History of the Midnight Peafowl Mutation
by Brad Legg
This mutant bird was found at an exotic bird sale in Kansas in October 1998. No one knew that it was unusual except my son and myself. After we purchased this peacock we went to the clerk’s office and ask who had checked in this lot number.
We then located this person and asked about the bird. The gentleman had bought the bird as a yearling at another sale in the spring of ’96. So this bird was born in the summer of 1995. He had mated it to a Black Shoulder unrelated hen as a 2-year-old. The pair produced two chicks in which one died and the other one was a Black Shoulder hen. In 1998 he made the same mating and produced 4 chicks. All of these birds were still at his farm. After visiting, he said he would sell all the chicks from that male so we went to the farm and purchased those birds. The reason he sold the bird was that he had bought it as a Black Shoulder and as it grew it never colored like a Black Shoulder should. The bird was always much darker with no blue in the neck but had very dark eyes in the train. Therefore he didn’t want the bird. By the spring of 1999 the four chicks had matured enough to tell there was three cocks and one hen, all black shoulders.
Our goal was to mate the beautiful bird to Blue India and Black Shoulder hens as well as to his first daughter, a Black Shoulder hen. This mutant bird was so unique that not only he was so different in color, he was also solid winged “Black Shoulder Pattern”, the only mutant ever to be so. In the winter of 1998 we introduced Midnight to his first daughter, for two months then added three India Blue hens and two Black Shoulder hens. He was such a docile bird it was hard to believe that when breeding season arrived in March he became such an aggressive breeder. We decided to add other hens to the pens beside him and pen mate him to some other hens. The 1st mating was with his daughter. The 2nd mating was with three Black Shoulder hens. The 3rd mating was with two India Blue hens. The 4th mating was with one Silver Pied hen. The 5th mating was to two White Eyed hens. The 6th mating was with a Black Shoulder Pied hen. The 7th mating was with two India Blue Pied hens. The 8th mating was with a White hen, thirteen different hens in all. We hatched a total of 84 chicks, 3 being from the daughter, two cocks: Midnight colored and one hen, Black Shoulder color. Of the entire pen breeding program at least one cock and one hen were produced from all of the colors of the breeding hens. The chick colors were India Blue, Black Shoulder and White Eyed. We had dedicated the whole breeding season to this bird and he was so exciting to work with.
In the Spring of 2000 Midnight was mated with eight different crosses. The 1st mating was with two Black Shoulder daughters. The 2nd mating was with two Silver Pied hens. The 3rd mating was with two Black Shoulder hens. The 4th mating was with three India Blue hens. The 5th mating was with two White Eyed hens. The 6th mating was with one Spalding Black Shoulder hen. The 7th mating was with one Cameo Pied hen. The 8th mating was with a India Blue Pied hen. By the end of the breeding season we had hatched 72 peachicks from Midnight. Of those, eight chicks were from the two daughters, two Midnight colored cocks and our first Midnight colored hen, which is still very young and five Black Shoulder colored hens and cocks. By the end of 2000 we had hatched five Midnight chicks from the original cock. Our first two years have produced 156 chicks from the original Midnight cock.
The year 2001 was exciting having such a large number of daughters in production split to Midnight and also split to many other color patterns. We produced the first Midnight chicks in the “Barred-wing” pattern.
In 2002 we are working on Midnight Pied, Midnight Blackshoulder Pied, Midnight White-eyed, Midnight Blackshoulder White Eyed, as will as Midnight’s in the Silver Pied pattern. Midnight’s great production has continued to his progeny. A three year old son in production this year has produced a great number of chicks. This new color has generated a lot of excitement in the peafowl industry.