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Incubating Peafowl Eggs & Raising Chicks ft Douglas Buffington

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Show Notes

Join Nicole and Douglas Buffington of the Peacocks Only Facebook Group as they talk about incubating peafowl eggs and raising chicks.

Our Guest

With 80 birds and several decades of experience raising peafowl, Douglas is quick to help those in need on his Facebook groups.

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    Episode #015: Caring for Peafowl and Thoughts on Life ft. Douglas Buffington


    0:01 Announcer: Welcome to the Backyard Bounty podcast from where we talk about all things backyard poultry, beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living, and more. And now here's your host, Nicole.

    0:17 Nicole: Hello, everybody. And thank you for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host, Nicole. And today we're joined by Doug who's the founder of the Peacocks Only Facebook group and a very experienced owner and he's here to share a little bit more of his knowledge with us. We recorded an episode a few months back, so if you're interested I’d definitely recommend that one. But today, we're gonna narrow it down and focus a little bit more, and so Doug, thank you so much for joining me today.

    0:50 Doug: Well, thank you for having me on and, and thank you for letting me talk about my favorite subject, peacocks.

    0:56 Nicole: Absolutely. You're such a wealth of knowledge and and you know peafowl are not quite as easy as chickens. So it certainly is helpful for anybody that has peafowl to be able to pick your brain and get some of your knowledge so that our birds can be happy and healthy and thrive.

    1:14 Doug: You know, chickens, they thrive with very little care, and they're resistant to more than diseases. So, you have to keep a little better eye on peacocks.

    1:23 Nicole: Yep, yep.Their work comes with their beauty, I suppose.

    1:28 Doug: Yeah, that's right. I want to talk to people about preparing for the laying season. You know, the preparation actually starts in January. And what you need to do is you need to worm your birds, give them worm medication. And whenever we're medication use just about any of them is good, except for Wazine, don't use Wazine. It's the oldest thing on the shelf and it's the poorest quality and it's the least effective and it's just not going to get good results with it. So whatever else you use, 10 to 12 days later you want to give them another dose, some give it in the water some give it directly down the beak, but you give them a second dose because they have laid eggs. And since the first dose, the eggs have hatched and you have a batch of new young larvae, so you want to be able to kill the second batch and get those worms under control.

    2:19 Nicole: And why do we want to worm the birds in January? What's the reason for that?

    2:23 Doug: Well, there's a couple of good reasons you know, because the roundworms will cause intestinal damage and they'll actually go in there and one of the one of the ways you detect the symptoms of round worms is if blood starts passing out in the poop. So they get in and they just do bad damage. There's another one called a fecal worm, which in and of itself is not the worst thing about the worm damage. They have a parasite on them, which is a protozoan. And the more common name for it is Black Head. and actually the head of the bird can turn to black. I think just like to say it for the shock value, Black Head. You know it just sounds so awful because it really is a deadly disease. If protozoans get in and multiply they're carried in by the worms and you'll see the symptom of those is yellow in poop. So you'll know when you've got those and the way you treat those, the Coccidiosis and the Black Head is to go ask your Vet for five tablets, 250 milligrams of Metronidazole in one tablet a day for five days and we'll knock it out. But you know, you want to give some worm medicine too to go with it.

    3:35 Nicole: Okay, so the worming them helps them to produce eggs or just to help their general health before they go into the laying seasons?

    3:42 Doug: It's going to keep them healthy. It really is. And you want to get them on a good laying pellet at least a month before you expect the first egg. Now we're all pretty much gonna get eggs by April 1. But you know that they can come in March in some of in different parts of the country. It's is a different time for me. And so you, want to get them on a chicken laying pellet, which is a complete diet. You want to get them on that a month before you get the first egg. Okay? And worm your birds a month ahead of time. And then you can go into the season and much better health, but I want to talk about collecting and storing the eggs.

    4:23 Nicole: Okay.

