The influx of baby animals continues. This time with the first actual births on the farm. Our broody guinea hen hatched out her eggs. Of the five remaining eggs, three hatched. If you remember, she started with 23 of her own eggs and 1 turkey egg. About 2.5 weeks into it she lost 15 eggs, including the turkey egg, to a predator. She sat on the remaining nine eggs until today, at which point there were only five left (something must have come last night for the other four). Three hatched and now there are tiny little guinea keets running around chasing her.
Her timing has been less than perfect. First she chose to sit on the eggs through a serious heat wave. Then she hatched out on the first rainy day we've had in months. It literally rained all day, and it wasn't very warm either. She managed through it though and we're very proud of her. She lost a ton of body weight over the course of those four weeks and now she has three healthy babies. We want to see if she can raise them.
We debated taking her babies and raising them for her so that she wouldn't mess it up. We have yet to hear of a guinea hen successfully hatching out and raising keets to adulthood. Most stories involve the hen leaving the keets in the cold grass overnight and losing them. Keets have to be kept at close to 100 degree temps for the first week or two and then continually kept warm after that. Today our guinea hen sat on her day-old babies 90% of the time and the rest of the time they followed her around, pecking at the ground like mom. She understands that she needs to keep them warm, which is good. She rounds them up with her wings and they disappear under her.
At nightfall it was still raining and she chose a spot in the middle of a field to bed down. It also happens to be a field where I saw an opossum last week. I didn't feel right leaving her in its path in the cold rain. She deserved a better first night with her babies.
It was pouring rain and getting colder and she was already soaking wet. So we made the decision to catch her and her keets and put them in the coop on some fresh hay for the night. She literally flew at us out of fear, which was sad, but I snagged her in mid-air and Sweetbreads rounded up the little ones. Her husband, Guinea Cent, also came flying on the attack. He was a good dad, and had sat on the keets on and off throughout the day. He wasn't letting them go that easy, but eventually he followed into the coop.
On warm and non-rainy nights we'll leave them be. She survived for four weeks on her nest, so we know she can do it. This first night though, she's living in coop luxury. Hope she gets some sleep.
At some point we'll get close-ups of the tiny ones, they're surreal.
Oh, and the baby goat is improving every hour. Still can't walk, but she's trying, and she's putting on some weight. Our Facebook and Instagram have been overloaded with her cuteness, in case you need a baby goat fix.