Are there any wild peacocks in Washington County? Q&A with the Animal Shelter

Are there any wild peacocks in Washington County? Q&A with the Animal Shelter



Each month, you will have the chance to have your questions answered by the animal shelter.

I recently saw a group of peacocks roaming free in Lake O! Are there places in Washington County where wild peacocks live and if so, would the shelter pick them up or would they just be allowed to continue to roam?

Peacocks are not native to our area, nor are they considered wild animals. In the U.S., these large birds are considered domesticated fowl (like chickens), so when you see them, assume they have an owner.

Peafowl (males are referred to as “peacocks” and females are referred to as “peahens,” although most people use the term peacocks interchangeably for both), originate from India, Southeast Asia and the Congo Basin of Africa. You are likely most familiar with the Indian peafowl since that is the one seen most in zoos and on farms in the U.S.  Although beautiful, peacocks can be destructive, messy and noisy, which will cause problems if they are allowed to roam.

It’s helpful to think of peacocks as domestic livestock. We always advise people to keep their livestock and pets on their own property. This is for the safety of both the animal and those who may encounter it. Washington County Animal Services does not pick up peacocks that are at large and roaming free, nor do we regulate these birds or require they have a license. However, if a peacock is being neglected or abused, we would investigate. Even if a domestic animal is not regulated by us, there are still standards of care that must be met.

If a loose peacock is causing problems in your neighborhood, talk to your neighbors to determine if it has an owner. If the bird is doing something that could be a risk to people, such as running into traffic and potentially causing an accident, call your local non-emergency law enforcement number, just as you would for other livestock on a road.

If you encounter an issue with an animal and don’t know who to call, you can always reach out to the shelter. We will assist you in determining who may be able to help, whether it’s us or another agency.


For more information on these topics and more, please visit or call us at (503) 846-7041. The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter is located in downtown Hillsboro at 1901 SE 24th Ave. Email your questions to: