How We Are Hatching Guineas

PeaChick C

6 Years
Apr 2, 2013
Oskaloosa, Iowa
So in the past, we had two methods of trying to hatch keats.

We would try to let them do it the natural way, in the fridges of our property, nesting in thick thickets and tall grass. But this usually ended in a well fed owl, ferrel cat, raccoon, or fox.

The other way was following guineas for hours till they returned to their laying spots, snatching the eggs and trying to get chickens to sit on them. Mixed results. Most of the time, their eggs just when bad.

When this year, when my favorite, very tame Royal Purple lady started laying in the ditch right in front of our house, I decided to get creative. At night I placed a sturdy cage over her so owls couldn't get her, and set up a live trap right next to the cage. This was a lot of work. Four weeks of setting the cage over her at dark and at first light, but she didn't mind and it kept her safe. On the 28th day she had 16 keats under her that I caught in a bucket and moved her and her husband into an inclosure where they have been model parents.

So the cage method worked on a tame guinea. Now I am trying this on a much wilder pearl. She is putting up with it. She is in a timber 300 yards away from the coop in what has to be coon country. But so far she is still on the nest. One morning she was wanting out from the cage but she returned after I uncovered it. I have ten days to go and might have another successful hatching using this method.

Happy hatching!
I'd love to hear how that goes. If you can post pictures, I'd love to see the setup.

We're letting our guineas sit it out in the tall grass (two girls went broody on the same nest of 30+ eggs), but we put a three-sided doghouse like shelter over the nest to offer them better predator protection and better protection from the large amount of rain we knew was coming this week. They weren't happy at first, but they seem to love it now, especially with last night's downpour.

If things go well, we're hoping for keets sometime next week. We debated natural parenting, however, we have barn cats who leave big birds alone, but that I don't completely trust with babies. I haven't actually seen them with baby birds yet, I just know cats, and I suspect a keet would look like a fluffy, edible squeak toy.

We purchased the guineas we have now as week-old keets, so this is our first time hatching out our own. I'm trying to be prepared for a variety of possibilities. One thing I do like about 'people brooding' them indoors for a few weeks is that they seem to be less wild that way. Our guineas don't like to be petted or held, but they do come to us, frequently follow us around and stay in the yard and roost in the loafing shed every night - all things I like.
As a general rule, not caged. Guineas are horrible parent's. They are not at all like hen's that do a head count. They just take off and the Keet's better be able to keep up. I have 3 in my brooder's right now, who know's how many they hatched.
I guess I'm the lucky one. All my girls lay their eggs inside their coop - what a relief that is for me! One was trying to lay eggs in some tall weeds out by the road, but once I discovered it and removed her eggs, she came & started laying her eggs inside the coop with the others. Two of the females (they sat tandem on the nest!) hatched out 12 eggs this summer. I currently have one of those same females laying on another clutch of eggs inside the coop again, while the other Mama tends to the "teenage" keets. I have nothing but praise for these mamas - they show their young ones what to eat......where to go for come to me for treats.....& the keets all follow her around without any problems at all. I think I better start counting my blessings as to how lucky I am with my flock!
I have been letting my 16 keats out with their parents (the dad has been an active parent since hatching, insisting on being in with the mother and babies. At 5 weeks I started letting them out for a few hours a day and so far so good. Not only do they keep them close to the coop eating grasshoppers, but the other adult guineas walk around the pack of babies making sure none run off. It's been quite the experience. They even all cooped up on their own.

As for my other guinea hen that's sitting in the timber, she is still there and we are still sneaking out and setting a cage over her at dark. It's getting cold here at night so I hope she hatches soon.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom