I got two guinea fowl for Christmas in 2018- they where adult guineas, one boy and one girl and not tame in the slightest. Long story short- they are no longer here so I have hatched out some keets to raise.
When I got the adults I kept them in the coop to try and get them to come back but they would be on the top of the greenhouse, shed, in the tree, or completely disappear. Well one day they never came back and I missed their personality’s so I decided to hatch some in the incuabtor.
I have tried to hatch some before but to no avail- I find they are really hard to hatch, if the humidity is even slightly out they seem to struggle. November 2019 I put 6 eggs in the incubator and I have managed to hatch three out by paying more attention to the humidity levels. One of the three had splayed legs so I have written another article about how I have approached this.
Once the guineas hatched, I left them in the incubator for 24 hours before moving them to their first stage housing. This can be seen in the video below where they are two weeks old.
2 weeks old:
The main things my keets housing has when they are young is as follows:
- Heat- I use a large bulb heat lamp as I find these the warmest- in the summer I don’t use something so extreme but its December here and pretty cold which makes the keets vulnerable.
- High sided box- I simply use an old storage box that has high sides. You’ll find they can pick up speed, jump and attempt to fly from a very young age so the high sides are needed to contain them.
- Grid top- I put a metal piece of grid on the top to ensure they don’t jump out or escape over the top
- Non-slip mat- I can’t stress enough how much I would recommend this! Keets really struggle with spayed legs and they are so hard to correct once they have it. I put a nonslip mat on the floor at the beginning. These nonslip mats are nothing fancy or expensive, you can get them most commonly as nonslip mats for the bottom of your sink.
- Food- I use a chick crumb, the higher protein is the better option for keets. I do use a food bowl, but at a young age you will notice they peck around, it’s therefore a good idea to sprinkle some on the floor for them.
- Water- as with all animals water is essential. I used a little bowl and never put too much in at once. Sad to say but if you put a lot of water down the chance is they will fall in, get stuck or cold and die. I find it much better to put less water and top up regularly.
3 weeks old:
At three weeks old the keets where outgrowing the initial housing so I moved them to something more appropriate. The main changes where:
- Larger area- for this I used an indoor guinea pig / rabbit cage. It’s ideal as its more spacious for them and the wire surround means they are well contained as they gain strength.
- Heat Adjustment- I started to reduce the heat they where getting and eventually moved them onto a Brinsea brooder heat.
- Matting- at this point the legs are a lot stronger now so I don’t put down matting, the great thing about an indoor guinea pig / rabbit cage is often the floor is actually not smooth anyway so this helps make the transition easier.
- Food & Water- I have moved them to a proper drinker and feeder. Although still on the same feed moving them to proper feeders and drinkers just gets them use to it before they move outside.
At four weeks old I moved the guineas outside, please see my next blog post for more information on that move!