Do Keets Hatched By Guinea Hen Need Warmth From A Brooder?

I have been asked by a Incubating & Hatching Guinea Fowl Keets eBook customer if keets hatched by a guinea fowl will still need to go into a brooder for warmth.

Yes, I have 3 guinea fowl. 1 girl and 2 boys. I’ve had them since they were 12 weeks and though fairly skittish, they’re pretty tame.

One question. If she does sit on her nest and manages to hatch a family, do the keets have to be brought in to the warmth or can she be allowed to go on caring for them? From everything I’ve read it seems they need warmth for the first 12 weeks.

Thanks again

Here is my response:

Hi Anne,

Delighted that you like the eBook. I know what you mean about skittish and tame at the same time. My eldest guinea fowl is about 6 years old. He is now beginning to look elderly and the other younger males are now becoming boss. Mine are free range duting the day and go into a hut at night.

If your guinea sits and hatches her eggs, she may keep the keets with her but some say that guinea fowl will abandon their nest before hatch or abandon looking after their keets.

Once you get to the stage where the eggs are hatching I would have a brooder ready with a lamp and suitable flooring and protection from predators and drafts so that the keets can go into the brooder if they are abandoned by mum. They will eat chikc crumbs and like warm water which I put marbles in the drinker so they don’t get their head in it – the ebook will go into detail about brooding keets and the suitbale flooring and temperatures etc. You are right they do need warmth for the first 12 weeks but if the guinea hen is a good mum she will give them warm.

If she does sit on her nest then she will need to be protected from predators as I have found that the guinea fowl tend to lay in hedgerows without protection however when I try to put a run over the nest they tend to get off it.

If she does sit then I would make sure she is kept separate from the males as they may become jealous of the keets.

Good luck – let me know if you do get her to sit and hatch some eggs.

Just to let you kow I have a free forum with a section on guinea fowl. they forum is popular with lots of friendly members.

Kind regards

Front Cover Of Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl Keets An eBook

If you fancy having a go at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale (UK Spring and Summer months).

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Guinea Fowl Keets

Since Sunday 15 guinea fowl keets have successfully hatched out. I generally leave the keets in the incubator for 24 hours so that their feathers can dry out and they can fluff up. It is ok to leave them in the incubator for this length of time as they get their food from the sac. After about 24 hours I transfer the keets to a brooder where they have heat, chick crumbs and water. I usually put marbles in the drinker so that the keets don’t drown in the water. The floor of the brooder has corrugated cardboard and straw on it. This helps the keets to move about the brooder safely and the non-slip flooring stops the keets from getting splayed legs.

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

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

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!


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’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

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

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

Guinea Fowl Keets Hatching

This is my second guinea fowl hatch of the year. The 19 eggs have been in the incubator 28 days today (Sunday).

Yesterday afternoon 3 of the eggs started to pip and by 9am this morning 1 guinea fowl keet had hatched and 2 more were close to hatching.

At 10 am another guinea fowl keet had hatched and 1 was close to hatching, along with 3 more pipped eggs.

By 2pm this afternoon another guinea fowl keet had hatched out with 4 eggs all pipped and cracking well.

Things have slowed down in the incubator and by 7.30pm only 1 more keet has hatched out. Three eggs are pipped and the keets are trying very hard to break through their shells. It is so hard not to open the incubator and help the hatching keets but all the books say that this should not be done.

At the close of Sunday I have 4 newly hatched out guinea fowl keets and 3 pipped eggs. After the tragic news about my guinea hen Harriet falling victim to the vicious vixen, it is nice to end the day with some positive animal news. I’ll provide an update tomorrow to let you know if any more keets have managed to hatch – fingers crossed.