    4:23 Doug: A peacock is gonna lay pretty close to nighttime. Now you'll get eggs in late afternoon, daytime, but you're gonna get them all if they're gonna lay you're gonna get them after dark. And it's pretty predictable where they lay. They lay in pretty much in the same places. Now, people ask me all the time, well, what kind of nest box do I make? And we all make this boxes with the Peacocks. They just so often don't, don't use them. They scrape out a little bowl shape place on the ground and that's where the lay or the lay on top of the ground. I've put some platforms up in my barn in the corner, three, four foot off the ground. They jump up there and he'll lay in there. The favorite place to lay, is on top of the coops. So they lay just about everywhere and you have to look everywhere. But you get those eggs, you collect them and just before dark and don't put them in refrigerator, you can set them out on the counter for one to three days time. But if it's cold weather and the egg is cold, you need to live in a warm up to room temperature before you put them in the incubator. Don't go out there, It's 40 degrees and throw it in an incubator that's at 99.5 degrees, so you just won't let them warm up the room temperature and put them in, and if they're dirty, you can just wash them with soap and warm and warm water and wash them off. A lot of people think that they had some kind of magic seal around with the protects it from bacteria which you don't wash it. You don't need to do this or do that. But it's just not true, that egg comes out of there covered with all kinds of bacteria. If the egg has got poop on it or it's got mud on it or something else you need to wash them off.

    6:13 Nicole: Sure. Now, I I have a friend that has been raising peafowl for a long time. And occasionally, he'll give me some eggs to incubate. And he said that his hen lays what he calls dummy eggs that they're like unfertilized eggs that she lays away from the nest to detract predators. Is there any truth to that? Or is that maybe like an old wives tale?

    6:36 Doug: It may work out that way but the hen cannot control the fertility of the egg, and the hens not gonna know if the egg was fertile or not. So if you got some early season eggs, you know, in the early part of the season, you will get some that are not fertile, it may work out that way. It's not a regular part of what a Peacock does.

    6:56 Nicole: Sure, that makes sense.

    6:58 Doug: These are difficult to incubate, Peacock eggs, they're not like chicken eggs. Chicken eggs, you put them in an incubator, if you have some fluctuation in temperature and humidity, it will give you a pretty decent hatch rate. But a Peacock egg, you've got to get a good grip on the humidity: 60% and the temperature it needs to fluctuate from 99 and 100 and you're still gonna get some disappointing results if you get about 60-65% of chicks to hatch for everything you pick up are you doing pretty good. Well, some are going to be infertile some we're just not going to go full term they're just simply not going to hatch, and we all deal with this all every year we try to perfect the method but it doesn't seem like there's any magic.

    7:44 Nicole: And why do you think that that is?

    7:45 Doug: Oh I wish I knew. You know, I tell people, "Oh boy if I knew like I could really sell that." Yeah, so they're just difficult and they're probably not the only egg that's difficult to hatch in a incubator because, you know, when you get into other more exotic roads like cranes, expensive ducks or you know, other birds, you're probably not able to hatch as well.

    8:09 Nicole: Sure...

    8:10 Doug: But with the peacocks, you're going to have difficulty with them and you need to keep a lot of hands on hand and you need to have a lot of eggs. Now if you've got a chicken you put them under that chicken, you're going to do a lot better, putting them under a chicken. Or a turkey, because you know, you're just an incubator for substitute for a sitting heater. You'll do much better. And some people, I know one commercial guy, he says he hatches 200 chicks a year, Peacocks, and he says he keeps a flock of Silky Bantams which make the best suitors, he keeps a flock of silky bands and puts them under there for about eight days and then puts them in the incubator. He said that really important for his hatchery.

    8:53 Nicole: How interesting...

    8:54 Doug: Just one week of it, is so much better. They'll hatch in about 26-28 days, they might not sit on all of them, but even one week seems to improve the hatch.

    9:05 Nicole: So if somebody is not fortunate enough to have a flock of Silky moms, what's our incubation settings?

