Two peahens nesting together

Waterfaery

Songster
7 Years
Jan 23, 2014
101
44
141
We have two peahens and they are sitting on eggs together. At first there seemed to be one pile and the two hens were sort of sitting on top of each other. Now they seem to have moved some eggs to each side so one peahen has 10 eggs and the other has 3 but they are still in the same little nesting space together. They are side by side but still partially on top of each other.

We have a small enclosure to put over and around them as it gets close to the hatching time to keep the chicks safe from the peacocks but now I'm wondering if the hens will be a problem to each other? Would a peahen attack another peahen's chicks? Or will they work together and help each other?

Also, how long do the chicks need to be kept away from the peacocks?

And a final question - what size are peachicks and what sort of size gaps can they fit through? I'm not worried about the perimeter because we have a fine mesh there but we have a sectioned off area with chickens and I want to make sure the peachicks won't be able to get in there.
 

old biddy

Crowing
11 Years
Sep 30, 2010
459
351
271
Lamont, Florida
As for the two hens being broody together on the same nesting area, I experienced that once with my chickens. They begain sitting on them at the same time and the eggs all
hatched out over a two day period. Both hens took care of the chicks. After a few weeks
one of the hens lost interest and returned to the flock while the other hen remained with all the chicks until they were about 7 weeks old.
 

KsKingBee

Free Ranging
8 Years
Sep 29, 2013
7,006
4,413
502
The Scenic Flint Hills of Kansas
We let all of our hens that want to set brood the last of the season's eggs. We have let some co-mom but it is not a good idea as they will try to steal the other's eggs and some of the eggs get chilled between the hens. Put some type of separation between them so the eggs do not get ruined. What few eggs that did hatch they co-mothered great. Unlike chickens, I have never seen a peahen or peacock harm chicks hatched in their pen even if they are not the mother. On the fencing, if the chicks do get through the wire how will they get back in? It is safer for them to be able to get out and back in than be locked out. You do need to watch them for the first week, some hens do not count very well. Also, be sure while the chicks are learning to fly up to the roost that none get left on the ground.
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Waterfaery

Songster
7 Years
Jan 23, 2014
101
44
141
Thanks for the replies.

Thanks so much KsKingBee for all of that. Do you think we shouldn't separate them from the peacocks at all then?

The other thing is that we have two peacocks who have never fought until this year but ever since the hens have been sitting, one has been attacking the other. We have been separating them during the day since then but we're still working on a permanent separate aviary area which is not ready yet. I can only assume that the more dominant one is the father of the peachicks but I can't be totally sure. Do you think it would be better to leave the dominant one with the peahens or the gentler one? Or is it ok to keep alternating them, which is what we're doing at the moment?

As for the roosts, I hadn't thought about that. We were focusing on making everything safe but I didn't even think about roosting. Our roosts are all very high. Will the chicks be able to get up there or do we need to put some lower ones in?
 

KsKingBee

Free Ranging
8 Years
Sep 29, 2013
7,006
4,413
502
The Scenic Flint Hills of Kansas
Just lean a ladder against the roost, within 10 to 14 days they will be able to fly all the way up. These chicks would jump on a table that was 6ft away and then go to the top of the pen. These two hens raised about six chicks between them but there would have been more if they didn't ruin half of the eggs. I try to never say never but I have never seen any aggression from the cocks.
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Waterfaery

Songster
7 Years
Jan 23, 2014
101
44
141
Just to update on this, the two peahens have indeed hatched the eggs together and are now co-mothering. Out of 13 eggs, 2 never hatched and one chick died soon after hatching. We have no idea what went wrong but we didn't find it until it was already dead.

The other 10 peachicks are now 11 days old and it's so wonderful to see how the peahens work together to care for them. Last night was the first night that the chicks attempted to sleep on the roost instead of the nesting area. 9 of them made it up but one didn't so one of the peahens stayed down with it and the other peahen slept on the roost with the 9.

As for the peacocks, we tried each of them together with the chicks and they both seemed fine with them. The dominant one was a bit aggressive a few times but only when treats were involved. He didn't seem like he was attacking them as such, just trying to tell them he's in charge and he wanted the treats. The less dominant one is very gentle and happily ate alongside them when they were together.

They were managing to wander into the chicken area as they fit through the mesh so now we have them in a separate nursery area that we managed to rush to finish building. I feel a lot better about it because they're far away from the chickens and even though they were ok with the peacocks, it's easier to have them all getting the appropriate food while they're separate from them.

