Hatching Eggs and Brooding Baby Guineafowl: Your Easy Guide to Breeding Guineas
Do you want to raise peacocks by hatching peafowl eggs and brooding baby peachicks? Raising peafowl from fertile peacock eggs and brooding baby peafowl can be a fun and hands-on way to get to know peafowl better and make sure the peacocks are tame and used to human contact. The first step, obviously, is to obtain a source for fertile peafowl eggs OR baby peafowl. There are many sources, depending on your geographic location. You can obtain eggs or chicks from a friend who raises peafowl; a local or national poultry hatchery that breeds and sells peafowl to poultry hobbyists; an Internet-based egg auction site or online peafowl breeders; or your local feed store.
Typically, peafowl mature and are ready to breed at approximately two years of age. However, it is not unheard of to have a peahen lay fertile peafowl eggs at as young of an age as one year. Thus, the peahens you use to breed peafowl should be at least one year old. The peahen should be paired with a male peafowl, colloquially known as a peacock. The peacock should be three years old or older for maximum fertility rates. Peacocks younger than this will not have a fully-developed tail, which will impedge the breeding and mate selection process that peafowl go through.
Peacock-Peahen Ratios When Breeding: As a general rule, a peacock can be placed amongst up to five peahens for mating. The peahens should come from separate bird breeding stock than the male to prevent genetic flaws and mutations due to inbreeding. According to Lewis Wright (The Practical Poultry Keeper: Public Domain), a peahen "lays generally from five to nine eggs, but sometimes considerably more. The time of incubation is about twenty-eight to thirty days. One cock should not have more than three or four hens.
Selecting the Mating Birds: Choose peafowl that are healthy, alert and have the best plummage. This will help ensure that your resulting peafowl eggs come from good stock and are in prime condition.
Incubation of the Fertile Peafowl Eggs: Artificial incubation using a mechanical incubator is the method of incubation chosen most often by backyard poultry breeders. The fertile peafowl eggs should be incubated at 100 degrees F for 27-30 days. Alternatively, you may let a broody peahen sit on her own eggs and hatc them herself. This is the easiest method and also takes the work load off of yourself because the peahen will then raise the peachicks on her own.
Author Lewis Wright also says that it's "no use setting peafowl eggs under common hens, which forsake their chickens in about two months, long before the young Pea-chicks can endure the night air. The peahen goes with her brood at least six months, and the chicks need this. They are fed and cared for as turkeys, so far as keeping them from rain is concerned ; but must be let out on the grass always in dry weather, or they will not thrive. The food is also similar in general ; but some worms or other insect food should be provided in addition, in default of which some raw meat cut fine is the best substitute."
Brooding Peachicks: Take the right steps when brooding peachicks to make sure the baby peafowl are healthy and grow quickly. Once the fertile eggs hatch, place the peafowl chicks under a standard brooder lamp at 95 degrees F. Decrease the temperature of the brooder as the peachicks mature and grow feathers, lowering the overall temperature of the brooder by five degrees every week until the heat lamp is off. Feed the peachicks high-protein starter feed (unmedicated, of course).