    9:12 Doug: Well, you're going to set the humidity to 60%. And we'll set the temperature to 99 to 100. Now, if you have an incubator, which is not forced rack, which means it doesn't have a fan of circulate the air, you have to increase the temperature by at least I think you have to run it 101. There's all kinds of incubators out there. And so some, some are going to be more effective than others. What people try to get ahold of the ones that go commercial, they try to get a hold of the great big, heavy duty ones that hold hundreds of eggs at one time. I don't know why somebody doesn't make a good, simple incubator.

    9:49 Nicole: I agree.

    9:50 Doug: They resurrect those things and they use those, but I use a cabinet incubator and I put in about I think about 100 medium eggs on three trays. I get fairly decent results. I still struggle with it every year.

    10:06 Nicole: And how many eggs do you usually set at a time?

    10:09 Doug: You know, on the startup, there's fewer eggs than on the tail end there's more eggs and then there's the rush in the middle. So sometimes I have to run three incubators.

    10:20 Nicole: Oh my goodness.

    10:21 Doug: Yeah, and I try to only hatch in one of them, but sometimes I pull them all up. You know, I get about 700 eggs a year during that rush period you know... cause a hatcher is different from an incubator, a hatcher is. And so I try not to get over there in the hatcher but sometimes I got to fill up the hatcher too. The only difference between hatching and incubating, is usually in the hatcher the eggs don't turn. It's automatically working, the eggs to substitute for turning the eggs. You have to turn the eggs or else the eggs just lay in one position.

    10:57 Nicole: And I know that you have some recommendations for after the chicks hatch once they're still in the incubator, or the hatcher?

    11:05 Doug: You bet, because these pea chicks, they're not like chickens especially not like guinea. I had some guinea years ago. And those suckers they just jump up and they're ready to run. I mean in 15 minutes are all over the place.

    11:18 Nicole: Yes, they are.

    11:20 Doug: A pea chick is not like that. You need to leave them in the incubator after they completely hatch. If you don't leave them in an incubator for three days. Now people wonder about eating and drinking. What some people will realize is that check will not eat and drink for the first three days. So if you keep them in there for three days and you're not eating, you're not drinking, you're doing fine. Because you know the yolk is actually what the bird lives off of the for first three days. Eventually the yolk is all consumed by the chick. So you, you leave them in there and on that third day, if you've got a clear glass in front of the incubator, so you can see in there when you turn that light, they'll come to the fron and peck on the glass to let you know it's time to come out. But they sometimes will need some assistance in hatching. See the trickiest part right here. They they want to poke a hole in the shell way too early. And so you know what's what is your first reaction? Well, let's make that hole bigger help this chick come out, but they do it prematurely. And if you do that, that chick is gonna bleed out and die. That thing is full of blood. So you have to leave it. If they poke a hole in it, don't try to assist them for three days. On that third day, you can try to assist them. And get ready for curled toes, if you ever help a chick out of an egg, get ready for toes to be curled up. I wish I had a scientific explanation why? But it's gonna happen. I'm gonna send you a link and you post it and I have a four minute video. A real simple process, it tells you how to straighten out those splayed legs and crooked ankles, it works like magic. It's real simple to do.

    13:03 Nicole: Yeah, we'll post that link in the show notes. And I know that I actually use that video for the pea chicks that I hatched out because sure enough, they had curled toes.

    13:13 Doug: Uh, huh...

    13:13 Nicole: It was not a complicated fix. It's a little hard to hold on to them when they're so wiggly, but it worked really well. And really quick.

    13:20 Doug: Yeah, 12 hours and you're finished, you know. Now sometimes you put one out in the coop. And somehow it's not quite the foot doesn't look exactly like we want it to. You just take them and put them back in there. Do the treatment over again. And in 12 hours, back in the incubator if you have a cabinet incubator an incubator that they'll fit in, 12 hours. And we'll put them back down because some people say, you know, we have to put them in there and we have to straighten the toes out, tape them down. And they'll say, "Well, you know that, that looks like torture." So you know what torture is, torture is letting that bird go through life crippled up.

    13:58 Nicole: Mmm hmm, absolutely.

