Sallyanne’s Successful Guinea Fowl Hatching

This post is dedicated to Sallyanne.

Sallyanne purchased some guinea fowl hatching eggs from farmingfriends at the end of April (which was very much appreciated) and placed them under her broody hens at the beginning of May.

Here is Sallyanne’s story.

Dear Sara,
Just wanted to let you know that the eggs arrived safely, beautifully packed. My plan is to slip the eggs under my two broody hens tonight at bedtime and hopefully they will do the rest. It worked last time when I got one of my Silkies to hatch three Belgium Bantam eggs. I will keep you posted – fingers crossed.

Thanks again for being so helpful. I am sure I will have loads of Guinea fowl questions for you!

Best wishes
Sallyanne

At the end of May the eggs hatched. All the eggs were fertile but some of the guinea fowl didn’t make it.

Dear Sara,

I have some news on the guinea fowl eggs – not all good, I am afraid. All of the eggs hatched, but two of them were dead almost immediately. We checked last night before bed and the two Silkies had two chicks each. However this morning when I went to check on them, one of the Silkies had two dead chicks with her. As you can imagine I was devastated! I can’t work out what happened. Is it possible that the mother Silkie accidentally smothered them? Anyway on a positive note the other two are lovely – I just need to make sure they survive. so an anxious couple of days ahead.

Not sure what I should do really, if the two survive, will they be OK just the two of them with all my bantams, or would it be best to get some more guinea fowl in a couple of months. Maybe next time, it would be better to get day old keets from you – what do you think?

Once again thank you for all your help and I am so sorry they didn’t all make it. I will be in touch with news.

Best wishes
Sallyanne

I was upset that not all of Sallyanne’s keets made it.

Dear Sallyanne,

I am so sorry to hear that 4 of the keets haven’t made it. I know just how you feel. We had duck eggs in the incubator and a few started to hatch and then didn’t make it. Only 7 ducklings out of 38 eggs have survived, so I know exactly how you feel. You feel terrible that this little life is cut so short after they have fought their way through the tough egg shell.

I am sure that you have water and chick crumbs on hand for the keets. Keets like their water to be warm so if you can place the drinker in the sun or give them some warm water then they prefer this. I would observe to make sure that they are eating and drinking. If they don’t appear to be eating and drinking then I would gently pick them up when your silkies are having their food and drink and I would give them a drink and some food. It is important to let the keets know where their food and water is. Often keets die due to dehydration or starve outs. I would put some marbles in the water drinker if you haven’t already so that the keets don’t drown in the water. Keets love to eat lettuce so giving them some chopped up lettuce may help build up their strength.

Keets need to be kept quite warm. In a brooder, guinea fowl keets require heat for the first 6-8 weeks after hatching and then the heat can usually be turned off after 6-8 weeks depending on the location of the brooder, the temperature outside the brooder and the number of birds in the brooder.

For guinea fowl keets the brooder temperature should start at about 95-100 degrees fahrenheit (35-38 degrees celsius) for the first 1-2 weeks and then reducing by 5 degrees fahrenheit each week.

Having seen the ducklings in the brooder and how they are not dependent on the heat, it has made me realise how guinea fowl keets are much more reliant on heat. With this in mind, I would make the nest cosy area for your silkies cosy and warm with lots of straw, which I am sure you have done. If the keets are cold they will huddle together and this can sometimes lead to smothering, so it is important to try to get the temperature right.

You need to watch out that the keets don’t paste up as this can lead to ill keets and even death. Pasting up on keets is when the keets droppings get attached to the vent area, which if not dealt with can quickly form into large clumps. If the clumps are not removed the keets will not be able to pass their droppings from their body and this can result in the keets dying. To remove the pasting up I get a plastic syringe with warm water and my husband picks up the keet and I squirt the water at the keet and them gently massage or pick the droppings off the feathers and vent area. Not a pleasant job, so any signs of pasting up, my advice is to sort it straight away and then keep checking that it doesn’t re-occur.

Guinea fowl are social creatures and like to wander around in a group. I have noticed that my guinea fowl hang about in groups that are formed generally from when they hatched, so different age groups stick together. The guinea fowl also pair off with a male and female, or one male with 3 or 4 females. I think that your 2 guinea fowl will stick together and enjoy wandering around together when they are older and if they are a male and female and you don’t mind a related male and female breeding then they will happily pair up as a couple.

If you think it necessary you could always remove the keets from your silkies and place them in a brooder but I think that keets raised by a hen are more hardy than incubator and brooder raised keets.

I hope you find this information useful and I am sure that you know most of it but I thought I would jot down all my thoughts and observations from the few years I have been raising keets.

Last night I had a guinea fowl hen sitting on one egg and 2 pot eggs under a wood pile. I
had to disturb her so that I could get her back in the poultry hut and away from the fox that
has already taken one of my guinea fowl this season. This hen has obviously gone broody and I may try to get her to sit on a few eggs. If not I can always put some guinea fowl eggs in the incubator if you are wanting day old guinea fowl keets.

I hope that your 2 keets do well. I will keep my fingers crossed for them.

If you have any questions or want any advice then just ask and I’ll try to help.

Best wishes to you, the keets and your Silkie mums!

Sara

It is great to hear how Sallyanne’s guinea fowl keets are getting on;

Dear Sara,

Just a quick update. My two remaining keets are doing really well – eating, drinking and pooing OK. They have really taken to lettuce, as you said and even though the weather is awful they are keeping snug and warm under mum – they haven’t left the nest box area yet, but keep coming out for a wander around and snack on chick crumb. As soon as I can get a good photo of them, I will send it to you.

Hope your new ducklings are doing fine too.

Best wishes
Sallyanne

Sallyanne’s guinea fowl keets

Here is the photo of Sallyanne’s keets.

Dear Sara,

Just managed to get a photo of the babies. Hope you can open it OK. Aren’t they cute! They are really doing well and getting really brave. I definitely want some more Guniea Fowl…. I’m hooked. My plan is to let them free range round the garden with the hens once they are bigger and then get some more. Maybe next time I will go for day olds (might be less stressful for me!!) I can still put the babies under a broody bantam who has been sitting on pretend eggs. I did this once before with the Belgium Bantams and it worked really well. I will definitely
contact you at that stage to see if you have any day olds that we can pick up. When do you stop hatching your guinea fowl? It would be lovely to meet you and see your Guineas.

Will keep you posted on the little ones.

Best wishes
Sallyanne

I am delighted to hear from Sallyanne to find out that her keets are still doing well and enjoying

Dear Sara,

Just got back from a few days away – left my Mum and Dad in charge of the Guinea Fowl Chicks etc. They are doing so well – I can’t believe how much they have grown. Todaywas the first day I let mum and babies out of their enclosure for a little free-range around. They just loved it. Lots of flapping around. The other Bantams have been very interested, but they seem quite used to the babies, having seen them for 3 weeks in the enclosure. The Mumsie Bantam is doing a great job looking out for them and everyone is scratching around together. I will try to get more photos for you and I would be more than happy for you to use them on your website.

I would be really keen to have some day old keets, once I get another broody Bantam – I will keep you posted and if you have any we will arrange to come over. It would be lovely to see your Guineas and meet you.

Hope things are settling down for you and your new enterprise – you do sound busy with all the animals, etc.

Will be in touch again soon with photos.

Best wishes
Sallyanne

I look forward to hearing more about the progress of Sallyanne’s guinea fowl keets.