to prevent diseases.

Habitat Management: Ensuring a Safe and Comfortable Environment

The environment where peahens reside during the breeding season significantly affects their health and wellbeing. The enclosure or pen should be spacious enough to allow for natural behaviours, with areas for roosting, nesting, and foraging. Nesting boxes, placed in quiet, secluded parts of the habitat, encourage natural laying behaviours and provide a safe space for egg incubation. The enclosure should be secure from predators and equipped with adequate shelter from the elements, as stress from external threats or harsh weather can impact the health of peahens and the viability of their eggs.

Health Monitoring: Vigilance Against Illness and Injury

Regular health checks are vital during the breeding season. Peahens should be observed daily for any signs of distress, illness, or injury, including changes in appetite, lethargy, or unusual behaviour. Prompt veterinary care for any concerns is crucial to prevent minor issues from becoming major problems. Parasite control, through regular deworming and pest management in the enclosure, helps prevent disease and keeps the peahens healthy.

Stress Reduction: Promoting a Calm and Peaceful Atmosphere

Minimising stress is essential for the health and productivity of breeding peahens. Limiting disturbances by keeping noise and human activity around the enclosure to a minimum can help maintain a calm environment. Providing enrichment, such as different foods to forage, perches of varying heights, and dust bathing areas, can also help keep peahens engaged and reduce stress.

Conclusion

Caring for peahens during the breeding season requires a comprehensive approach, focusing on tailored nutrition, secure and comfortable habitats, diligent health monitoring, and stress reduction. By adhering to these practices, keepers can ensure their peahens remain safe and healthy, leading to a successful and productive breeding season. The wellbeing of these magnificent birds is paramount, and with the right care, they will thrive and contribute to the preservation of their species.