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Hatchery vs. breeder Guinea Fowl

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by HEChicken, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I really hope this is not one of those "newbie" questions that has been asked and answered a hundred times. I couldn't think of keywords to type in to the search bar to get the answer I'm looking for....

    I've kept chickens on and off all my life and I know there is a huge difference between hatchery stock and breeder stock. However my knowledge of poultry is limited to chickens. I'm hoping to be in a position soon, to branch out and get some guineas in addition to the chooks, but found myself wondering how to get started. When Chick Days start at the feed stores, there will be keets available, that will be from a hatchery. My other option would be to order some hatching eggs and get started that way. I know what I'd do if I were starting a chicken flock from scratch today, but with guineas - does it make the same difference?
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never ordered keets from a hatchery, or bought them from a feed store or TSC or anywhere else that bought their supply from a hatchery... I usually buy my keets locally from friends or get fertile eggs from them. From what I've seen and read, aside from maybe some variance in color shades I don't think the quality of hatchery Guineas varies that much... as long as they arrive healthy and active then how you raise them and what you feed them once they are shipped to you usually accounts for more of the good/bad, than anything. But just like some hatchery chicks, there's always the possibility the keets came from a mismanaged flock and you could end up with a flock full of issues, you just never really know (you could end up with the same issues from someone's back yard flock just as easily too tho). There is a member that posts here that raised a flock Jumbos for meat birds and she was a little disappointed with their size (but I am not sure she bought hers from a hatchery or not... maybe she will chime in). Depending on which hatchery the keets come from... one positive thing about buying Guineas from a hatchery (to me anyway) is that they are usually separated by color for breeding, so if you like certain colors and you want to hatch more of those colors, buying keets in those specific colors would be the way to go. Most typical backyard breeders have mixed flocks with varied genetic backgrounds, so the hatch results are a little unpredictable.... but personally I like that, lots of pretty colors for variety, and exciting hatches!
     
  3. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    x2 What Peeps said. Though there are some really big hatcheries that have lots and lots of colors. I was considering getting mine from guineafarm.com which is HUGE.

    But I found two people in California PeepsCA and Crackingup. I got some MONSTER guineas from Peeps LOL. I swear there was a jumbo in the woodpile.

    So I would say get em from someone local that has a good rep or order em from a place that breeds guineas rather than one of those Hatchery clearing houses. That way you know they have only been handled once. Those Keets are very tender when they are first hatched out much more so than Chicks and they need to be handled right. Boy Peeps and I sweated out that very first shipment.

    Have fun

    deb
     
  4. tomingreeneco

    tomingreeneco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I purchased some for a local source, some from a major hatchery and hatched some eggs from my older ones. All are just as crazy!!!
    Too bad you are not closer to me I could give you all the eggs you wanted in the spring.
     
  5. critters

    critters Chillin' With My Peeps

    My first ones were from a local getting out from under the responsibility, then hatched some from the older ones and also ordered from a hatchery, Murray McMurray Hatchery. All my guineas are just the same, as someone else mentioned, crazy yet great! I did lose a few after the hatchery shipped them to me but McMurray's refunded my money for those that died within a certian time frame...and no more died after that time either....but in any newborn keets you will lose a few regardless of how they came to you, by egg, shipped or your backyard flock. What I like so much about McMurray's is the varied colors I was able to get! love 'em! and now I am getting eggs from them...so exciting!
    You will enjoy your guineas however/wherever you get them.......
     
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Thank you all for your replies! I don't very often see them locally but will keep looking on Craigslist. As we go into Spring there may be more available. I'm looking forward to the new adventure [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  7. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ralph Winters (owner of The Guinea Farm) is responsible for developing the majority of the color variety of Guineas (as well as the Jumbos) that are available all across the US now. He's a very reputable breeder, and does separate his breeders by color. I too have considered ordering keets from there, mostly in the interest of getting some colors in my flocks that would breed true. Never have placed an order yet tho.... yet, lol.

    Some of your keets may have a little Jumbo in them Deb, I'd say about 1/2 of the eggs that I hatched your batch of keets from were "grandkids" of a really big Pearl Grey male and a Porcelain Hen pair in 12010, (both my friend and I kept about 10 keets each from what I the gobs of keets I hatched from their eggs, (and we both collected a lot of eggs from the offspring when they were mature during the Spring of 2011). Unfortunately there's no background on what exactly the big guy was, and both birds are no longer around... 1 was taken by the road, the other by a predator, towards the end of 2010 laying season. But obviously he passed his big boy genes onto his offspring and they also passed it on down. I think I have pics of him somewhere, I'll have to find them to show the size difference between the 2. I kept Brown and Chocolate Hens and 1 Royal Purple male that are from that original pair, they are all a little larger than other Hens in my unrelated flocks (I call em my supersized flock, lol). The supersized Hens all laid really good sized eggs last yr, and one was a huge double yolker (which I boiled and ate, lol).
     

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