    14:00 Doug: But that little box, I guess I've had right at 200,000 views on that video, and it's a video that doesn't have any language. I did the video with no sound, because I knew that people in foreign countries would be watching it, they wouldn't be able to follow the language thing.

    14:17 Nicole: Oh, sure.

    14:19 Doug: So I did everything with no sound. So you can share it anywhere in the world. And people tell me all the time now how well it works.

    14:26 Nicole: Yeah, that's really smart. And I know, being a member of that Peacocks Only Facebook group, that's a common problem. And I know that you've helped a lot of birds with that video.

    14:36 Doug: Well, when you look on YouTube, it only says I've got about 1700 views, but I got over 180,000 just sharing it around Facebook to the different poultry groups. So we've had we've had right up to 100,000 views of it and in the Peacocks Only group, about 26% of our membership is from people in other countries, so I hope some of benefited from it if you don't speak the language. And they grow them in some places I've never heard of, I've got to get a map and look them up... in the most unusual places. And, you know, here's the thing that's kind of sad and humorous at the same time. One time, you know, in Syria, they're out there killing everybody in the street every day. one guy's calling me asking me about his sick peacock. You know, they love their peacocks. That's right, they're shooting each other over there. I get them from Iran, from Iraq, Baghdad, and every little island that will make a dot in the ocean and they just are all over this world, peacocks are.

    15:39 Nicole: Do you think that peacocks are more prevalent in other countries than they are here in the US?

    15:44 Doug: No, they're most plentiful here in the US, and they're the cheapest here in the US.

    15:49 Nicole: Oh, really.

    15:49 Doug: They're hard to find in other countries, and they're very expensive. If you're in a foreign country, and you got you three or four breeding pairs of peacocks, oh boy, you're sitting on a gold mine.

    16:01 Nicole: Really?

    16:02 Doug: Yeah...

    16:02 Nicole: One of those things we take for granted, I guess.

    16:04 Doug: Yeah. And there are several places here in the United States that people may not know about this. Palos Verdes in California was the first one and they developed a feral flock you know, back in the 20s or 30s. Some guy, some old guy, because he died on the farm, you know, fizzled out, the peacocks moved in. The town, it built up around it and the peacocks are all over the town and they literally stop traffic in the road. and half the population's feeding them out the back door and the other half's trying to kill them. And I even have a feral flock. There's about seven thousand people here in this little bitty town that I live in. There's a feral flock out here, a guy moved off, moved to Canada, left his birds, they live in a wooded area. So neighbors tell me they will feed them.

    16:52 Nicole: Interesting.

    16:53 Doug: You're going to get feral flocks of peacocks all over. You can't catch those guys because they're just way too smart for you, once they get out there and turn wild.

    17:01 Nicole: So do they breed pretty well in a feral flock? Are they generally able to raise enough chicks and stuff to to continue their, their flock, because I know like, you know guinea fowl are terrible moms and I don't even know how they exist to this day because they're so awful but yeah, are feral peafowl pretty good at raising up some young?

    17:25 Doug: I would think that it would depend on the part of the country. Now I'm down here in Southeast Texas near the coast. And our winters are generally pretty mild. But Gosh, they got the snow and all at North. And so I don't know if they've got so many feral flocks up north. And people tell me all the time, you know, when I got a flock in the woods, they do just fine. But here's the thing about flock in the woods. They said they raised their chicks and they take care of it. You never know how many eggs were left in the nest, you know if they poke a hole in it. The next thing you know the fire ants, they go through the hole and into the egg. And then once the ants get into the nest, the Mom takes two or three chicks and heads out with them. And if one of them adds a foot or a leg problem, it gets left behind. I'm sure that they they're able to sustain themselves, but they do a lot better if they were medicated. It would be better if they were fed better and sheltered better because they're victim to all kinds of predators too, you know, you have coons you got fox, owls, everything in the world. The neighbor's dogs and everything and mink and everything comes them.

    18:29 Nicole: Sure. Well, I mean, easy pickins.

