Guinea on large clutch of eggs - Some Hatched!


11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
North Carolina
My Guineas were laying in their coop, which I was happy about. I knew one of them was sitting on a lot of eggs, so I expected lots of keets.

Yesterday was hatch day, and she was in the run with keets. She only had seven. I checked the nest and there were 34 un-hatched eggs! I started opening them to see what happened. One looked like maybe a weeks development, one was unfertile, and then, one had a living, moving keet in it. I tried giving it to the Guinea, but she didn't seem interested, so I gave it to a Silkie which hd hatched chicks the same day.

I candled the rest of the eggs and found them in all stages of development with 3 more potentially hatchable eggs and put them under the Silkie with her chicks. This morning all 3 had hatched!

Is is common for a Guinea hen to abandon her eggs after a few hatch? She was sitting on 41 eggs. Is that too many to incubate, leading to different stages of development and a poor hatch?

My plan for ensuring the survival of the seven keets with the Guinea hen is to let all the others out in the morning, keeping her and the keets in the covered run. Then before dark I'll let the other adults back in to roost for the night. After about two weeks of keeping them confined I'll let mama and babies out to range.


14 Years
Mar 8, 2008
Southwest Missouri
Yes, we've had the same experience. Around 40 eggs, 4 hatched. The other guinea females keep laying in the nest while one is setting, so different stages of development. Plus having so many eggs means that some will always be too cold to develop, I think. I wonder if in the wild, with a sufficient number of females, whether another one would just take over the nest & hatch the next bunch, but I don't know. It sure seems inefficient.

Next time, we're going to try to get the eggs marked and pull any later ones that are laid.

Ours have been out free ranging from day 1 with mama, but that's a choice we're making deliberately & I know it has risks. They have so much energy, it's amazing to see how well they keep up with the flock. When they get tired, mama sits down and they hide under her for a nap.

Getting them back into the coop at night is a feat though. They haven't learned to go up the ramp yet, & we have to entice mama & keets into a dog crate & then move the crate.

Good luck with your keets!

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