why are they abandoning the nest?

pherrmann

Hatching
8 Years
Jun 20, 2011
1
0
7
So far this year, I have had 5 guinea nests started. Only 1 guinea is still sitting. The other 4 nests were abandoned by the hen within one week of the expected hatch. In one case, I took about 20 eggs from the abandoned nest and gave them to a friend with an incubator, who got 15 keets out of the bunch so we are not talking about all the eggs dying. I am not rushing in too early. I know the mamas get off during the day to go eat and drink. In the past, the mama would take about 20 minutes for these activities. This is not that but a total abandonment of the nest, the mama having left and still being gone several hours later. The one that left her nest this morning had the eggs spread out everywhere when we went to check later in the day. Just yesterday, we saw the weird sight of the mama (before she abandoned this nest) running with an egg on her beak and depositing it about 20 yards from the nest. We went to look at the egg after she had left it, found it broken, and with what appeared to be a well-developing embryo inside. Can anyone tell me what would cause the mamas to leave at the very end? I had timed them from the day they began to sit so I am sure of the dates. I didn't bother them and made sure they were not bothered. The only theory I can come up with is that there are some bad eggs in the nest which are attracting ants that then force the mama to leave. But don't the mamas push out the bad eggs before this happens? Any /theories/advice would be appreciated.
 

damselfish

Songster
Mar 8, 2008
971
141
249
Southwest Missouri
Sorry you did not get an answer, and I don't have one either. That's just plain weird behavior. Maybe this thread coming back to the top will give someone else a chance to see it.

You say you make sure they are not bothered...what about at night?

Just throwing out ideas here...
 

PeepsCA

Crowing
8 Years
Mar 28, 2011
4,732
210
256
BFE, CA
Sounds to me that the Hens feel like there's not enough privacy where their nests are, something has to be bothering them. I have never had any ant problems with my outside nests, so I can't say that's the problem for sure, but it could be... that being the cause for them to abandon every nest seems kind of weird tho (unless all the nests were in the same area and the ants had access to them all). If they are outside nests the Hens are abandoning then predators or even dogs could be snooping around and bothering them that you are not aware of, just enough to make them abandon their nests.

As far as the Hen carrying the egg off goes, this is just my guess but... if she didn't accidently damage the egg herself that maybe a rat, squirrel, opossom or some other small opportunistic predator like that could have damaged the egg trying to raid the nest and she knew the smell would attracted more predators (or ants)... so instead of pushing the egg out of the nest she moved it away entirely. It's kind of hard for me to imagine a Guinea Hen would have strong enough instincts and enough grey matter upstairs to do that, but you can never say never with Guineas.

Without watching the nest 24/7 it's hard to say what the problem is, but obviously something is upsetting the Hens.
 

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