    18:32 Doug: Yeah, yeah.

    18:34 Nicole: So coming back around to when we raise our own chicks that are hopefully without those issues. What do we feed them? I know that that's always a challenge because you can't just go pick out some pea chick starter from your local feed store.

    18:51 Doug: Well it's a little simpler than people make it. If you ask anybody on on the Peacocks Only group, what are you feeding? If 100 people post it'll be 100 different things. And I tell people look, just buy some starter feed later or buy some laying pellets. I said, it's just that simple. Everybody wants to make a science experiment out of feeding the peacock. What do you have when you have a peacock? You got a chicken, it's got a blue neck and a long tail. You know, it's just like any other kind of bird. So you can't possibly know more than PhDs at Purina, or one of the major feed mills, you can't possibly know more than them. And so they will "I mix this and I mix that and I mix the other", they wound up with a whole bunch of stuff and very unknown nutritional value. And that's what they feed their birds. So just buy some chicken pellets, gosh, you know, it's not complicated. I've been keeping these birds out here. It's a four to six years now. Feeding chicken pellets all the time. But let me tell you about the starter. Okay, you need a medicated starter and in different parts of the country, it's got different brands of medicated starter. Down here in the south, I can only get that medicated Purina and it protects them against Coccidiosis. So if you got a hen that brings some chicks in, you need to pick those chicks up. As painful as it is to separate them from the mother, because she will complain a lot in the beginning, but you put those chicks in a coop on wire off the ground, and you feed them a medicated starter and you will do a lot better. And when you put those chicks back on the ground four months later that mom will find them and she'll tag along with them.

    20:36 Nicole: Now if they're on the dirt in the wild, or if they're hen raised, why do we need to put them up on the wire?

    20:43 Doug: Well, you know, I get asked that sometimes, people say, "Well, you know, out in the wild in India, where they come from, raised out there in the jungle", and I said, "Well, you don't have chickens out there in the jungle". You know, chickens, are worm and germ factories. They shed Coccidiosis, Black Head disease, they shed all kinds of worms, they're just more resistant to this kind of stuff. And when you pen birds, that's when you're gonna have trouble. Even if you medicate them and you treat them they'll get reinfected again. It's kind of like treating heartworms on a dog, you got to keep that maintenance up of heartworms all year round, because they're so easily reinfected if you don't. And birds in the wild or scattered out, they will come in contact with with each other and contaminate each other so bad. In the chicken yard, It's usually full of bacterial stuff, bogus stuff, worms, everything else.

    21:40 Nicole: So whereas it might be, I know some people would probably find it easier to let their hens just raise it, it sounds like there's a much higher success rate with taking them and feeding them this medicated feed and getting them up off the ground and whatnot.

    21:55 Doug: It takes a peacock eggs 14 weeks to develop their resistance to Black Head and Coccidiosis. And you just want to expose them to it before then, sure, because you're not going to have good luck. So, again, you know if the birds are scattered out, but have less of a problem but you're keeping them in a confined space and especially a pen, they're going to finally reinfect themselves all the time. And the chicks are going to pick it all up off the ground pecking the ground. And especially if they peck poop. They'er gonna pick up the Coccidiosis and black head in the worm eggs.

    22:31 Nicole: And do you have any recommendations as far as this wire floored brooder? Is this something that you can maker or, it's something that you buy, you know what, what does that look like?

    22:44 Doug: It kind of depends on what part of the country you're in, now down here in the South. I've built a 4' x 8' coop with the door reaching 4' x 8' and I put them in there and I put two heat lamps. I hang one. It's a shop lamp lamps you buy them at Walmart and hang one in each end and get 100 watt floodlight for each one because you want to have two lights in case one of them goes off, you know burns out.

    23:10 Nicole: Oh, sure.