We haven't been able to source a game bird starter but we have them on a medicated chick starter for hen chicks and we're supplementing their diet with lots of cooked eggs, greens from the vegetable garden and crushed walnuts and peanuts. We have game bird grower for the adults. I was wondering about crushing up some of that and mixing it in? I'd really prefer them to eat the medicated food for as long as possible. When would you advise transitioning them?

Out of the 10, a couple seem to be smaller than the others. One of the smaller ones also has a funny look to its left eye. I will have to try to get a photograph of it but it doesn't seem to be affecting it. Is there anything we should check for with the eye? I was a bit concerned about the size difference with the smaller ones but they seem to be eating just as much and are just as lively. It wasn't actually one of the smaller ones that didn't make it up to the roost last night, so they are keeping up with the others. Should we be concerned about their size? They're all acting more or less the same so far.

Also, they don't all look the same in terms of colouring. We were told the parents were pure IB but that's obviously not the case. 9 of the chicks look like IB to me but I'm not an expert. Some of them have browner heads and some of them have brownish-yellow heads. I had read somewhere about darker heads meaning they're female but I don't know if that's true and I don't know anything about sexing them. The smaller ones I mentioned all have the darker brown heads. Is there anything in that?

The 10th one was all yellow at first. After a few days it started showing beige on it's primaries and now there are hints of dark feathers on the shoulders. Does that mean it's a male BS? We got the peacocks together from one breeder and the peahens together from another. Am I right in thinking that both breeders must have been dishonest about them being pure? I'm still trying to learn how the genetics work.

Thanks so much for the help!
 

KsKingBee

Free Ranging
8 Years
Sep 29, 2013
7,006
4,413
502
The Scenic Flint Hills of Kansas
Don't get hung up on the idea of "pure", I doubt there is any such thing in the IB's in the US. There are pure imported Greens but very few. There might be a few pure IBs hidden somewhere but they are as hard to find as hens' teeth. Then there are Spauldings which are a mix of the two. At some point or another, both Greens and Blues have been crossed and are no longer 'pure' from each other. In Greens there are no color or pattern mutations, those mutations are only in the Blues. Most colors are simple recessive and simple outbreeding will revert back to the regular wild pattern. The genes will still exist in the birds but will not express until matched with another bird carrying the same genes. Those genes can be hidden for many generations.

Don't be fooled into a sense of false security by feeding a medicated chick starter, it will not stop the chicks from getting cocci, you will need to watch them for signs of coming down and will need to treat quickly with a good anti-cocci medication.

If you noticed the eggs were not the same size so the chicks will be different sizes as well, they will equal out eventually.

The coloring of the head means nothing. Yes, you have a BS chick that means both parents are split to BS but at this point you can not tell the sex, that will come later in the 8 to 12 week age.
 

Waterfaery

Songster
7 Years
Jan 23, 2014
101
44
141
Thanks. I'm not in the US, I'm in Ireland, but since discovering the yellow chick I've been reading a lot about the different colours and patterns and I have a feeling the situation is the same here in terms of the pure IBs. There is probably no such thing here anymore either. I don't mind that they're not pure breeds because I love my birds the way they are but I was just surprised by the yellow chick. As for greens and spaldings, they don't really exist here at all as far as I know, or if they do it's extremely rare. Our climate is completely unsuitable for green peafowl.

I do understand that the medicated feed isn't a definite preventative but I do want to give them every chance possible of thriving and everything that will make a bit of a difference I want to do. I've read of some people giving them the medicated starter for the first few weeks and others giving it for a whole year. That's a big difference so I'm not sure what to do. I sort of thought the people who only give it for a few weeks were probably following what's done for chickens but that timeframe is only because of the egg withdrawal. Since we're not breeding the peafowl for eggs, I wondered about the best amount of time to leave them on it. It's obviously not the ideal nutritional balance but I'm bearing in mind that none of the commercially available foods are the ideal diet for peafowl anyway and we would be supplementing them with lots of fresh food in any case either way. Is there any sort of recommended timeframe for giving a medicated feed to peachicks?

I didn't really notice any difference in the egg sizes but the peahens never really let us examine them closely for too long. Especially with two of them on the nest, there was rarely an opportunity and I wanted to disturb them as little as possible. I do think a couple of the chicks seemed slightly smaller from the beginning but we didn't measure or weigh them or anything, so I can't be sure. The size difference is quite obvious now, though. As long as it doesn't indicate that the smaller ones aren't taking enough nutrition or anything?

With the BS, there are quite a lot of very dark feathers starting to come in, almost black in colour. Most are across the back at the tops of the wings (are they called the coverts?) and some on the shoulder area. Could that really still be a female? I wasn't expecting to be able to tell so soon but I thought the females stayed pale in colour. I don't know much about sexing them apart from what I've been reading the last few days.
 

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