Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guinea update..........

Everyone knows that I really like my guinea fowl and think they serve a great purpose on the farm. Tick and bug control are very important and they really are pro's at that. They are great watch dogs, alerting us to strangers, human and animal alike. When it's quiet here, I know all is well. The only fault I can find with my guinea hens is the fact that they are lousy mothers.

On July 4, I posted this photo of a new mother guinea with her 18 keets. As of Monday, she was down to 12. We decided to catch them and put them in the jr. guinea house. They adults take the babies through the wet grass, through water puddles, and anywhere else they want to go obviously not realizing that the water kills them. I put the two females in the house with the 12 babies. The Mom's can hop over the screen to enter a larger screened area for bugging or eating. Obviously they were not at all happy with this arrangement, they managed to stomp all but 4 of them to death. So, we took the babies away, put them in a brooder box and we are now handraising four guinea babies.

I found this clutch of guinea eggs in my perennial garden today. Ten so far. I'm going to wait until there are a dozen or so and then I'm going to put them under a broody austrolop hen. Miranda, the Delaware chicken did such a great job raising hers that I'm thinking this black hen should do just as good of job and I'll have healthy guinea babies that I don't have raise myself.
Miranda's babies are young guineas now. She herds them into the guinea house to sleep at night. I sit at my dining room table and watch them jump in behind her, one by one. They all get on a roost pole next to her and they stay there until I let them out in the morning. Obviously it doesn't matter in the fowl world whether Mom is the same breed or species. Miranda has taught them to bug and pick and they travel all day long picking up stuff and picking bugs right out of the air. She's also taught them to be in front of the big barn doors at 5 p.m. and there will be a corn treat waiting for them :) I'll be sure to post how this experiment works out.


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

My day-old guinea's are to ship ut tomorrow and we have a brooder set up for them, it's actually a rabbit pen on a stand.

Leenie said...

Love your story of the adoption of the guinea babies. Makes me wonder how those birds survived at all.

Sharrie said...

I almost had some one year. Maybe someday when we can get set up for some. I sure like their functions.

kristi said...

I love reading about these guys! But your blog gives me way too many ideas...good thing you live in Maine:)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Leenie wrote my thoughts. Have guineas been "improved" like turkeys or meat birds, breeding all the survival instincts out of them? Or do they survive in the wild because of the sheer number of eggs they hatch out each time, so that even if a few survive, so does the species?

Sue said...

That must be why they have so many young.......
I know with our wild turkeys, they usually have a dozen....but due to predation, etc., we see the numbers dwindle over the weeks. Usually, they end up with 3 or 4. Sad, but that's just how it is.

Gayle said...

I, too, wonder how the guinea has survived without intervention. They again, maybe that's what keeps them from being way over-populated. Love hearing about your animals.

lisa said...

Great pictures, Matt has decided we are going to try guineas too!!

Christy said...

I love our guineas. I'll keep in mind your adventures with having the moms raise them. Hopefully, I'll have chickens I can put the eggs under.

threecollie said...

Sorry you lost so many! We had the same experience when we had guinea fowl and took them all and hand raised them. The mothers can't seem to count and will leave all but one baby wherever they happen to be. I love them but....

DayPhoto said...

I am so intersted in all your feathered flock. How do you keep them safe from the predators? Do you have a house for your ducks?

I am looking for Guienas and hope to have some soon.


Deb said...

Your brooder set up should work just fine. Good luck :O

I think the survival rate was better in their own native country of South Africa. Very little rain/ water to deal with. Not sure about the humidity factor as far as hatchability but obviously they were sucessful as guineas multiplied. Here, we are quite the opposite and they really do have issues. We are responsible for those changes so we have to pick up the slack, ie., handraising baby birds :)

They serve a great purpose and are fun to watch :)

It's great you get ideas from the blog....it's wonderful to inspire each other :)

Not sure if guineas have improved but as I said in my comment to Leenie, not sure they have completely adapted to a new environment without issue. I don't believe they would survive in the wild in this country as they do in their own.

I'm sure if I had left the babies with their mothers they would have all been lost. Most books you read on guineas always instruct you to hand raise them. I've tried several times over the years to let the birds do it without success.

Because guineas do not normally run wild, but are "kept" like most barnyard fowl, their chances of survival and prosperity are much greater than the wild birds.

Thanks - you will definately enjoy them :)

I'm glad you like them. Your hens make great surrogates.

Handraising them can be fun but it's another job for sure.

We have a "guinea" house for them to roost in at night and a duck house for the ducks and we close them up at night. I have a "duck" tractor for mother ducks and their babies. I won't let them out and into mixed company until I know the Papa duck won't pick on our babies. Our guineas go in just before dark or roost in the trees if it's really warm outside.

Mountain Woman said...

I discovered your blog and I'm enjoying it immensely. Loved your posts and your photos too.