My guineas keep on dieing - Help

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by amosygal, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    I bought 6 two month old keets about four month ago, I kept them in the house for a few days and two died. I called the guy who sold them to me he said to move them out. I moved them out, and in the next week three more died. A month later the last keet died. [​IMG]
    About a month ago I bought 4 four month old keets (from the same man), the next week two died, and this morning another one died. [​IMG]
    I'm left with one guinea and have no idea why they all died. I have turkey, ducks, chickens and geese, and barley lost any other birds. Why are these guineas so different?
    I'm thinking on giving up the guineas...
  2. jcatblum

    jcatblum Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2010
    Cement, OK
    Sorry keets are giving you a hard time. I seem to have a harder time with certain colors. Most I lost have been slate or violet. Not sure why but if I found a dead keet this summer it was always slate or violet. Keets came from same source as 4 other colors & I didn't have a hard time with the others. I was thinking for mine it might have been due to weaker blood lines. May sound crazy to some, but I was raising them all together.

    I see the keets are coming from the same place, but the seller isn't having a problem with their flock I am assuming since you purchased more.

    What are you feeding them?
    Are you using any kind of bedding with them?
    Do you notice any signs of illness prior to finding them dead?
    Did you sanitize the coop you are putting them in?

    Wish I could help more- so many factors hard to say why you are loosing them when you have other bird experience already.
  3. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2011
    Bucks County PA
    temperature is very important for keets. I would guess you rushed them outside too soon. what was the night time temp? did you have a heat lamp for them?

    I would recommend a larger flock too. I started with 16 and now have 13. Not bad considering they are my first birds and have been outside for about 6 months now.
  4. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Wow, sorry for all your losses, that's gotta be very discouraging to say the least [​IMG]

    These are all older, feathered keets that have died... they should all have been hearty enough to deal with any temp swings and/or stress of being transported or handled, so my guesses would be that either the feed is bad, the bedding is toxic, the brooder or cage is painted with something toxic, they are eating their bedding and getting clogged up, the disinfectant you used is toxic to them and possibly not rinsed out well enough, or the brooder/cage/pens/feeders/waterers are possibly infected with something like coccidiosis or some type of bacteria or even parasites/worms.

    So other than the questions that kcatblum's already asked, what are their stools like? Any bloody diarrhea? Have you checked their crops for impaction? Have you used the same feed, bedding, cage/brooder and transport cages for both batches? Have you kept their living conditions dry and clean? Is their feed medicated? If so what's it medicated with? Are you adding anything to their water, medication of any kind? Are you providing grit for them if you are feeding them anything but starter/grower crumbles or pellets?

    There has to be a common denominator for the cause of all the deaths, hopefully you can figure it out. I would not get any more Guineas until you do tho. If I were you I'd disinfect EVERYTHING with a water and bleach solution, rinse and dry everything well before putting the bird in, try some clean coarse straw for bedding (or a wire floor cage), change out the food if that's a possible cause and do not feed anything but the new food and see how it goes.

    If you lose the last bird, maybe you can take it to an avian vet and have a necropsy done?

    Again, sorry for your losses, I hope you get to the bottom of this!
  5. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    Thanks for all the replies.
    All my birds live in my backyard, they have a coop made of wood about 6'x6', the coop is opened to a very (very) large fenced area. The bottom of the coop is just on plain soil. I sometimes add straw to it.
    I feed the birds with chicken crumbs and all our and neighbor's organic leftovers. What's grit? (small rocks?) Never heard about it, is this something spacial for Guineas?
    I use no medication and I never sanitized the coop.
    The birds have plenty of room (much more than what they had at the seller's coop...).
    Have you checked their crops for impaction?

    Never heard about it, I'm reading about it now.
    Yesterday I saw the same Guinea that died this morning holding her head very low (I couldn't see her neck). I think they do this sometimes but it did seem a little odd.​
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  6. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    Don't give up on guineas, don't do business with that seller again.
  7. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    This is not normal for keets of this age. I find that once they get past a week old, a Guinea Keet simply up and dying just doesn't happen; they are very hardy. It takes a predator or a vehicle in the road to kill one -- they just don't get sick and die.

    I find a keet a few days old is pretty fragile. They can't get wet or cold or they will succumb fast. I find the violet / lavender keets (under a week old though) to be MORE fragile. You have to really watch them.

    For your keets to be dying, as PEEPSCA says in the above post, it MUST be something in your environment or where they are coming from. Just for comparison, I have some about 4-5 months olds who endured a hard rain outside in the tree the other night (in 55F temps) and all of them are fine. I have another group of 9- two month olds that have been outside in a pen since they were about 2 weeks old & I haven't lost a one (knock on wood).
  8. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    I'll give them grit (even though there are quite a few stones out there). There is no rain here in the summer, and it isn't extremely hot either (especially not in September). The seller does however live in a different climate than what we have here, I might try buying from a different source. I didn't think they were so much different than chickens or turkey and your replies do seem to confirm that. I wanted to breed also guineas but I'm not interested in making a great change in my habits.
    Thanks all
  9. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    Have you ever wormed them?
    Worms can kill an adult or 6 month old like yours pretty fast if they get an infestation,you may not see them in their droppings until it is to late.
    Sorry ya are losing so many [​IMG] hope ya find the cause soon [​IMG]
  10. casuarius

    casuarius Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2009
    I never keep Guinea Keets on the ground until they are at least completely feathered out. I usually wait 3 months to put them on ground if not longer. The best thing for you to do is to keep them on wire so the droppings fall through. Also feed them medicated Game bird starter, or medicated chicken starter. Sounds like your birds might be getting coccidiosis, which is almost undetectible. Even if none of your birds are sick, they could be immune to coccidiosis, but your new birds could catch it. There are seven strains of Coccidia, and once a bird becomes immune to one, they can still catch one of the other 6 strains, therefore your birds are possibly immune already to whats in your soil. Once coccidia gets in your soil it doesnt die, it'll remain until something else picks it up. Medicated chick feeds contain coccidiastat, a medication to prevent them from catching coccidiosis. It's unlikely they would have worms or die from it so sudden. Just some other things off the top of my head...they need to stay very dry, and keep them at around 80-90 degrees for the first 2 weeks. If you keep them outside, make sure they cant get damp from the morning dew. I wouldnt buy anymore from the guy you're getting them from. Another possibility is Salmonella Pullorum, which passes from the parent birds to the chicks, and the chicks either die during incubation or die not long after they hatch. This is a common thing among birds, especially in poor conditions. Only way to ever stop the spread of it, is to stop breeding or kill the birds that have it, which will never happen because most people simply dont know about it, or know how to diagnose it. There is no cure for it, except getting rid of the host sadly.

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