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More Babies

October 16th, 2013

It’s really interesting how things happen around here.  Earlier this summer, our broody guinea and mama duck hatched out their nests on the same day.  Last month, both the guinea and the duck starting sitting on nests once again.  Yesterday, they both had their first hatchlings.  That means we’ll be overrun with babies once again.
guinea meet with mama
When I checked on broody guinea’s nest yesterday I saw an empty egg shell, but no keet.  This little thing was off with the adult guineas pretty far away from the nest.  Guineas are notoriously bad mothers, but I plan on letting her brood this batch.  I will try to keep an eye out to make sure nothing goes terribly wrong, but I want to see how guineas raise their young.  The ones that do make it will be strong little guys and should make great additions to our flock. It will certainly be difficult not to step in though!
guinea keets
When I noticed mama duck off her nest yesterday I decided to check for babies, since last time her eggs hatched at the same time as the guineas.  Sure enough, there were three tiny ducklings and five eggs pipping (there are 15 eggs total in her nest).  If you notice, her nest is in a plastic pet kennel.  These are great to use because they’re easy to clean, have great ventilation, are lockable and they’re easily movable just in case you ever need to move the nest.
baby muscovy ducklings 1
baby muscovy ducklings 2
We still haven’t gotten rid of any of the first hatchlings from these two.  There are 9 ducks (6 male, 3 female) from her first hatch and there are 10 guinea keets that have survived (initially there were 15).  We plan on slaughtering most of the male ducks and a few of the guineas.  The rest will be kept for breeding and insect patrol.  Looks like fowl is the name of the game here at Chiot’s Run!  I’m thinking the future I’m going to have mama duck hatch out some chicks for me.

Would it be hard for you to not intervene to keep the keets safe in the case of our guinea hen and here keets?  


9 Comments to “More Babies”
  1. Mich on October 16, 2013 at 5:15 am

    I’d probably step in to aid keets Guineas are such bad parents.
    Never tried hatching chickens under a duck not sure the humidity factor of damp/wet duck would bode well for hens eggs..

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  2. DebbieB on October 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I would be hard pressed to let nature take its course – I’d be “clucking” over the little guys and wanting to protect them! I totally agree, though, that the ones who survive the natural process will be hardy, strong, and smart – and maybe lucky! All good qualities for the next generation.

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  3. Nebraska Dave on October 16, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Susy, mother nature has been taking care of chickens and Guineas since time began. We always think that it’s better if we help her along. Granted more of the hatch will live if we take an active role in raising the birds. My garden is always plentiful with wild turkeys. They seem to reproduce just fine without my help. But that’s another whole story. We in our infinite wisdom have bred wild out of the birds that we now have on the homestead. They now need our help to survive. It’s really difficult to leave the homestead for any length of time when birds or animals are involved. That’s why mine are the wild kind. On the other hand what would a homestead be without life in the barnyard. Some of my best farm memories are animal memories. It is a dilemma isn’t it?

    Have a great fall hatching day.

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  4. Miranda on October 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    i do like the idea of hte pet kennel…. but i live in teh land of constant rain in the fall/winter/spring…. that thing would be flooded. I’m planning a small a frame duck broody house. we’ll see how it turns out!

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    • Susy on October 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Ours is under a roofed area. The nice thing is that you can move it easily out of the rain if necessary. We first put her in it because we were going to move the ducks, figured it would lessen our risk of her abandoning her nest.

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  5. amy on October 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Ummm no :) My guineas were always free range so I never knew where they were setting…..and they would have such huge clutches….that quite frankly I couldn’t tell whether any were lost or not….I think I agree with Mitch on the chicken egg under a duck situation….How on earth did you get the duck to go inside the carrier…..What a great idea! Mine always have a hideaway in the barn….that is elusive to us.

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    • Susy on October 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Our duck started her nest in the corner of the barn earlier this year and I simply moved her eggs into the kennel and put the kennel in the area she had her nest. She started laying in there right away and the next time she started a nest she automatically used the kennel, though this time around we got her a slightly larger kennel and drilled drainage holes in the bottom of it for ventilation. We had a few kennels outside and the ducks actually loved to get in them to sleep, even the males would sleep in them on occasion. This was long before our duck started laying, so maybe getting them used to the kennels first helped.

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  6. Erika on October 17, 2013 at 8:15 am


    We have keets and guineas we rounded ours up to raise them ourselves since the moms first 2 attempts failed. We loved having guineas they are fun though noisy.

    They definately know who their family is and who doesn’t belong. My mom was here yesterday and they don’t know her so they were giving that stranger danger call to us and each other.


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  7. watermelonpunch on October 18, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Those chicks look like they’re wearing toupees! LOL

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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