Our first Guinea Fowl nest of the season hatched on the 9th July, 2 days ahead of schedule! In fact of 24 eggs in the incubators 11 arrived two days early, maybe because we have warm weather, 6 one day ahead and 3 right on time! Only four eggs proved to be infertile (although I wish they had all hatched!) which gives us a hatch rate of about 83% which is quite gratifying after all the work during the past 28 days ensuring that the eggs were turned every 45 minutes and that the temperature and humidity were exactly as recommended.
Most are ‘Pearl - White Breasted' and 3 have very bright white chests. Unfortunately no pure Whites but 1 little Lavender fellow who was quite weak when he hatched but who is now bouncing around their heated brooding box together with his siblings. 1 hatched and the Inner Shell Membrane covered his eyes and dried, in all sense making him blind. So as in such cases under a bight light with magnifying glass, a cotton bud dipped in warm water is used to very carefully wipe back and remove the offending tissue on both eyes. Even I was so surprised that just a few minutes after this procedure he was pecking away at the high protein feed and drinking the vitamin enriched water that we give these ‘Keets’ and now I cannot even tell which bird he is!
So 20 hatched. 50 more eggs in the large incubator and 7 in the Brinsea plus roughly 60 more eggs under chickens all due to hatch before mid-August. Now the fun begins!..... and if we pick-up, hold and gently cuddle a day old ‘Keet’ several times each day they will become very tame; come when called and sit on my shoulder whilst I work on the farm. The only problem is they will roost outside my bedroom and wake me up just before the sun rises with their high pitched screeching! Therefore it is very wise to just tame a few of these very cute and special little birds!
After 3 weeks in the initial brooding box they will transfer to a much larger box with a higher Brinsea Brooder making it slightly cooler. Another 4 weeks they will migrate to a large, but very safe, ‘run’ in the bird house and finally when reaching about 3 months they will be allowed out on their own to join all the other Guineas roaming our farm! …and to think we have around another 100 Guineas yet to hatch! It's actually very hard work when the Guineas arrive…but who can resist these little bundles of mischief?