30 Keets Born On 8/6/13 And This Is Our Story

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by bestgear, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. bestgear

    bestgear Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2013
    August 8, 2013
    The call (voicemail) came at 6:31am on 8/8/13 from Mary at the Post Office stating "your birds are here". I called her back at 6:32am and she didn't hesitate to say "it doesn't matter that we aren't open, knock on the back door and I'll let you in", good small town customer service. The keets were safely home by 7:00am and their life in Maryland begins.
    We ordered 30 assorted straight run keets from Murray McMurray in Webster City Iowa and were guaranteed of at least three different colors. Upon opening the shoe-box size well designed shipping box we discovered that 2 of the keets didn't complete the journey but we had braced ourselves for some attrition and felt that a >90% survival rate in the middle of the summer is acceptable so we moved on to the 28 that now call themselves Marylanders.
    We had prepared ourselves well for their arrival. We ordered a keet starter kit from the hatchery and supplemented it with a 3 foot round and 8 inch deep children’s swimming pool. These are the details of our setup:


    • We setup our brooder inside (on our pool table) for multiple reasons; it's easier to maintain a critical 95 degree F. temperature for the first week, it's easier to check-in and bond regularly and we like the sound of them chirping.
    • The wading pool is surrounded by the cardboard brooder that came in the starter kit which raises the side walls to 12 inches. The pool is covered with 5 double-page newspaper sheets and then lightly covered with straw.
    • The other items from the starter kit (feeder, waterer (with marbles to prevent drowning) and a thermometer) along with a paper towel with some feed were placed on the floor of the pool.
    • The 250 watt heat lamp from the starter kit is hung from a hook in the ceiling directly above the brooder. We removed the clamp that came with the lamp and just use the bail that is well secured to the lamp. The bail is tied to a rope cord that is used to adjust the height which allows us to regulate the temperature at the bottom of the brooder.

    The keets were individually removed from the box, held for a moment, tipped into the waterer twice, held for a second under the heat lamp and then gently released into the brooder. It took almost 30 minutes but it gave us a chance for some quick bonding and examination time which we think is of great importance. The keets immediatly began pecking the floor looking for food and it wasn't long before they found the feed on the paper towel and sounded the alarm! We are pleased to report that their intake has produced output and that all systems appear to functioning normally.

    Folks this process is akin to bringing home a baby which is pretty much what we had expected. The checking is constant and this being our first flock of anything we had no experience other than what we learned raising two boys. We knew that if the basics of shelter, heat, food and water were accommodated then the rest was up to genetics and God. Each hour that passed our confidence grew and at about 2:00pm they all settled-down, stopped chirping and pecking to put their heads down and sleep. Witnessing that for the first time is like watching your own child being content; we knew we were doing something right.

    The first day watch ended at 11:00pm and everyone seemed happy and well.

    August 9, 2013
    The second day watch started at 5:00am with a slow approach to the brooder not knowing what we were about to see. To our great surprise all 28 keets had survived overnight, we are thrilled! The temperature was perfect, the keets were eating and drinking and busy chasing each other around the brooder. Our general observation is that they seem very happy and healthy.

    So our research taught us that a key part of a keet being healthy is ensuring that enough water and feed are being taken-in to support proper urine and feces production. We are happy to report that they are healthy little keets and in need of a bedding change. The process we followed this morning with our setup is simple:
    • fold in the top and bottom of a 12" x 12" USPS Priority Mail box so that the top and bottom are open
    • move aside the newspaper from the side of the pool and slide the USPS box onto the floor of the pool
    • move the keets one-by-one into the USPS box
    • remove the waterer, feeder and thermometer
    • discard the newspaper and straw
    • reline the brooder with newspaper and straw and replace the feeder on the brooder floor
    • wash the thermometer and waterer and refill with clean room temperature water and place on the brooder floor
    • prepare a damp tissue to wipe any pasty-butt discovered during the examination
    • take a keet from the USPS box and inspect it's eyes for clarity and it's butt for pasty-butt. If it's butt needs to be wiped then take care of that now
    • Hold and bond with the keep for 20-30 seconds after the examination and gently place back into the brooder.
    • Repeat this process for all keets.
    This morning the process took about 30-minutes and only 6 had pasty-butt.

    We are also happy to report that we think we have six different colors: 6 White, 5 Lavender, 3 Slate, 6 Pearl Gray, 4 Buff and 4 Chocolate. Deciding who has to leave the flock knowing that our coop can't hold 28 adult guineas is going to be difficult. We have a local home lined-up for three of the keeps but at least another dozen will need to find good homes before they become adults. We'll address and solve that problem another day, for now we are going to enjoy the time we have with the keets because we know how quickly it goes. More tips and observations tomorrow, Happy Trails.
     
  2. Sage874

    Sage874 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2012
    Congratulations! Last year was my first year raising guinea keets and it was totally different from chickens but I loved it.
    I have 22 eggs waiting to hatch now fingers crossed. Would love to see pics!
     
