We had recently attended a seminar on raising Honey Bees at a farm and ranch store near us (about 60 miles away or so). While at that seminar I noticed this store having a wide selection of freshly hatched guinea keets (that’s the name for a guinea chick). I struck up a conversation with the store manager and was absolutely assured that we could buy guineas up to April 1st. When we called last week, apparently that information was incorrect. Ugh!
So, not to be discouraged by the poor information and the lack of customer service that followed, we have gone a different route… hatching our own. At nearly $6.00 per bird to buy them at this store (who won’t be getting much, if any, of my money going forward) we probably should have considered our new alternative first anyway. We found fertile guinea eggs, at a different location, for only $4.00 for an entire dozen.
That’s a huge savings to say the least. So we are ordering three dozen. We’ll likely have way more birds that we want ultimately, but we will have some to give away to friends and/or sell. At a total investment of only $12.00, we stand to do pretty well compared to the $6.00 per bird at the customer service award winners’ store.
That’s the cost of two already hatched keets. What was I thinking? This is the way we should have planned for to begin with.
Oh wait… what about an incubator. Ha! Incubators cost anywhere from a fifty dollars to several hundred dollars or more. Luckily, we have a friend named Julie that has an incubator that we can borrow. I just love this aspect of country life… “If I have it and you need to use it… come get it” Friends are priceless out here. Thanks Julie!
So, we are in business! Now the fun begins. I’ve never been very good at waiting though. 28 days to see these critters hatch. This is going to be fun… or it may just kill me waiting to see the first keet break through the egg shell. I don’t know yet. If my articles stop suddenly, I guess that would be a clue. LOL
Raising guineas is a bit different than raising chickens. These birds are much more fragile that chickens. The temperature during incubation and for several weeks after they hatch is much more crucial than raising chickens. Keets are not very hardy birds comparatively and much care must be taken to regulate their temperature or they will not survive.
Once hatched, feeding them isn’t the same as chickens either. Keets require a diet with much more protein than typical chicken starter feed provides too. Turkey feed or game bird starter will do the trick nicely. By the end of the first bag of feed (per one dozen birds), the keets can be switched to regular layer crumbles or pellets. Until this time, it is also important to provide the keets with warm water, never cold water.
Another thing that must be taken into consideration is their habitat. Keets are very susceptible to injury from having a walking surface too slick in the weeks after they hatch. Even something like newspaper to line their cage can cause a condition known as ‘Spraddle Legs’ which is irreversible and can cause life-long discomfort to your birds. A textured shelf liner is the best liner you can use for their cage.
Until next week…
Vern Six is a freelance computer programmer and entrepreneur. He is a United States Army certified survival expert and former Christian missionary. Vern has been a hobby blogger for nearly five years and now has his “According to Vern” blog published in numerous newspapers around the world. You can learn more about Vern by visiting his website at http://AccordingToVern.com