Are you thinking about hatching peacock eggs under a chicken?
Maybe you’ve gone into your run, aviary, whatever type of enclosure you have for your birds and found a hen sitting on a peafowl egg?
It’s really not that uncommon.
Broody hens will think nothing of sitting on just about any eggs they come across, even fake eggs!
But does it work - are chickens able to incubate and hatch peafowl eggs?
Chickens can hatch peacock, or ‘peafowl’ eggs to use the proper term, yes.
But it’s not always a good idea, and it’s certainly not a good idea to try and let your hens raise peachicks once they’re born.
Can a Broody Hen Hatch Peacock Eggs?
Broody hens can incubate and hatch peafowl eggs, yes.
I’ve heard of it happening many times, and discussed it with friends who have seen it happen in their flock.
Some chicken breeds are known to be more broody than others and more likely to successfully incubate a peafowl egg, but it’s not as uncommon as you may think.
There are pros and cons to allowing a hen to sit on and incubate a peafowl egg, however.
The pros are that it’s a natural way to hatch an egg. It’s a wonderful and rewarding experience seeing a hen incubate an egg and seeing that chick hatch naturally.
The cons are that a peafowl egg is a lot bigger than a chicken egg, so there is always a risk that it will not hatch successfully if the chicken cannot cover it sufficiently or they try to sit on too many.
There are also possible complications when the peachick hatches. I’ve heard multiple accounts from backyard chicken owners who said that the hen didn’t properly care for the chick after it hatched.
So, the bottom line is that hatching peacock eggs under a chicken is possible, and it does happen.
But it’s something you’ll need to keep a close eye on. You should step in and help should you need to, and keep track of how many days the hen has been on the egg.
When the peachicks hatch, it’s best that you move them to a brooder to care for them.
It’s unlikely the mother peahen will take them in and care for them, and the chicken hen might not be able to.
Related - Here's how many eggs broody hens can sit on.
How Long Does Peacock Eggs Take to Hatch?
The gestation period or the number of days it takes for peafowl eggs to hatch when they’re being incubated - either by a hen or in an incubator - is 28-29 days.
Peahens, much like all birds, will naturally go broody and sit on their eggs to incubate them. Just as a chicken hen also will, if you need or find the chicken sitting on the egg.
If you do need to intervene, or if you’re hatching eggs without a peahen/hen you’ll need to use something called an incubator.
An egg incubator is an electrical device that keeps eggs at a specific temperature and humidity, just as the eggs would be underneath the mother bird.
I guess you look at an incubator as a surrogate for a peahen.
The added benefit of using an incubator is that you’re able to incubate and hatch a larger number of eggs at one time while keeping a closer eye on them.
Are Peacock Eggs Hard to Hatch?
It’s not hard to hatch peacock eggs, and it’s certainly made easier if you have a good incubator and all of the other kit designed to help.
I’ve seen large numbers of peafowl eggs being incubated in a commercial setting, and I’ve also seen them being incubated at home in a small incubator.
The process is the same. An incubator will keep eggs at an optimal temperature (99-100 F or 37.5 C) and humidity level, and these are the main things you need to keep an eye on.
Peafowl eggs need to be turned every 45 minutes or so, and this is something an incubator designed for peafowl eggs will do automatically.
On day 26, you can move the eggs to a hatching unit - or some people reduce the temperature to 97.5 F or 36.5 C and increase the humidity.
Peafowl eggs hatch between days 27-30. This can vary slightly, usually depending on the temperature, slightly warmer and eggs tend to hatch a little sooner.
If you’re considering hatching peacock eggs under a chicken - or if you’ve found a broody hen already sitting on a peafowl egg - it’s very likely they’ll be able to incubate and hatch the egg.
Sometimes it happens accidentally, and some people deliberately use broody hens to hatch goose, duck, peafowl, or other species of eggs.
Either way, if you keep different species of birds together, it’s not that unlikely to find one sitting on the eggs of another bird.
Image credits - Photo by tasy5kg on Unsplash