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Expecting my guinea eggs to hatch in the next week. What to expect?!

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by TarheelBirdy, May 9, 2011.

  1. This is my first try with guinea eggs! I have a batch of nine eggs in the incubator, and Friday will be day 25. I'm so excited and a little nervous about doing things right.

    I bought a 24% protein game bird starter. I have a chick feeder. Does anything need to be done to teach them to eat it? Do I need to do anything to prepare the feed, or is it ready to go just as it is?

    Any other tricks, ideas, tips and advice for my keets and what to do to give them a great start?

  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    BFE, CA
    After the keets have hatched and are dry and fluffed I move them to their brooder and dip their beaks in their water a couple times really quick, making sure that I see them swallow a couple times. I'll do that every few hours for the first day or until I see them drinking on their own (and I usually add poultry electrolytes with vitamins in it to their water for the first week). I probably don't need to dip their beaks that often OR add the electrolytes, but it makes ME feel better if I do, lol. I put marbles in the waterer so they can't fall in and drown themselves, and I keep the water close so they don't have to wander too far at first. As they get more active I move it farther away.

    The Game Bird Starter feed should be ready to go, it's in a crumble form, right? To get them to start eating I usually sprinkle some crumbles on a paper towel in their brooder and I'll tap my finger in the food or flick it around a little to get their attention and they usually start pecking at it right away. Once one does it, the rest get in on it too. You will notice them pecking at the floor of the hatcher before they are even dry, so they have a pretty strong natural instinct to start eating right away. I also have a full chick feeder near by, close at first like the water them I move it farther away as they start running all over the brooder.

    Make sure you use bedding in the brooder that is not slippery. Never use newspaper unless you have something that gives them good footing over the top of it, because in a matter of hours they can end up with splayed legs from doing the splits on a slippery surface. I use old towels (with no loose strings), rubberized shelf liner or textured paper towels for the first couple days, changing them out 2-3 times a day because they are little poop machines. After that I put them on coarse grass hay or straw for a couple days. No alfalfa because they will eat the leaves and they can get impacted crops and die. After I'm confident that they are eating and drinking well I'll put them on coarse shavings. Make sure they are not filling up on the shavings tho (if you use them), again they can get impacted crops and die.

    The first day or so they don't move too far from the glow of the brooder lamp, they are pretty sleepy. It's a good idea to put the brooder lamp at only one end of their brooder so they can get away from the heat if they get too hot. Have the temp directly under the glow of the brooder lamp between 95-90 degrees the first week then drop the temp 5 degrees each week until they are feathered at around 6 weeks or until your night time temps are in the 60s. You don't have to use a heat lamp type bulb, a regular 100 watt bulb works perfectly and it much cheaper. After they are 4 weeks old sometimes I just use the brooder lamp at night, and let them get some sunshine during the day (if you have a safe place to move them to where dogs cats and predators can't get to them).

    One last thing... I also put a mirror in the brooder taped to the wall for them... it seems to calm them, probably because it makes them think there are more keets in the brooder with them.

    Good luck with your hatch, hope it all goes well [​IMG]
  3. PeepsCA - I am so grateful for the time and consideration you put into your response! I'm feeling much more prepared now, thanks to you!

    Today is day 22. I candled my eggs and all but one are looking good! (The one only had a slightly dark area visible....nothing like the really large, very dark areas that took up all but a small bit of the other seven eggs) So, this weekend, I may have as many as seven little guineas pipping! Getting anxious to meet them!

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