CREATE FREE ROAMING PEAFOWL
BY LEN WHEATLEY
(first published in Peafowl Today, February 2007)
Seeing peafowl roaming loose is always an attraction for anyone who stops by. Whether they come to purchase peafowl or just to see these awesome birds, either way is just fine with me. Showing off my birds is a big thrill to me. I am very proud of them and show off every chance I get.
I usually start several birds each year. When they reach about three months of age, I clip their wing feathers and put them in an outside pen. It's commonly known here as the "Playpen". This pen is located in such a spot that I can always have half an eye on it. The pen I use measures 30 feet by 15 feet with no top, but you must supply some sort of shade. Short logs about a foot in diameter are used for perching. Wing strength is not something I want developed yet, so keep them close to the ground. Chain link fencing is what I use for all my pens since there are so many coyotes and fox in my area of Pennsylvania.
First thing each morning, I carry them to the playpen, of which is the only food access they have. I keep fresh water in both their night pen and in the playpen. When dusk nears, I carry them back to their night pen. Carrying the birds back and forth like this also makes them quite comfortable with being held and being around humans. It adds to their personality.
I keep up this practice until the wing feathers have grown enough so they can get over the playpen fence on their own. This generally takes several months. At that point, I leave the playpen gate open so they can go in and out on their own.
Soon after they will start "hanging out" near the penned birds and perching in a close tree, so I move their feed to that location. Feed is always kept out for them so they do not start roaming for it.
When cold weather arrives these birds are put in pens for their safety and to simply make life easier on me (mainly frozen water). Once better weather appears, these birds are let back out to roam on their own. Don't be alarmed when they bolt off through the air and into the trees; they will be back. I have not lost any birds this way. Not as of yet, anyhow.
Things to remember:
Only cut enough wing feathers to keep them on the ground. Growing wing feathers will bleed when cut short.
Worm your peafowl. Free roaming peafowl must still be wormed just like your penned peafowl.
Safety in numbers. Four eyes have a greater chance of spotting predators before it's too late.
When training free roamers, do it in pairs. Single birds have a tendency to get bored and wander too far from safety and they are usually looking for romance. So, give them what they are looking for!
Quality time. Spend time with your birds, sit and talk to them and give them treats. They love it!