Guineafowl Wrangling Momma and keets

Discussion in 'Gamebirds' started by robin416, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    My Guinea girl decided to make a nest up close to the foundation of the house under a bunch of ferns. You'd never know she was there if you didn't watch to see where she went when she returned to the nest.

    Last night sleep was slow to happen, I figured I could sleep in for a bit the next morning. Well, that didn't happen. At 6 this morning my girl started buckwheating. That is not normal so I hustled out of bed. Went out and watched for a minute, heard the boys coming unglued in their pen so I let them out. The mate went running to her.

    I did get to drink my coffee while the parents discussed things. Then out to baby proof the pen and try to formulate a plan for herding her and her keets into the pen. If you've never dealt with a Keet Momma it can be quite the adventure and dangerous.

    As the herding began I kept telling myself, patience. Be patient, don't push too hard. Take it slow. Being in too much of a rush could cause all sorts of unwanted pandemonium. I knew keets could tackle the big step up into the pen so I was prepare with to block of momma when she got in and began to put babies in with her. She attacked the wire I had to block her up so many times I surprised she didn't break through.

    Tried for a pic but that didn't work out well.
     
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  2. TomC

    TomC Active Member

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    Sounds like you had an adventurous morning. Congratulations on the new babies.
     

  3. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    The neatest part is that daddy is in the pen with them and not interested at all in coming out. I've had them be attentive before but this boy seems to go beyond any I've ever experienced before. At least I don't think he'll attack me like I know she will.
     
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  4. TomC

    TomC Active Member

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    That's cool. It's hard enough to get an attentive daddy in humans, pretty rare in domestic animals. I'm kind of surprised that momma will let him around, but I'm not familiar with guineas and don't know anything about how they behave. Although, we have already been talking about getting some next spring to help with insect control. So, be ready next spring to give me lots of advise.
     
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  5. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    You will need a another coop first. Keeping chickens and Guineas together is a huge challenge. Guineas are still very much wild African birds and instinct has them behaving as they do in the wild. Which can be vicious to others and each other. But pounding on each other they can take, chickens can't. A flock of at least ten Guineas is safest when free ranging with chickens. Any less and male Guineas will go after chickens when they look for a sparring partner.

    Guinea daddies do help to some degree. Most don't stay all day with them like this one is doing. And Momma doesn't have any issue having him around. What he won't do is hunker down to warm babies up but he will stand still for them.

    And as an after thought, you have to be able to change your mind set. Guineas are not chickens and can be a challenge to deal with if the adjustment can't be made.
     
  6. TomC

    TomC Active Member

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    "IF" we get them, we are only going to get about a dozen. I had already planned to build another coop for them, and not try to run them with the chickens. We planned on letting them free range, they won't do much good keeping bugs out of the yard if they're in a pen.
     
  7. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Nope, they wouldn't be worth the trouble if kept up. And they are not happy birds being confined.

    Remember millet. I call it Guinea cocaine, it's the main reason my birds are so good about going up at night or coming when I call. They know millet is waiting on them.

    But there's the issue of nesting. The girls still want to do the nesting in the wild thing. If my girl had not made her nest right up against the house I would have penned her to lay her egg in the pen each day. They are easy predator bait when nesting in the wild.
     
  8. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    So, things are going well with the keets. For the most part.

    Momma is nowhere near as vicious as some of those I've had in the past but if I have to bend over to pick up the waterer or fill the feeder I turn my back to her. That way if she lashes out she won't get my arms or face.

    Then there's this morning. One day post op I do my morning thing. Coffee, feed the cats and now eye drops thing. Turn on the news, sit down with my coffee and I hear a sound. That sound sounds like a keet. Go to the back door and listen, all I hear are wild birds. Come back to my coffee and soon after hear that sound again.

    This time I muted the TV and listened, it was coming from the front of the house. There is a keet out there. Somewhere. I go out the front door which makes it go silent. Stand there forever waiting, finally a short cry off to the right. It couldn't have been in a better spot to catch, high concrete on three sides. It's back where it belongs now.

    Oh and this adventure to the front of the house? That's where the keets hatched.
     
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  9. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I have an escape artist and it appears to be the same one I found in front of the house. I stepped outside to put everyone to bed when I heard the boys very distressed in the pen. I'm thinking to myself, not again. I'm trying to a head count but everyone is so upset no one stayed still long enough to get one.

    Then from around the outside corner comes a keet. I didn't even have to catch it, it popped itself back into a hole that I hadn't noticed. It's temp blocked but I fear this little fart is going to find another way to escape.

    One other thing that is so odd, all three adults have stayed in the pen. I've offered the two boys an open door but they're having nothing to do with going out.
     
  10. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    More observations about the odd differences between these birds and my other flock. Daddy is actually hunkering down to warm keets. And he's threatened me a couple of times so it's not just Momma I have to watch out for.

    I made them a temp outside pen and of course the little darlings find places to get out that upset the parents and foster father terribly. It's fun trying to round the little farts up with the three adults telling me not to touch their little ones.
     
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  11. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Babies are now old enough that the adults are fine with me wandering around in with them. No threats of attack for a few days.

    I did notice one baby last week that I was concerned about. It's way behind the others in size. Poor little thing is smaller than its wings that drag the ground.

    I've watched everyday, done head counts and baby is still trucking along. It stays away from the others when it comes to food or it gets trampled. I switched things up and made sure it got its fair share by itself.

    I'm curious to see what happens as it continues to grow. Will it be the low bird in adulthood? A low bird's life can be miserable at times.
     
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