I'm so new to guineas and have SO many questions. Just be patient and talk to me like I know literally nothing... which I don't.
Last fall, my husband "surprised" me by bringing home 5 chicks which he got "free" from a woman who has millions of critters. (Her guineas are basically free ranging wild critters.) Of course, we immediately purchased a new 5x10 dog pen to sit in our existing open shed, hung deer fence on it so they couldn't escape, purchased a small coop to keep inside the pen, purchased a roof to go over the top of the pen, purchased medicated feed, feeders and waterer. So much for free.
Finally, as spring approached, I told my husband these were supposed to be free ranging birds and we started leaving them out during the day, putting them back in the pen only at night. Now they are out all the time, though they can get in the pen if they want (which they don't).
I've watched them carefully as they've grown, trying in vain to discern male and female, to no avail. The only difference I've observed is their call (which they do nonstop). I believe the females are supposed to have a two-syllable call and the males one. Based on that alone, I believe we have three females and two males but, possibly, only one male.
Now come the million questions. Yesterday, I stumbled across four eggs sort of scattered in a general area. They were, of course, stone cold. I glanced under a bush I had seen one particular guinea going in and out of and found six more eggs. I think the four scattered had been scattered from the nest.
So... what do I do with the eggs? How do I know if they are fertile? Let me say I do NOT want any more guineas at this point. When I get used to them and know better what I'm doing... maybe. How long can the eggs be cold before they are no longer viable? Can I assume they are edible? If so, for how long? (It's early spring here in north Georgia and still pretty chilly.)
Not having any earthly idea what we are doing, we brought eight of the ten eggs in and put them in the refrigerator, leaving two in the "nest". Turns out we should have marked them as I returned from chores today to find four more and now don't know which are old and which are new, not that it matters I suppose since no hens are tending the eggs. ??
Now, I've discovered another nest under another bush. We have trouble eating a dozen eggs from the grocery store before the expiration date. But I do have dogs (Mastiffs) so I suppose I should just give them to the dogs. Any reason I shouldn't?
Will the hens eventually start nesting on their eggs? Silly question I suppose but can I just let nature takes its course and see if any chicks show up eventually? At this rate, I'll be rolling in eggs with nothing to do with them.
In short -- HELP!!! I have no idea what I'm doing!!