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  How big an opening do peafowl need?
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lhROW
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Joined: 22 Jun 2011
Posts: 243
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:25 pm Reply with quote

I am unexpectedly rearing peababies -- was contemplating peafowl for NEXT year, but not this one... Life happens while you are making plans.

The plan was to learn at least initial poultry care on chickens, and then graduate to peafowl chicks after we learned how to get chickens safely to adulthood.

The first batch of store-bought chicks (now almost grown) are out in the nice coop our neighbor built for me, and I am still working on the chain link flight pen. Without belaboring gory details, the second batch of chicks (which were supposed to eventually be free-range) had a Highly Unfortunate Incident while still inside the people house; the lone survivor has since joined a friend's flock that was the same age.

The coop is 8 ft x 12 ft, with a sloping roof 6 to 7 1/2 ft high (lower on the interior from joist height).

The flight pen, which is recycled chain link dog run panels, plus another I built to go with it, measures 20 x 12, with the roof peaked off center at the same height as the coop. I'm covering it with chicken wire, supported on a chain link top rail frame.

We purposely built the coop a bit bigger than strictly necessary, thinking I could subdivide inside for the free range chickens to have part of it for nightly shelter, and thinking that it might also be turned into a peacock pen next year, with a different coop/pen for chickens, or vice versa.

While I still think I would like something expressly built for the peafowl, the exigencies of time and money have me thinking I might have to re-purpose the coop sooner than anticipated. Like now.

If I want to convert the coop to a peafowl house, how big an opening do I need to make for them to come in and out without damaging a train?

Is 8 x 12 big enough for awhile, or do I need to build something bigger? I keep going out and staring at the yard, trying to imagine what to put, and where. I would really like a bigger flight pen for the peafowl, but right now am kinda stuck with resources on hand... It looks like the three peababies are going to outgrow their stock tank brooder pdq.

I've seen lots of three-sided shelters on various peafowl websites, and that might work here, but our weather is just so unpredictable. It's been 110 degrees repeatedly here this summer -- actually rare for it to get that hot -- and last winter it got to 11 degrees below zero, which hardly ever happens, but can't be discounted as a possibility. It usually gets down into the low teens at night for some number of nights over a typical winter, and warms up during the day. (Plays complete havoc with fruit trees -- we often get a 40 or even 50 degree temperature swing between day & night, especially in January, February and March.)

So I sort of thought it might be best to have something fully enclosed -- though the feral flock from which these chicks came probably just hunkers down in whatever shelter it can find. I think it was using some abandoned poultry pens that have recently been torn down.

Also, I'm thinking about trying to bend top rail to make an arched roof frame. There are these neat t-shaped connectors that make it go together like tinker toys. Has anyone tried building a flight pen roof like that? If I had a bigger, taller flight pen with a rounded roof, the chickens could keep the one I am building now.

I'm grateful for all suggestions! Thanks,

-- The accidental peahen
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burdgurl
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Joined: 07 Apr 2008
Posts: 384
Location: USA
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:14 am Reply with quote

we have several diff. sizes of pens, the smallest have 10x10 buildings with floors &
doors we can shut in the winter to help keep the cold out and to be able to shut when rearing peachicks to keep them off the ground. Buildings also have air vents and/or windows for fresh air circulation . Some buildings have no doors, we just tarp over the front of those in the winter .
Pen size: start off bigger , you will want to expand eventually, trust me.
Never big enough, never enough pens. Laughing
I find 3 grown peafowl do fine in a flight pen that is 15x30 with a 10x10 building.
The flight pen height being 8 feet or so. Those trains can grown around 4 feet so roosts are right at 6 feet off the ground.
We have a chick pen with the curved greenhouse type construction, works allright but need to recover it. Used to have it covered in plastic, waste of time and $$ after a good wind or a couple years of sunlight takes it toll on the plastic. Will be covering it with poultry netting in the future.
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lhROW
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Joined: 22 Jun 2011
Posts: 243
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:15 am Reply with quote

Thanks so much for your thoughts and suggestions.

If I try to convert the present chicken coop into a peahouse, how big an access door do I need to put in for the peas? Right now there's a tiny chicken pophole, which is obviously too small.

The people door leads outside, not into the flight pen.

What dimensions would you suggest for a pea door to the flight pen?

Then I suppose I have to start planning the new buildings and bigger pens. Sigh.

These darned things are clearly highly addicting, and an expensive habit. I should have just taken up drinking -- would have been cheaper.

-- The accidental peahen
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