PEAFOWL NESTING BOXES
Peahens nest on the ground in the wild. They will scrape out a shallow depression in the ground and line it with grass or whatever vegetation available. The nest is concealed under brush, in high grass, along a fence row, and etc. I would like to share with you a couple nest box designs that I use after observing the habits of our free range peafowl on our farm here in Indiana. I have seen our peahens use a second story hay and straw maw many times to hide their nests. I had one peahen make a nest twice on top of lumber stored about 10' in the air above one of our tractors stored inside our tool shed. This peahen laid her eggs on top of the boards which turned out to be a poor choice since a couple would always roll away from the nest and fall to the floor. This is how I found her nest both times when the broken eggs were discovered. After observing this behavior many times, I started providing nest boxes for my peafowl using the designs that I will describe in the following paragraphs.
The first nest box design is a triangular shaped nesting platform made of wood. I use rough sawn 1 inch x 6 inch lumber to make this platform. The sides of the platform are 32 inches long. The front of the platform is 46 inches long. The boards that form the bottom of the platform extend beyond the side boards by 6 inches on each side of the platform. This is done so that the entire platform can be secured in a corner of the shelter. Once the platform is constructed and secured in a corner, hay or straw is used to line the platform to create the nest. Peahens will not carry nesting material up to the nesting platform on their own. I add aporcelain goose egg to act as a fake, nest egg to encourage the hens to use the nest.
The second nest box design is one that uses an empty plastic 55 gallon drum that has been rinsed out thoroughly. Using a jig saw or reciprocating saw, cut the drum in equal thirds. Keep the top and bottom sections and discard the middle ring. Attach a couple 2" x 4"s to the top and bottom sections of the drum so that they can be secured in a corner of the shelter. Hay or straw and a fake nest egg are added to complete the nest boxes.
I mount these nest boxes about 5' above the floor of the shelter. The height is not critical. Mount them so that egg collection is easy. I collect my eggs daily so that the peahens don't start to sit on the nest. Multiple hens will use these nest boxes and it makes it very easy to collect eggs since they are in one location. These nest boxes keep the eggs clean and safe. Both of these nest boxes can be used on the ground as well. I would suggest adding to some weight to the bottom of the plastic drum nest boxes so that they don't tip over easily.
I have found both of these designs to be very affective and they last forever if they are mounted inside of the peafowl shelters. I hope that you have found this article to helpful and thank you for reading. I have learned through many years of raising birds and animals that many of the best ideas come from observing how mother-nature does things. Please visit our web site, www.hopkinslivestock.com, for more ideas on raising peafowl and to see our farm.