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Peacock Egg Incubation
Peacocks are one of the most beautiful and colorful birds available for raising commercially, or as a hobby. Not everyone chooses to use artificial incubation of their peacock eggs, but using an incubator typically gives you better control of the hatching environment, and thus a better hatch rate. You should always set up your incubator in an area that is not too hot or too cold before you have eggs ready to incubate. This way you can make sure that you peacock egg incubation will be as successful as possible.
Incubating Peacock eggs typically takes 28-29 days, with turning ending on the 26th day.
The temperature should be measured in many locations to insure that the proper temperature is kept throughout the incubator. The thermostat should be set so that a temperature of 99 -100 degrees F is consistent throughout. I use incubators which have air circulation fans in them which help maintain a uniform temperature. The accuracy of the thermometer in an incubator should be checked against a proven thermometer.
The humidity level in the incubator plays the biggest role in successful artificial incubation of peacock eggs. It is recommended that you maintain the humidity level at 60%. This converts to a wet bulb temperature of 86 - 87 degrees F. The humidity level can be measured with a hygrometer or through the use of a wet bulb thermometer and a conversion chart. The humidity level can be adjusted by opening or closing the vents on an incubator to allow more or less air to enter and escape, if your unit comes with air vents. The humidity level can also be adjusted by the use of a water pan in the incubator. The water evaporation is controlled by the surface area of water in the water pan. In other words, water will evaporate quicker from a large shallow water pan than from a smaller, deeper water pan, even if they contain the same amount of water. The more water evaporating from the water pan, the higher the humidity level.
It is important to prepare your peacock egg incubator ahead of time. The first thing to do is to sanitize your incubator with an incubator disinfectant solution. Even if your incubator is new, I recommend cleaning before the first use, as well as before and after each subsequent use. Make sure that all of your components are working- your peacock egg turner will also need to be monitored to see if you need a replacement egg turner motor before you begin. Doing this prep work on the front end can save you from quite a bit of hassle/potential heartache in the long run.
Now that the incubator is ready, it is time to set the eggs. You will lay the eggs on their sides in the incubating trays with the pointed end of the egg tipped slightly down. If you are turning by hand, make sure that you lightly mark each of the eggs so that you can ensure you turn every egg each time. Use a crayon or pencil, never a permanent marker to mark your peacock eggs. If you are using an automatic turner, you may still want to mark your eggs so if you remove them for peacock egg candling, you will be able to place them back in the turner the right way. Some experts recommend turning your egg completely over twice a day in addition to using the egg turners to increase your hatch rates.
Determining peacock egg fertility can be done by candling the egg. You should be able to recognize signs of fertility by day 10. It is suggested that you remove any eggs that still do not show signs of fertility after 10 days and discard them. This helps eliminate the risk that they will contaminate your viable eggs. Many recommend that you candle your eggs weekly after you have determined fertility so that you can monitor the growth of the embryo and ensure that everything is still going as planned.
You may have a peacock egg incubator with a hatching tray or area, or you may choose to use a separate peacock egg hatcher. Either one can give you great results if you carefully monitor your humidity during this delicate time. You will want to stop turning your eggs at day 26 and relocate them to your hatching area. This allows them to properly orient themselves for hatching. They should begin to hatch within 2-3 days. You can leave the temperature the same as for incubating (99-100 degrees F), but you will want to increase the humidity. This helps keep the membranes in the egg from drying out too much while the chick is hatching. You will want to leave the peacock chick in the hatcher for about a day, or until it can stand on it's own and move about easily.
When brooding peachicks, there are things that you can do 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). They will then be able to be moved to their permanent home.
Breeding peacocks is a wonderful hobby, and can be a profitable business. Whatever the reason for your peacock breeding, give your peachicks the best possible start by learning about the proper peacock egg incubation process, and equip yourself with the tools you will need to be successful. Good luck, and happy hatching!