  3. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL, congrats, but where's the pics?

    What are you feeding them? (Hopefully high proteinTurkey, Pheasant or Game Bird starter!). Did you put poultry vitamins in their drinking water? Or sugar? If you used sugar, that may be contributing to pasty butt instead of the shipping stress...

    But it may also be because of the 250 watt heat lamp you are using. You don't want the entire brooder that temp, just in the area directly under the glow of the lamp... the keets need to be able to get away from the heat if they want (being too warm can cause pasty butt). IME, a 100 watt regular bulb in the heat lamp shroud works just as well... (and costs a lot less to run).

    I know you said lightly covered with straw, but the word newspaper used in any way shape or form when it comes to young keets really makes me cringe... lol. I'd deepen the layer of straw, or use a thick layer of rough textured paper towels under the straw instead of the newspaper, to avoid any and all possibility of having to deal with any splayed legs.

    They'll be flying out of your brooder set up and end up all over your house within a week or so, so hopefully you have plans for adding a top to your pool brooder set up, or a new enclosed brooder in the works. A loose keet is a lightning fast keet, believe me, and I swear they end up in the most impossible places for us to get to them, on purpose lol.

    Good luck and Thanks for sharing you experience with us so far [​IMG]
     
  4. Sage874

    Sage874 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2012
    So? howz it going? My batch are due to hatch in a few days. Fingers crossed. I use puppy wee wee pads in a pack n play for the first 2 weeks then out to the brooder house. I love wee wee pads. I put about 2 dozen 24x36" ones in the P&P then roll up as needed to clean. Voila!
     
  5. bestgear

    bestgear Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2013
    So my initial goal was to write a daily journal on the growth of our flock........forget that.......these little guys have kept us very busy!

    Our original count was wrong; we now have 31 keets and they are all doing well. This Friday (8/30) we are splitting the flock in two since our coop can only hold about a dozen adult guineas.

    This has been a great experience that I would highly recommend to anyone considering raising guinea fowl.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Cute babies, and yes they do keep you busy, lol. But if you think 31 is bad... try hatching out 700-800 in a season, it'll make you nuts (been there done that, barely recovered from it, lol).

    How big is your coop? If it's the coop in the pics, then it looks a little small for 12 adult Guineas... they need no less than 4 sq ft of floor space per adult bird.
     
  7. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    C-U-T-E keets! I love that stage.
     
  8. bestgear

    bestgear Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2013
    My goal is to have 6-8 adult hens in our 40 sq. ft. coop. After Friday we will have fourteen 4-week-old keets that I hope to raise until late winter in the coop and then find new homes for the roosters leaving 6-8 hens; does this sound like a good plan or am I setting myself for failure/disappointment?

    Since they moved from the brooder to the coop a week ago they have been pushing all of the straw to one end of the coop. The more straw I add the more they move. It seems as though they want one end of the coop floor uncovered with straw. Has anyone else experienced this and am I doing something wrong?

    Also, I've been consumed with keeping the temperature at the floor at the prescribed 95/90/85 degrees for the first three weeks but now that they are starting to get full feathers do I need to be so particular about the temperature? The 10-day forecast here in Maryland has the average high around 82 and the lows around 67. The 250W heat lamp in combination with windows and vents allows me to currently moderate the overnight temperature at 85 degrees. If I were to stop using the light and close the windows and vents I would guess that the coop temperature would be around 70 for the next 10-days. Any thoughts about what my gameplan should be regarding moderating tempearture in the coop?
     
  9. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Keep the heat going (the 5th week should be at 75, 6th week at 70). Maybe you know this already, but they need to have the correct temp under the lamp - not throughout the whole coop. Don't rely on ambient temps unless the heat/temp is too hot during the day, and then changing from a 250 heat lamp to a 75 or 100 watt light bulb will do the trick. My preference is to bring them down to 70 degrees and then keep them there for an extra week, but only at night. I live in the South, and it gets wicked hot here, but the temps will drop at night (plus it's "monsoon season" down here), so I turn the light on at night only and it's VERY warm for them during the day, in which case I don't use lighting at all and give them plenty of fresh cool water and air flow. Getting the right temp during the day and then at night takes some tweaking from day to day sometimes. Does that make sense???? I'm rambling....:).
     
  10. bestgear

    bestgear Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2013
    No JLeigh your not rambling - your information is helpful and basically confirms that I'm on the right track (plus my guineas have confirmed that with great growth and observed happiness). I have a wireless thermometer mounted at floor level in the direct path of the heat lamp so I know for sure the warmest part of the coop at night and I can regulate that with ventilation and heat lamp height. I'm not worried about daytime temperatures because they are all over the target temperatures (and I keep the coop well ventilated and my guineas freshly watered) but I don't want my guineas to be cold overnight. So in short, I'm going to continue with a regimen of temperatures not lower than 80 for week 4, 75 for week 5 and 70 for weeks 6-8 afterwhich I don't have to rely on the heat lamp to warm the coop. Does this sound correct?
     

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