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Why would the fertility rate be so low?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by joedie, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    I currently have 5 adult guineas (one female and 4 males). This year was the females first year to lay. I've never seen them mate but I've incubated her eggs 3 times. Each with 14-16 eggs. The first 2 hatches only had 2 keets. The last hatch had only 5 fertile when I candled at day 10. Four hatched but one had deformed toes and a deformed wing . The fifth one never hatched.
    I've only hatched chickens prior to this and every egg that candled as fertile hatched. Is this common in guineas?
     
  2. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2010
    Rock Hill,SC
    one female and five males! good gravy!!! she is being over mated!!! [​IMG]

    kill or sell off 4 of the males for her sakes!!!!

    guineas are the best fertility in my books.

    eat the males!!!! [​IMG]
     
  3. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    From what I've read here and online, they breed with one mate a season? I have 3 keets and hopefully they are girls. That would even things up nicely. Out of 6 keets I bought and raised only two were female and one of those was killed by something.
     
  4. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Actually the Hen is fine with all those males. The Alpha male in the flock most likely claimed her as his own and would not allow all the other males to breed her, or over breed her. Also, Guineas' breeding behaviors are a lot different than chickens or other poultry... if the Hen does not submit to the male, breeding doesn't happen. The males don't just grab a hold of the Hens and not let go until they get the deed done.

    As far as fertility goes... was she on a layer feed during the laying season? Was she over weight? (Extra weight/internal fat can hinder fertility). Are the males the same age? From the same hatch? Do they all free range?

    Were all the eggs fresh and viable when you set them? Did you open the eggs that did not develop and check to see if they were fertilized?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  5. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    The guineas eat with the chickens who are on layer pellets. They all free range together and put themselves into the chicken coop at dusk with the chickens. Two of the males are the same age as the hen. I bought them as day olds and don't know if they are related. The other two males are about four years old. I don't think they are overweight, They all look good to me. Are they like chickens in that once mated they should lay fertile eggs for two weeks? If so I don't understand why just a few would be fertile. I have taken the eggs from her once she starts to set b/c. I don't want her out at night for predators to get. She starts to set when she has 14-16 eggs. I did not open the eggs that did not look like they were developing when I candled them. This is my first experience with guinea eggs although we've had the two males for a few years. I REALLY like the guineas and wouldn't mind having a lot of them around. BTW, this was her first laying season.
     
  6. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Yes, the Guinea Hens can carry the sperm from one breeding and produce fertile eggs with it for for 2wks+. My Guineas breed quite a bit while they are out free ranging, not sure if they breed every day, but it is definitely more often than every 2 wks. I have never had fertility issues with 1st timers in my free ranged flocks, the only fertility issues I've ever had period were from a couple Hens in my full time penned breeding flocks. Whether just one or all 4 of your males were breeding your Hen, all of her eggs should have been fertile. Towards the end of the laying season, when the weather is horribly hot here the fertility rates do go down in my flocks tho (and a lot of Hens just stop laying)... but I strongly believe that heat during the long hot summers I have here severely messes up the quality/health of the sperm and eggs.



    If your Hen has fertility issues next season and it continues until late April/ early May then I would definitely break a few open and check fertility.
    Here's a pic of what to look for in case you aren't sure:

    [​IMG]
    If the eggs you open aren't fertile and you know which male she's breeding with then maybe try penning him up for several weeks to let the other boys have a chance with her and see if that fixes the issue. I'd eliminate the possibility of her mate shooting blanks and figure out if it's an issue with her instead of the male. I've never had any fertility issues with my first timer Hens, but it's always possible [​IMG]


    My only other guesses would be egg viability or incubator issues... eggs getting too warm or too cold or too dirty or washed prior to setting them can cause them not to develop, and of course incorrect incubator temp and humidity can also cause eggs to not develop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  7. joedie

    joedie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    Wow! Thanks for the info. This summer was a record breaker here for heat in the Midwest so maybe that's the problem.
    I also noticed that all three sets that I incubated hatched at 25 days instead of 28 so maybe the incubator is too hot?
    it's a Genesis Hovabator and is supposed to be preset. I might have to lower the temp on it.
     
  8. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Guinea egg hatches are normally early in my 1588s too... day 25/26 (I've even had a keet or 2 hatch out on day 24 quite a few times), but I've never had the low hatch rates you've experienced. You could turn your 1588 down, but I think I'd wait until you find out if there's another cause. Did you set all these eggs late in the season when it was hot, or all at different times of the laying season? If you just set eggs during hot weather, then I'd give her Spring eggs a try first. You may want to give her a week or 2 after she first starts laying again so she's going full bore before you start saving a batch to set.
     
  9. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The fact that you have had a deformed keet along with the low hatch/fertility rate , suggests to me that it might be a nutritional problem. I add vionate to their food. Or it may be how you are storing the eggs. I'm not familiar with your incubator, but have you checked the temperature? I get good %s running at 55% humidity, which may not be helpful at all because I take my incubator's word for it mostly. If its really hot when you are collecting eggs, you might be better off putting them in the incubator as they are laid instead of holding them, but then you would need a separate incubator to use as a hatcher. I hope your luck gets better. My guineas eggs usually go the full 28 days, usually with a few early and a few late. I usually have much better luck with spring eggs than with summer eggs.
     
  10. Hi Trefoil,
    I need some advice. I have a flock of 14 one year-old guineas, pretty evenly divided between cocks and hens. I incubated 20 eggs a few months ago and got only three keets. Since then, I've checked fertility as I've used the eggs, and it's very low; I haven't kept an exact count, but I'd guess 10% or less. The guineas free-range everyday. All day if I'm in the mood for an egg hunt, only in the afternoon if I want to make sure I have eggs.
    I read that you use vionate and I'd like to give it a try. Please post how you administer it. Seems like if I just sprinkle it on their food, it will end up in the bottom of the feeder. Dosage would also be appreciated, as well as any other tips you might have for getting the fertility rate up.
    Thanks so much for your previous posts.
    Dawn
     

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