Tuesday, June 22, 2010

more about guineas

Flashback to two weeks ago....before we picked up our two new batches of keets. We had five guineas...four of them were from our original batch that we raised from day old keets two years ago. The fifth guinea was given to us by our neighbour last fall. Our "big boss" guinea went missing during the afternoon and I thought he must have been someone's meal. I was overjoyed (no, I'm not exaggerating) when I found him by our shed when I went outside to put all the guineas in the coop for the night. Then I noticed that something was wrong. He had his beak open and was gasping for breath. He did follow me down the hill and into the coop, but keeled over and died. I was very upset and shed some tears (I will never attempt to be a farmer!).

So the timing of picking up our keets last week was very good! Here is the set up needed for raising very young keets:A small box or bin, with a light to keep them warm, water, and food (turkey starter). Here is the gang of 8:Yesterday I showed the larger white keet, with just the ribs of his wings. It took just a few days, but his wings now have feathers and he's growing feathers on his back too.I say "he" but really we won't know what sex they are until they get older. The only way I know how to tell the difference is by the sound they make. Right now they are just "peepers", but they will get to be very loud and noisy birds! The males only make one sound, and the females can make the same sound as the males, as well as a different call. All our large guineas are males, so we're hoping that some of the keets are females.

Unfortunately, our 8 keets are now only 7. Yes....we've lost one already. It was evident the day after we picked up the second batch that one of them was sick. I spent Thursday keeping the keet in a pouch next to me to try to keep him warm. I spoon fed him water to keep him hydrated. I also phoned the people we bought them from to see if they could give me more advice. Apparently sometimes their bottoms get plugged up, so you have to check to make sure their bums are clean. I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be washing a chicken's bum!! Anyway, his little bum was fine. He perked up a little on Friday, but died overnight.

But...life goes on and the 7 remaining keets are doing great. They have already graduated to a larger cage. I was told to use carpet on the bottom on their cage...and I did try it, but the poor little guys were getting their toenails stuck in the carpet and were unable to move! So the carpet was removed, and I won't be doing that again.

They'll stay in a cage in our shed with a light to keep them warm for the next week, and then we'll move them down to the coop. We'll keep them seperated from the larger guineas for 6 weeks in total. By the end of July, the new batch should be ready for the great outdoors. It won't take them long to go from cute little keets to ugly as sin guineas!


Mickey (Michel) Johnson said...

...how neat. we used to have guineas...they are so good about eating bugs and such. too bad about your wee one...as my boys and i say, "that is the cycle of life" glad to hear the others are doing well and they will be out and about in not time...those rascals grow incredibly fast!

Nancy said...

So brave of you to take on more guineas knowing you may have to deal with the loss of a few. Of course ticks are pretty aweful too. I had my first tick experience. On my cat who barely leaves the house. Not my puppy who loves to roll on the tall grass.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

You're such a good guinea mother! How sad about the big male; and dying right in front of you! And the wee keet. But here's hoping that the rest will grow to be happy tick-eating ugly guys that you'll have for years.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

PS - Have you and John tried Wildwood Cafe on King St yet? I think you'd like it; wonderful food and atmosphere at great prices.