    23:10 Doug: You don't want your chicks exposed to cold temperature overnight, but that lamp will keep them warm enough for me. When you're further up north, you're going to have to have something, you're gonna have to build something that will maintain the temperature a little better. But like I said, I just put sheet metal on the back and make it three foot tall. And four by eight, put some sheet metal on the back and sheet metal on the roof and wire on the front doors on the doors on each end with the two drop lights in your good. Now later on in the summer, let me tell you this, this is important. A pea chick more than any other chick craves heat. I don't care if they're three months old and they're sitting under a shed and they want that heat lamp. Now if it gets during the day, if it gets too warm, they'll move away from the light until they find a comfort zone. They'll move away from it. And if gets really just too hot, you can always raise the height of the lamp up a little bit. Or you can change the wattage on the bulb. Until they go on the ground, you've got to keep a heat lamp on them. I have people that hatched chicks, and they'll say "we've got these chicks and they're dying". So okay, where are you keeping them? Well, I've got them in the house. All right, what's the temperature now? So 75 degrees. You got to a heat lamp? No. So okay, get some heat on them and the best thing is to not bring them inside the house. With a heat lamp on you keep them out in the shed or a barn somewhere, or in the coop. You keep the heat lamp on them.

    24:04 Nicole: And you said keep the heat lamp on them until they're roughly four months old?

    24:47 Doug: Yeah, you get ready to put them on the ground. What you do then is you change them to grow out pen. You're going to pen them when they finished growing out. But you you feed them that medicated starter, you know always. You can feed that dedicated starter if they're a year old if you want to, but you've got to have it the first four months. That's very important. And notice when I say they build a resistance to black head and Coccidiosis the first four months. I'm saying resistance because the immune system of peacock is never gonna be as good as a chicken. It's like a turkey. Turkeys they don't have the strongest immune system in the world. I don't know, have you've ever tried to raise turkeys?

    25:29 Nicole: I have two of them actually.

    25:30 Doug: Do you have good luck with them?

    25:32 Nicole: Well, they're the only two I've ever had and I lost one as a chick. But these other two I got lucky. I started out with three Narragansett poults and I ended up with two Tom's and hen and one of the Tom's passed as a baby I'm not really sure what happened but I've had them about two years now and they're they're doing great. They live with my pea fowl and my pheasants and everybody seems to get along pretty well

    25:58 Doug: Do you have chickens?

    26:00 Nicole: I do, but they're in a separate pen.

    26:02 Doug: Okay, good. Because, also if you keep away from chickens, you'll do you'll have better luck with them. It sounds like you're doing all right. But let me tell you something else about medication. You know, they have what they call federal vet directive. Okay, we're pulling all the medications off the shelf.

    26:19 Nicole: Yep, that's made it very challenging.

    26:21 Doug: That control they had for black heads in turkey feed, they started taking that out in early 90s. So since that time, everybody's wondering why turkeys and my peacocks are all dying, so what the heck's the matter. So what it is, is they're not putting that Dimatrimizone in, it's all natural feed. It's one thing to put in there and feed but the real health concerns and I agree with them on it. But when they when they came back with it, they defined poultry as chickens, guineas, geese, ducks, turkeys will say anything about pigeons. So when you go to the pigeon sites or when medication is there on the shelf, you can get whatever you want. But it's powders that you have to mix with water. And you have to catch your bird if you got a sick one you have to catch them when they're still drinking pretty good. So we can drink up to medical water, although there's a way to syringe it down your throat. It's hard for me to describe and just kind of have to see the video on it. But you can still get medications, you know, to the pigeon sites. And there's a medication called "All In One", sometimes it's called "Five In One", and it will treat absolutely everything that's wrong with the bird, the worms, the Coccidiosis, and Aximydia and Canker. Have you ever run into Canker, it's a growth of pigeons get in their throat and eventually it grows and chokes them.? Have you ever had that?

    27:46 Nicole: Um, ironically, no, but when I was younger, I used to volunteer at a raptor center so a rehabilitation facility for injured birds of prey and we would often get birds in with Trichomoniasis.

