Can You Cook With Peahen Eggs?

All birds lay eggs, according to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, but are all of their eggs edible? What about peacock eggs? Don't spend too long thinking about it — that's a trick question. Peafowl is the collective name for the birds we know for their showy display of colorful tail feathers, explains Northern Nester. Peahens are female peafowl, and they're the ones who do the egg-laying. Peacocks are male peafowl, and they don't lay eggs.

While peafowl aren't native to North America, according to Best Farm Animals, a number of people raise them. The birds can be noisy, require a lot of space, and aren't particularly friendly around people. However, there are benefits to raising them, including their beauty, value as a breeding animal (chicks can sell for more than $50!), and their longevity — captive peafowl can live for up to forty years. Peahens don't start laying eggs until they're about two years old, and if you happen to have a peahen strutting around your property (or perhaps you're just curious) you might wonder if you can eat or cook those eggs.

Peahen eggs are safe to eat

Though we're most familiar with chicken eggs in the U.S., it turns out, almost all types of bird eggs are edible, according to Sauder's Eggs. (While there are some poisonous birds whose eggs you don't want to ingest, Bio Explorer points out that most of them are native to places other than North America.) Sauder's Eggs says chicken, duck, goose, emu, ostrich, and even crocodile eggs are safe for people to eat, and Northern Nester adds peahen eggs to that list.

Farm Animal Report notes that peahen eggs are a little larger than chicken eggs with a thicker, harder shell, and a yolk that's about one-third larger. Peahens lay far fewer eggs each year than chickens — about 12 to 15 eggs per year for peahens, compared with 250 to 300 per year for chickens. Unless you happen to know a peafowl breeder, the eggs aren't easy to come by, as they are found primarily in specialty shops. Northern Nester says an individual peahen egg may cost between $10 and $40 for a single egg, which would make a seriously pricey omelet or crème brûlée.

So while yes, you can eat peahen eggs, it's probably not worth the effort or price.