Guineas hatching and raising their babies

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Cowgirl71, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, long post I know, but please bear with me...

    We got our first Guineas 3 years ago. We lost a bunch of them, but ended up with 1 male and 6 females. Summer 2009 a few of the hens hatched out keets, but they each lost all of them within a week or less of hatching. So we had to find and collect up a couple nests of eggs and put them in the incubator to hatch. Then we raised the keets and released them. Summer 2010, a few of the hens hatched out some more keets, and so we immediately collected them up and raised them, knowing that they'd otherwise die. Fast-forward to June 2011. "Dunya" is setting on 19 eggs. 17 hatch. We collect them up and raise them. Then a couple weeks ago Dunya hatched out another 10 keets. At this point I was sick of raising any more chicks or keets. So I thought I'd try letting her raise them. I figured that if any survived they would be really valuable... Extremely hardy, great foragers, great with predators, etc.

    Dunya has 3 males and another female helping her protect the babies. And boy do they take there jobs seriously! I tried to count the keets a few days ago and got attacked whenever I got within ten feet or so of the babies. And not just by Dunya, but by the males too. In the tall grass, dodging air-born angry Guineas, it was impossible to count the babies. [​IMG] And impossible to get any good pictures of the babies. But this morning I was finally able to get a head count with the binoculars through the living room window while they were crossing a gravel road. And wouldn't you know it, she's still got all 10 of them!!! I was shocked, because our Guineas are pretty well feral. They just roam around eating lot's of ticks and bugs. They roost in the trees or the rafters of our barn. Or in Dunya's case, somewhere on the ground (which will hopefully change as soon as the babies can start flying).

    I'm just so shocked though, after reading about and experiencing how bad of mommas Guineas are. I'm definitely keeping that first batch of Dunya's babies! Hopefully she'll have a daughter or two that are just like her!

    The only things I can think of that are different from prior years is that Dunya is "Royal Purple." She's the only RP Guinea we've ever had. Do RPs make better moms? We also now have 6 males and 8 females. Maybe having a higher percentage of males helps? Back when we only had 1 male he was only interested in breeding/hanging out with the laying females. But now there's maybe some "extra" males? Or maybe Dunya is just a much better mom than average? [​IMG]

    I'm just so excited at the possibility of never having to raise keets again! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    I don't have guineas, but I loved your story about them all banning together to protect those babies! Thanks for sharing!
     
  3. StevenW.

    StevenW. Lovin' My Quackers!

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    That's awesome! [​IMG]
     
  4. livenwpeeps

    livenwpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    King William
    What a great story!! I don't think the color - Royal Purple - had anything to do with it. That's just the color. I do think you have a great guinea mom! Is Dunya one of your older guineas? If so, being a little bit older and wiser to the area's preditors might be the answer too.
     
  5. terrilhb

    terrilhb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2010
    Georgia
    [​IMG] I am so happy for you. Congratulations. What a good mommy and family the keets have.
     
  6. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    Quote:I am excited for you.... because this is what guineas do in the wild. They band together and care for the keets. Even the dads and bachelors will warm the keets up if mom needs a break. I think we (humans) are so busy trying to make them behave like chickens we don't take time to observe what they really need. A flock and space. I was told by a naturalist to not invest in more effort of raising guineas without adding in some wild blood to the flock. Which was a good suggestion.... Not practical for me. Its encouraging to hear success like this..... With a regular domestic flock.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Missouri Ozarks
    Dunya is 2 years old (she's survived predators for two years!). We have 6 three year old Guineas (the originals) and 8 two year old Guineas (including Dunya).

    Here's a few pics of her with her first batch of 17 keets (which we took away to raise ourselves immediately after taking the pics). She wanted to keep them all under her body, but I was able to make her move away from them just long enough to snap a pic. And she DID fly up in my face when I got too close, LOL.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Another amazing thing about the Guineas hatching their own keets is that they have to stay on the nest for a full 26 days without a predator finding them. And Missouri is chock-full of predators. Amazingly enough, we have never lost a broody Guinea to a predator. The eggs will all be broken and eaten, with feathers all over, but when we do a head count everyone is accounted for.

    Dunya came from 3rd generation Cackle Hatchery stock, BTW. So nothing special. In fact, each of those generations (and probably many more) were artificially incubated.
     
  8. StevenW.

    StevenW. Lovin' My Quackers!

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    Central, Illinois
    Oh wow! She's pretty! It's almost like she has zebra striped feathers throughout her whole body. That is one gorgeous guinea! [​IMG]
     
  9. cracking up

    cracking up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So Cal
    That's funny about the feathers and broken eggs. I just had that happen this morning, I went to check on my broody and just found a pile of feathers and all but one of the eggs was broken and eaten. When I went to let the others out of their coop there she was, waiting outside of the coop for the others to come out. I was sort of shocked. Everyone says they can't see in the dark but she flew to the coop and it must have been in the dark. I really didn't care about the eggs since I'm in the same place with raising babies as you are.

    Glad to see yours raising the little ones. And she really is beautiful.
     
  10. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Missouri Ozarks
    Quote:Thanks! She really is pretty... I named her Dunya when she was a little newly hatched keet. She was speckled on the top of her head, rather than striped like all of her hatch mates. I was so excited when she feathered in unique from the rest. I was even more excited when Dunya was indeed a girl! (Dunya is not a very masculine name, LOL)

    I was really hoping that at least a few of her babies would feather out to be as pretty as she is, but they're all feathering into Pearls. Hopefully a few Royal Purples will pop up in the next generation. Or maybe a few of her current babies are Royal Purple. [​IMG]
     

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