    28:02 Doug: Yeah. Well, peacocks don't get that often, but they do get it and it shows up as a sometimes a whitish, pale yellow growth in the throat, it's easy to see, but you give them that medication for five days, that Metronidazole will knock it out, those tablets. I think that medication for five isn't gonna take care of you. But so I ask people sometimes if you got any pigeons, and they said, "Well, you know, we feed the birds and everything comes in here and eat with them. I think the doves and maybe picking up doves if you don't have wild pigeons, pigeons, it's very common with pigeons.

    28:37 Nicole: So with our chicks, when can we tell what their gender is? You know, everybody, of course, wants to know and I always see these pictures. Do you think it's a male or female? And there's all kinds of speculation but when can we know for sure and what are some of the things that we should look for?

    28:52 Doug: This is one of those things where a picture better than 1000 words, but let me tell you some of your listeners may not know this. But a lot of people don't realize it, but there's 125 different colors and color patterns of peacocks. Some of them are just not easy to tell. Now a lot of people want to send their whites in and get some DNA testing for about 13 bucks. But you don't have to do that you might get up about three months old, and a male's tail, it's eventually going to grow a long tail. So about three months old, you'll see his tail is going to be more pointed and spiked and a little longer. And a hen's tail, which is going to be shorter, will be more rounded. So if you got one that looks spiky, one that's a longer tail, it's male, otherwise, it's a hen. And if you're looking at most of the other colors, they'll have bars on the wing. And about two to three months, hens will start losing the bars on the wings. That's the best way to tell on them.

    29:56 Nicole: And if somebody's unsure, I assume that they can post pictures on the group and people will be there to help them?

    30:02 Doug: Post a photo and if somebody's got that color they'll tell you.

    30:05 Nicole: Okay great.

    30:05 Doug: The ones are a little hard for me to sort out or the Spaldings, there's a Java Green that you can mix with any of those hundred and 25 colors and you come out with hybrid birds. I don't like those hybrids in Spaldings and I'll tell you why. I don't like the Java Greens even. I've never kept them. A Java Green is a spooky, wild bird. And it's mean to the other bird and to the keepers. Yeah. So I never want to mess with it. And when you breed it to like an India Blue, you'll come out with a Spalding. And the thing about Spaldings are, you may get a really good looking bird but they don't breed true. That offspring that you get when you breed those will come out some some other pattern of color. So they don't breed true and they're mean and even the hybrids, often kind of spooky and flighty.

    30:57 Nicole: Interesting.

    30:58 Doug: I have a hard time sorting those Spaldings out when they're young. And so I if somebody asked about it, I just, I made other people answer those questions I know how to do because I've never even seen the Java green nor have I seen the Spalding except in photos. They're just a little hard to start out if especially if you haven't seen one.

    31:17 Nicole: Sure. So this might be you know, kind of a lot of information for people that are just starting to to do the research about incubating peafowl eggs but do you have any other last minute takeaways or any other tips for those that might want to get started?

    31:34 Doug: Well, yeah, so do you remember we said that the best way to hatch a peacock is with a turkey or chicken? You may be wondering, why are we not hatching them with the peacock hen, they are just not reliable sitters. They'll sit on that nest for two weeks and then they'll get up and go, or more likely they won't sit on it at all. So you're better off with a chicken or a turkey, or an incubator is gonna be your third choice. And we said you know It's some problems. So with incubators they don't, the batch rate is often not what you want it to be an incubator, but you know, if you don't have anything else, that's what we use. So I wanted to tell you about the incubator placement, where do you put the incubators is very important. If you put it in a barn or an open shed or shop or somewhere outside where a room or a space where the humidity and the temperature is going to fluctuate, you're going to have trouble because you're going to have the humidity and temperature fluctuate in the incubator also. So you need to keep them in a place, preferably not 80 degrees or under. Now when I say under, I don't mean way under because if you've got it out somewhere where it's 30 degrees, your incubator may not be able to keep the heat up, you know, it may not be able to keep it up. So anything between about, you know, 60 and 80 degrees is real good. But it's especially important to consider the humidity when you set the humidity on an incubator, that humidity in the ambient space, the space outside the incubator that humanity is going up and down, it's gonna go up and down inside the incubator too. So you want a room where the humidity and temperature are going to be stable and about 60-80 degrees. And then you set your incubator. Now let me tell you about why you don't want more than 80 degrees. Once that incubator reaches 90 degrees, I wish I had a more technical explanation for you, but it is simply not going to function properly and it's not going to hatch any of the eggs, whatever you put into it. So you got to keep the ambient temperature down.

