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Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by chickengoose14, Jan 21, 2013.
are guinea fowl good mothers
No, they are generally not good mothers at all. They'll brood and hatch their eggs, but then the keets are pretty much on their own and the losses can be heavy.
Most people who want keets generally gather the eggs and hatch them out, or they'll gather the keets when the hen hatches them and brood them up. Some people put eggs under a broody chicken hen - who are generally great mothers. I hatch in an incubator, but this year I'm hoping to hatch under a broody chicken hen in addition to the incubator.
NO they are terrible mothers. Last summer one of my guinea hens hatched 17 keets, one died shorty after it left the nest, it was choked between the teeth on a rake. Any ways, long story short only two are alive today. They dont take care of their young, so if your going to let her hatch them, make sure you raise them or a broody chicken does.
I had a hen hatch 4 keets last year. She and another hen took care of them and they are all alive and doing fine toady. They followed the two hens around all day for months. Maybe I just got lucky.
Yep, you got lucky Tom, lol. Plus a Hen (with help) raising/keeping track of just 4 keets is drastically different than a full clutch of the average 16-20 keets.Some start out with 16-20 and end up with only 4. Typically if the environment isn't well controlled and/or protected, a clutch of baby keets hatched by Momma Guineas doesn't fare well.
Chickengoose14... there's lots of past posts/threads discussing Guineas raising their own offspring here on the BYC Guinea forum (both positive and negative), but here's a recent thread that may shed some light on the subject for you. It can work out great for some, but not all. And in the right conditions, yes they can be excellent Mothers... but it varies from situation to situation/flock to flock. There are lots of variables are involved that help or hinder their success. I do not let my Guinea Hens raise their own keets... mainly because I breed for certain colors (and keep certain colors from my hatches), so letting the Mommas hatch and raise their own keets here in my set up is just not worth the risk of loss to me.
We had a guinea hen hatch out 15 in the chicken house. after a couple of days, it became clear that a free for all was not going to work. Actually 2 hens and one male were guarding the brood. but even 3 parents could not keep up with 15. so... we gathered up 2 hens, and 15 babies and put them in a 8'x2.5' pen in the chicken house. Lost one that night.(failure to thrive. it was the smallest and not growing). we kept them in there until they were about 8-12 weeks old. then we would open the door and run them outside into a pen during the day and back in at night. we did that for a week or two, then started the free ranging them.
When they began to free range the 2 hens and one boy would run off anything that got too close.
of the original 15 we have 14 left now about 5 months old and are the best young ones at going in at night, and better yet they know how to go BACK OVER the fence (except for one dumb boy)
We only have coral blue, but we have a bunch of them!
They would NOT have survived if we had not confined them (after we gathered them up from being scattered in the field) My opinion, take them away, or confine them for a LONG time if you want them to survive
The breeder I got mine from said no, as many do. However, I had a very small pen and no way to control anything. So, I separated mom with nest in a small area blocked by a short wall but away from the others until they could fly over the 2ft wall- about 3 weeks. The main thing was to keep them dry. She kept them warm. She and a male went crazy squacking at each other until I let the male in which was fine except one got stepped on and I had to bring him and a brother in until he got well. (She started squaking for him and he ran around the pen until I was afraid he would drop dead from exhaustion so let him go in and they were happy and quiet). It was appr. 3-4 mos when I let them out of the pen. They looked big enough and I always put mine in at night. I found one smashed in the nest later. I fed them their appropriate food so they grew FAST. The babes followed her close everywhere in the yard. And all was fine until a critter got 4 of them one day including mom. I plan to do the same again this summer. I keep the guineas just for my own pleasure and happily got rid of a tick problem along the way.