When a Guinea Hatches Keets
Kevin Felts 06.09.17
While walking to the back of the property this morning, a mama Guinea had her keets (baby Guineas) on the side of the trail. They looked like they were maybe 48 hours old.
For the past couple of years, one of my Guineas has been hatching keets. Unlike a lot of chicken breeds, Guineas retain their instinct to sit on eggs and hatch them out. The mama Guinea will seek out a secluded place usually in high grass, weeds or a brush pile. She wants a place where she will not be disturbed our found.
Guineas are pretty self-reliant. They hustle for their food and will travel long distances to do so. I have seen my Guineas around two hundred yards from the chicken house. Unfortunately, keets can not travel like their parents can. So, for the first few weeks, we should ensure the keets have access to water and food.
For the first month or so, at night, the mama will take the keets back to where they were hatched. I usually watch where the mama is hanging out and place the water and feed close to that area, but not too close. Chicken feed will attract rats and opossums, both of which can kill the keets.
When a chick hatches, they will usually be able to live for around 48-72 hours without food or water. This is how hatcheries are able to mail chicks, and the chicks will be alive when they arrive.
If a chick is walking, it is at least 24 hours, maybe closer to 48 hours old. When you see the mama Guinea with her chicks, the first thing they will probably need is water. I always set a chicken waterer close to where the mama and the keets are hanging out at.
Then comes food. For the next couple of weeks, I usually switch the whole flock, chickens and Guineas, to chick grower feed. This is a finely ground, high protein chicken feed the chicks are able to eat.
Mama Guineas are very protective. This morning while I was looking at the keets, my Black Mouth Cur dog got too close to the keets. The mama ruffled her feathers and chased the dog away.
Everything else will be up to the mama Guinea. You did your part, and that is all you can do.