    33:42 Nicole: Okay.

    33:43 Doug: And you've got to candle the eggs. At 10 days, you take a flashlight, if you get really small Mag Lights they really work the best, the Mag lights about three or four inches long. You turn the lights out, put the put the light under the egg. If there's something growing in there, then you know you're okay, and it's clear and all you can see is the yolk, then you need to discard that one for 10 days because it's not fertile. But let me tell you man, one more thing.

    34:12 Nicole: Sure.

    34:12 Doug: A lot of people are reporting good success some people are just having a few eggs like 12 to 20 eggs. A lot of people reporting really good success with the Nurture 360 that you can get from Amazon or Tractor Supply. It seems to be doing a really good job on a small scale for people who are hatching eggs and they don't have a pen.

    34:35 Nicole: And you said that was the Nurture 360?

    34:38 Doug: Nurture 360 it's $149 and I think it may be $10 more on Amazon because you know, they have to have the free shipping.

    34:47 Nicole: Of course, well being an Amazon seller, I can also say that Amazon charges a ton of fees. But i digress... So I'll put a link to that incubator so that people can find it.

    35:00 Doug: Yeah, yeah. Now you have to modify it to take a larger eggs. But if you join the Peacocks Only group, you ask somebody, how do I modify my Nurture 360 and there'll be 10 people show you a photo.

    35:13 Nicole: Okay great. And so obviously if listeners hadn't heard yet the Peacocks Only group is your group and you're on there as Douglas Buffington, and you're an amazing resource. And so if anybody has peafowl, definitely check out that Facebook group and I'll put a link to that as well. But yeah, I know that you've saved my birds on multiple occasions and I've seen you save other birds and I can't even begin to express to you how grateful I am for your group and for your help.

    35:41 Doug: Well, you know, that's like music to my ears. Because that's my mission is to help people be successful the birds. Have you ever accessed the file section of the group?

    35:52 Nicole: I have.

    35:52 Doug: Oh, everything you could possibly want to know about peacock is posted there, it's a great source of information. It is It's very difficult to find them on the internet if you can find it at all.

    36:04 Nicole: Mm hmm.

    36:04 Doug: And the thing about peacock information, those poultry groups, there's just a lot of bad information floating around. And we've got the straight dope. You want to straight dope, you access our files, there's 60 pages there that'll tell you anything you want to know about peacocks.

    36:22 Nicole: Yep, absolutely. Everything from how to give your birds medication to how to deworm them to identifying and treating illnesses. I mean, it's really an amazing resource.

    36:36 Doug: People tell me I need to write a book and I tell them I've already wrote a book you just copy one page at a time.

    36:43 Nicole: There you go.

    36:44 Doug: Some people tell me they have downloaded it, and they keep it in plastic inserts in a notebook.

    36:50 Nicole: Sure. Yeah, that's a great idea. Well, Douglas I really appreciate your time and sharing you know some more knowledge about peafowl with us. Again, if you have listened to this episode and you found it interesting, please check out the other episode that Douglas and I recorded together and hopefully we can plan some more episodes in the future. And Douglas, thank you again for your time today!

    37:11 Doug: It was wonderful to talk to you, and I hope all those people out there thinking about peacocks get encouraged to get some.

    37:18 Nicole: Absolutely. And for those of you listening, thank you so much for joining us and we'll see you again next week.

    37:24 Announcer: Thank you for listening to Backyard Bounty, a podcast by Don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show. please email us at ask at Also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube at Heritage Acres Market. All the links mentioned in this podcast will be included in the description. See you again next week!

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