First time peafowl owner: How can I tell if my peahen's going broody?

Chicken Keith

Songster
12 Years
Jun 1, 2007
265
50
186
Huntsville, Alabama (Go Vols)
I know chickens well, been raising them off and on for the past 40 years.

Peafowl, ...well, not so much.

I have two IB hens, aged around 2 years. I didn't think they were sexually mature. The IB cock they're penned with will be 2 this Aug. His train is about 2 feet long...I'd surmise he's sexually immature too, although he is "calling" all day now.

One of my hens is laying eggs for the first time, randomly dropping them around the pen.

One of my hens (also the egg-layer, not sure) makes a low-pitched clucking gutteral sound, kind of like a growl, but a click.

In contrast, when chickens go broody, they puff their feathers up and cluck constantly.

What do pea hens do when they go broody? Are my peas sexually mature now? I thought they had to be 3 yrs old to be mature.

My male has fanned out his tail for most of his juvenile life, so fanning by itself can't be a signal for sexual maturity, right?

Thanks in advance for answering my questions.
 

DylansMom

RIP 1969-2017
6 Years
Jan 10, 2014
3,742
585
248
PA
I know chickens well, been raising them off and on for the past 40 years.

Peafowl, ...well, not so much.

I have two IB hens, aged around 2 years. I didn't think they were sexually mature. The IB cock they're penned with will be 2 this Aug. His train is about 2 feet long...I'd surmise he's sexually immature too, although he is "calling" all day now.

One of my hens is laying eggs for the first time, randomly dropping them around the pen.

One of my hens (also the egg-layer, not sure) makes a low-pitched clucking gutteral sound, kind of like a growl, but a click.

In contrast, when chickens go broody, they puff their feathers up and cluck constantly.

What do pea hens do when they go broody? Are my peas sexually mature now? I thought they had to be 3 yrs old to be mature.

My male has fanned out his tail for most of his juvenile life, so fanning by itself can't be a signal for sexual maturity, right?

Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

Most Peacocks reach sexual maturity at 3 years and most Peahens at 2 years, but nobody told them that.
big_smile.png
They can and commonly do start a year earlier than this, we have seen hens laying when they are only a little over a year old, and it is said that if a male has a couple small eyes in his train, there is a good chance he is fertile. When it comes to broodiness, they are not like chickens. they will often lay their eggs randomly around the pen and never go broody, so many of us collet and incubate eggs. If they do decide to sit they will lay the eggs together and usually when they have 5 or 6 they will start sitting on them. They usually just scratch out a shallow depression in the dirt as a nest. They will sit for approx. 28 days in rain, sun, frost whatever if you try to mess with them while sitting they will hiss at you and sometimes peck at you, nothing terrible.
 

MinxFox

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
4,117
328
326
Pensacola, FL
I guess some peahens don't go broody, but even the ones that do go broody will not sit on the first clutch they lay. They use them as decoy eggs and will lay them all around the pen like Dylansmom said. Once the peahen starts laying eggs all in one spot that is when she is actually considering nesting and after she has laid a clutch (usually 6 eggs) in one spot she will sit on them. I used to let the peahens sit on their own eggs - they are very good at hatching and raising peachicks. What I would do is leave the first egg I see. Then once the peahen has laid another egg if it is not laid with the first egg I will take the first egg and leave the second. I repeat this cycle until she finally starts laying all eggs in one spot.

Here is a nest:


Of course since you are not sure if your peacock is fertile yet, you might want to candle the eggs to make sure your peahen doesn't spend forever incubating eggs that will never hatch.
 

Chicken Keith

Songster
12 Years
Jun 1, 2007
265
50
186
Huntsville, Alabama (Go Vols)
Thank you so much, minx fox and Dylansmom for that helpful advice. So, here's another question: Why is one of my peahens making those guttural, growly, clicking noises? She seems to do it without any provocation, not disturbed, like when a broody hen (when she gets off her nest for a break) will cluck and growl, etc?

2nd question: Minx fox gave me some clues on how to encourage my peahens to lay & sit, but should I also set up a "nesting area in the pen? Like as in a private area? As is, the pen is one of those 20 foot x 20 foot chainlink dog kennels, no privacy at all, outside viewable all 360 degrees. I'm thinking if I made a private "cubby hole" out of hay bales, inside her pen, it might encourage her to sit there, as in give her some sense she's stealing away?

I've heard often, and read this too, that peahens tend to steal a nest away, out secluded somewhere, where they're also vulnerable to foxes and raccoons. We have lots of predators so I'm trying to protect my peahens.

Any ideas welcome, thks.
 

DylansMom

RIP 1969-2017
6 Years
Jan 10, 2014
3,742
585
248
PA
Thank you so much, minx fox and Dylansmom for that helpful advice. So, here's another question: Why is one of my peahens making those guttural, growly, clicking noises? She seems to do it without any provocation, not disturbed, like when a broody hen (when she gets off her nest for a break) will cluck and growl, etc?

2nd question: Minx fox gave me some clues on how to encourage my peahens to lay & sit, but should I also set up a "nesting area in the pen? Like as in a private area? As is, the pen is one of those 20 foot x 20 foot chainlink dog kennels, no privacy at all, outside viewable all 360 degrees. I'm thinking if I made a private "cubby hole" out of hay bales, inside her pen, it might encourage her to sit there, as in give her some sense she's stealing away?

I've heard often, and read this too, that peahens tend to steal a nest away, out secluded somewhere, where they're also vulnerable to foxes and raccoons. We have lots of predators so I'm trying to protect my peahens.

Any ideas welcome, thks.

I think a lot of the clucks and growls are their way of talking, I hear a lot of different noises from hens. I know a loud cluck is a warning as I've seen them use that to call their chicks back when us evil humans are approaching them.
big_smile.png
Minx's info was 99.9% accurate, but there are always exceptions. I have a very old Peahen who has always been a great broody, and has always laid every egg from#1 to #6 in the same spot and she will sit them all in that spot. She is not a prolific layer and she apparently does not believe in decoy eggs. Peahens may or may not take advantage of your nests, if you do set them up shelters of some sort, make sure they can withstand the weight of other peas trying to fly onto them, and keep them away from your chain link pen walls unless you have hot wire on the outside. People have lost sitting Peahens when raccoons reached through chain link and got ahold of them.
 

brad3126

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
39
0
44
NYS adirondacks
I make nest boxes out of bales of hay ( make a square with the whole bales) they will lay eggs in there and when they get about 10 eggs or so they will set on their own.
 

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