I have been told....

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by WestKnollAmy, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    that Guineas are not good parents.
    So when my Guinea girl went on the nest and started setting I decided to catch her off of it and take the eggs. She had 21 under her! I left her 6, put 3 under a broody hen and stuck the others in my bator. The ones in my bator and the ones under the broody hen hatched so they all went into a brooder.

    There were 2 keets that I saw come out of the nest with mama Guinea. Guinea Boy was a real proud papa and has been super good to keep up with the babies. One night he took them into the chicken coop when he went to bed since Guinea girl was going up in the trees to sleep. He hates to sleep in the trees.

    The rest of the time he has been caring for the keets very well and Guinea girl always joins up with him first thing in the morning but lately she has been having the babies with her in the mornings when I go to open up the coop. She is waiting patiently outside the door for Guinea boy to come out and join the family.

    Those 2 keets are 2 weeks old now and still doing well with the Guinea parents. I would have never thought it!

    I have been told over and over that they do not do well raising their own. I heard how they just go off and leave the babies in the tall grass and do not seem to hear all the chirping.
    Well, maybe I have some super birds but Guinea Boy has always been super vigilant over them and even grabbed the dog by the arse when she wandered past (more than 10 ft away!). He always brings them up to feed in the barnyard and if one peeps a bit he is right there to see why. Guinea girl is less vigilant but she came from a different farm.

    Can "mothering" be taught by Guinea parents or flocks to make some better than others?

    Guinea Boy has always been special to me. He just gets better all the time. I just adore his funny self.
  2. jcatblum

    jcatblum Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2010
    Cement, OK
    Awesome to hear the keets are doing well with mom & dad. Hope they continue to raise the keets up!
  3. birdbrain5

    birdbrain5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2010
    very interesting thought! im curious to see what someone with more experience than myself has to say. i just had a huge nest with at one point 4 hens on it. i took 3 of the keets i got there in time for and put in a brooder, i found one pecked and dead by one of the hens, and a bunch of cracked eggs but no sign of keets.

    my original 3 guineas i bought as day old keets and they were hatched from an incubator. the others that i have i hatched, or some i bought as adults. i wonder if those that were hatched from a good mama hen and raised that way are better at mothering, and maybe those hatched in an incubator are not as good at mothering because they have no idea about it? it would be interesting to compare this a few times to see..

    i think thats so cute your male takes such good care of the keets, what a nice boy [​IMG]
  4. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    I often wondered if they're really "bad parents" as much as they're just not "programmed" to be a good parent on the typical farm. From what I've learned about guineas, they are much flightier and nervous than most chickens. They seem to feel safe and secluded in their nest, and if things are too "crazy" they'll just abandon it. That is something that could be a survivor instinct in their native Africa -- too many predators for guineas to risk their lives guarding a nest, when they could just start another one. And in Africa, they don't really encounter tall wet grass, so it's not in their DNA to deal with it when leading their babies around. I dunno...people here often give them a bad rap, but I think it's mostly because they compare them to chickens. I haven't had any guineas of my own, but I've seen them at a few places, and I find them fascinating -- in their own way. I think they deserve more credit. Thanks for posting a cute little anecdote!

  5. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Well, you are right about the Guinea girl being hatched and raised by human intervention. [​IMG]
    However, I have no earthly idea how the boy was raised as he came here by himself. He was much fatter when he showed up and in very good clean health (and I mean fit for showing good health!) so I am sure he was pen raised. I wonder if he was hatched in a pen and raised by the Guinea flock?
    He is extremely protective of his kids and when they were first hatched and a hawk came to get them (I may have lost one or two of them before I saw the babies) he ran around with his wings out over them while the Guinea hen just wandered around like she cared less.

    I should get a photo of them running as a family but I haven't mowed my fields and all you see are Guinea heads and the keets are in the tall grass.

    I haven't studied Africa enough to know what area Guineas originally came from. I thought there was tall grass in some places of Africa, I just didn't know if that was the area where Guineas roamed.
  6. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    We did well this summer with a coop-hatched mama-natched batch, 15 out of 21 surviving. Mamma, papa and the whole flock took care of them. It really is part luck, I think, but our flock is three years old and very savvy about our place now. Plus she nested in the coop, that's giant piece of luck #1.

    We did expend a considerable amount of effort the first several days making sure they and mamma had night protection when they were too small to get back in the coop, and then more effort helping get them in the next few nights. If not for that, I believe we would have none as DH killed multiple predators on the outdoor nights. After that, the flock did everything on their own including getting them in at night. Of course, DH goes out every night to get everyone in anyway, but I'm saying the babies didn't need special help after that.

    That leaving them behind thing, we did not experience. Not only did mamma seem to be able to account for them all but there were adult guineas in the back acting as sweeps to push along the lagging ones.

    I'm hoping that the next generation will be as smart and lucky as this one has been.

    Congrats, I like to see happy stories about guineas raising keets successfully.
  7. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    That sounds wonderful!
    Thank you for telling me that.
    I am raising a lot in the brooder because I did not have a Guinea girl to start with and I took most of her eggs because I had been told by countless people that they have had nurturing bred out of them. I was willing to let them try and it has been rewarding so far. But this is only 2 weeks.
    However, I do let a lot of my chickens hatch and raise their chicks so this is nothing new to me in that area.
  8. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I meant that where they live in Africa is much drier. The long grass through which Mama Guinea parades her offspring won't leave them all wet and prone to chilling, so her species didn't evolve the "smarts" to deal with wet grass.

  9. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Aaaahhhhh! Yes, I see what you mean. [​IMG]

    We are due for a bit of rain here this afternoon and tomorrow. I hope Guinea Boy will bring the keets into the coop so they will be drier. There are many places he could take them for a dry spot but he prefers the coop whereas the mama Guinea wasn't raised in a coop and has no idea of the benefits. I may wind up losing these babies to the wet cooler weather. If they look bad when I see them out then I will scoop them up (Ha!) and put them in the brooder with bothers and sisters. I have about 30 growing up in there.
  10. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Congrats on your success [​IMG]
    It doesn't always work out this way tho... the bad rap they've been given as bad parents has been well earned, believe me (and it's usually from first time Momma's, in flocks that have no previous experience with Hens raising keets). Some just do not know hot to act (so they get aggressive towards the keets) and some Momma Hens just have zero mothering instincts. Environmental and weather factors all play a huge part in their success (or lack there of) too. And just so many other things can go wrong.... the other adults in the flock can kill the keets, and even the 2 parents can kill them out of confusion of what to do. They can fall in the water dish, puddle, water trough, creeks etc and drown, or at least get completely soaked chilled and die from that. Even the most protective of parents are no match for a hungry fox, coon, hawk and even loose cats and dogs. And sometimes the parent Guineas just lose interest and go back to being free ranging Guineas. It's usually when you need them to raise the keets for you that it doesn't work out [​IMG] 2 keets are a lot easier to keep track of than a full clutch of the usual 20- 24 keets, so that probably has something to do with the success so far, but again, congrats on your success (and theirs!) [​IMG]

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