This story begins with our guinea hens deciding that the best place for their spring nest was next to a feeder in the barn.
There was some confusion about exactly where the eggs should stay.
We used a panel to block off this area (yet another use for these great panels from Shaul’s!) so the sheep wouldn’t step on the nest. The sheep were less than thrilled about this re-arrangement of their dining area but they adjusted over the course of the 28 or so days.
Sometimes other guineas visited.
Finally, another hen joined the nest.
Eventually a few chicks started to hatch…
We were never sure how many….and then they moved them deeper into the barn and eventually out of the barn altogether.
Unfortunately, in the process they managed to “mis-place” all but two chicks. We debated for a day or two about whether they would be able to successfully protect these two remaining chicks. We had this situation when we first moved here and the guineas at the time lost the two chicks they had managed to hatch. We were not impressed with their parenting abilities. So, we made the decision to remove the two chicks. They lived in the house for about a week but, sadly, the one who never seemed quite right, died. That left us with one guinea chick – not a good thing. She just sat in the corner of her cage all day and night, peeping sometimes and learning to eat some from a plate. This was not going to be a good life. We couldn’t just release her – she wouldn’t have been accepted back by the flock and would be worse off than before.
A friend with guineas (Kathy, who we actually got keets – baby guineas – from last year who turned into this flock of parents) said she has had some success adding chicken chicks to keets. We thought this was the only chance to provide this little one with some company.
I chose some 2-3 day old chicks at the local feed store. The keet was about 10 days old by now but keets are smaller than chicken chicks so the size seemed about right.
The change in her was immediate. She became animated, learning to eat from a feeder and pecking and scratching in her new home.
She seems to have adjusted well to the company and is actually growing faster than the chicks, I think. When they are feathered out they will go to the old guinea house. Eventually, she will be released to free-range with the others and the chicks will join the existing chicken flock.
She may believe she is a chicken. Only time will tell.