Almost 3 months ago we started to collect Guinea Fowl eggs from around the farm to incubate ourselves as Guineas are usually the most absent minded parents, forget where they have laid their eggs and then they get spoilt. We place the eggs in incubators in town as we sometimes experience power-cuts here in the jungle during the rainy season. Although we have a generator, trying to keep the perfect temperature and humidity in the incubators is problematic.
So the very first batch of 20 eggs this season were placed in the large incubator; Guinea eggs take 28 days to hatch so it was with amazement that we actually saw the first egg hatch after just 21 days! When the chick emerged ( see snap 2) and dried-off it was easily recognized as a baby chicken! Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch (but with the same temperature and humidity requirements to that of Guinea Fowl eggs).
We can only imagine that a passing chicken (i.e. Henry’s mother!) saw the Guinea Fowl nest and decided to add one of her own and so laid an egg in amongst the Guinea eggs. (They are actually a slightly different shape and size but this wasn’t noticed when the eggs went into the incubator. See snap 1).
So now we had a solitary baby chick and we called him Henry! Henry was joined a week later by 19 baby Guinea Fowl ‘Keets’ and happily spent the first 3 weeks in a warm brooder gaining strength and putting on weight. He was a very spoiled chick usually playing on the computer desk with pens, glasses and anything else he could get his beak into! (see snap 3!) Henry and his friends then progressed to an outside coup to acclimatize them to cooler temperature conditions that they would experience on the farm. Then last week this first batch of Guineas, including Henry, went ’home’ to Thung Dong, where they were laid, to a large, safe, dry, indoor enclosure where they will remain until the end of the rainy season in October growing bigger and bolder every day. Then we will open the door to allow them to roam free throughout the farm (Henry already has have a special ring on his leg to identify him amongst all the other chickens!)….but we will keep close to Henry who remains very tame, comes when called, follows around after you and enjoys human company far more than all those noisy Guinea Fowl who he grew-up with! Henry is special as are all of our animals on Thung Dong Farm!
The finished Henry will follow but this is the story of Henry the chicken…so far!