Keet!

Discussion in 'Chickens and Domestic Fowl' started by Country Living, Oct 30, 2018.

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  1. Oct 30, 2018 #1

    Country Living

    Country Living

    Country Living

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    The latter part of 2016 I lost almost all my chickens to a chicken hawk and cancer (necropsy was done). A bobcat, along with the help of chicken hawks, reduced my Guinea population to four (the hunters across the way reduced the bobcat population). About three years ago we significantly enlarged the chicken pen and put a bird netting over it to keep out the chicken hawks. The birds were no longer allowed to free-range.

    I replenished my chickens (hens) in February 2017 and I thought my remaining Guineas were all female because there isn't any discernible difference between the four of them. One or more of the Guineas has laid eggs several times a year and none have hatched, which is why I didn't think I had a male.

    Imagine my surprise when I went to the coop to clean it Sunday morning and a little hairball was surrounded by all four Guineas. It's been so long since I had keet I had to check Google for pictures. Mother Nature definitely protects them with their coloring.

    I initially brought the keet into the house and put it under a brooder lamp and it just laid there. No activity. Drat. It's a wild bird. I put it out with the Guineas, it hopped up with a happy chirp, ran to mama, and it's been with them ever since. Yesterday, Day 1, the Guineas kept stepping on the keet and knocking it onto its back. The little thing would trash its legs around until it righted itself and then just kept on going.

    I was concerned about the keet getting enough food and water; but, it's a wild bird and it's still alive and thriving two days after hatch. I was really surprised all four Guineas stay close to it and surreptitiously keep it safe. The chickens don't bother it, which was another surprise. I think the Guineas laying claim to the keet immediately has kept the hens at bay.

    Mama still lays on the remaining two eggs (on the ground) at night with the keet safely tucked in underneath her. I'm assuming she will do so until the keet is feathered enough to withstand the colder weather (if it ever comes). At that point I'll pick up the remaining two eggs since they would have hatched by now. We've been lucky with warm days and night temperatures still in the 50s.

    For those of you wondering how the Guineas are taking to being in a pen since they are essentially wild birds - the first few months was difficult for them and they kept flying into the netting. Now they just accept it. It helps that the back part of the pen has a large mound of dirt that is covered with brush along with the flat area beside it (about 1,000sf of a rough brushy area). The two pens together (an initial front pen with a gate separating it and the back pen) are a little over 6,000sf) so there is plenty of room for my small flock. Then they all go in the coop at night. The Guineas have their roost and the hens have their hen house.
     
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  2. Oct 30, 2018 #2

    Country Living

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    I'm not sure you can see the little guy without squinting. It's two days old as of this morning. It's a feisty little thing.

    Keet1_10302018.JPG
     
  3. Nov 1, 2018 #3

    Amish Heart

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    That is so cute. I want guineas!
     
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  4. Nov 2, 2018 #4

    Country Living

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    I love having Guineas! The baby is still a little hairball at five days old and just so darn cute. This morning the keet went out the coop with one of the adults and, a few minutes later, it realized mama was nowhere to be seen. Mama was inside the coop and very unhappy the keet was outside. I gently guided the adult Guinea and the keet back to the coop door and the keet rain inside to mama and the world was back at peace.

    I hate that the birds can't free-range any more because the Guineas kept the area clean of ticks and the chickens kept the area cleared of anything that moved.

    One summer several years ago, when the birds still free-ranged, one of the hunters across the way told me his young sons came running up to him the day before asking dad if he brought a gun on the trip. They excitedly told him they saw some turkeys and wanted to get one for dinner. Their dad told them it wasn't hunting season and those aren't turkeys - they're Country Living's Guineas. I brought the boys over to watch, and listen to, the Guineas for a bit and I think it was the highlight of their summer. They were really excited when I gave them fresh chicken eggs for breakfast the next morning. They didn't know eggs came from chickens because they only get their eggs from the store.
     
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  5. Nov 2, 2018 #5

    Amish Heart

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    They will remember that, Country Living! Glad the boys didn't hunt your guineas!
    My favorite cousin had a few free ranging guineas. They were down to one pair this year. The hen was on eggs, and something got her overnight. The poor male was heartbroken. They stood an old mirror up against the barn and he comes to look at himself. He really likes looking at himself.
     
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  6. Nov 2, 2018 #6

    Country Living

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    When the Guineas free-ranged, they had a nest on the fence line where bobcats snatched some of my broody girls right off the nest. I tracked the cats into the hunting lease across the way until I lost them in heavy brush. I sent an email to the two hunting clubs in the area to be on the lookout for the bobcats and the members accommodated me by... resolving.... the problem..... temporarily.

    I'm glad your friend came up with the mirror idea. Guineas are large flock birds so I hope your friend can get several more Guineas to keep the remaining one company.
     
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  7. Nov 2, 2018 #7

    Amish Heart

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    They have a good sized fowl sale at the end of each month in that town, so I'm sure they'll work on it! I've only seen the grey types there, though. Looking in the Cackle Hatchery book, there's a few colors.
     
  8. Nov 4, 2018 #8

    Terri9630

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    I'm getting some Guineas when we move. I can deal with most critters but ticks and chiggers..... Can't stand them.
     
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  9. Nov 7, 2018 #9

    Country Living

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    After I cleaned the coop yesterday morning, I realized all four adult Guineas were out in the pen..... and no keet. Drat! I didn't see the keet anywhere so I spent over an hour scouring the coop for a rat snake. I went back in the house to have breakfast and then looked through the coop again as well as the front pen. No snake. I was not a happy camper to lose that keet. The Guineas were in the coop when I searched it the second time and they just hung around as though they were waiting for the baby to show up.

    We went to town for a couple of hours and, after we got home, I went back to the pen to see if I had better luck finding the snake. All four Guineas were in the front pen.... with the keet. I have no idea where it had been and, what makes the whole situation even more weird, the keet is never more than a couple of feet away from the Guineas. I said several prayers to the good Lord for keeping the baby safe.

    It's 11 days old today and is just starting to get its wing feathers. We still have a risk of rat snakes until the weather gets colder next week so I'm carrying a .22 revolver with snake shot in it along with my .380 just to be on the safe side.
     
  10. Nov 7, 2018 #10

    The Lazy L

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    Chicken flock #2 when I let them out for the first time they ran to the west and disappeared. About three hours later I went looking for them. Heavy wooded and brush property. I walked the lot lines, take a few steps then stop, look for movement and listen for clucking, nothing. Put boots and heavier pants on and hiked down the center of the property. 2 or 3 steps pause, scanned, listen and wait then repeat. No chickens. I've come to the conclusion that they are stilling running west and will stop when they hit the Pacific. Shame because they had just start laying too. Blast it all what was I thinking?

    Dusk and I remembered I hadn't collect the eggs. All of the Hens were roosting in the coop giving me the stink eye.
     

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