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Loaves and Fishes (or Guineas and Ducks)

May 1st, 2014

I’ve been keeping a keen eye on the guinea fowl trying to figure out where they’re laying their eggs.  They don’t like to lay in the coop, preferring to find a secluded spot in the brush somewhere, generally somewhere completely inconvenient and perfect for predators to get them.
I had a chicken that was laying eggs in a pile of pine boughs that came down during the big ice storm this past winter.  Two days ago I found 2 guinea eggs in the nest.  The next day there were 9 guinea eggs in the nest, yesterday there were 18 eggs in the nest. We also had a hen that hatched out 15 keets that we brooded ourselves, these are members of our current flock.  With 7-9 guinea hens laying eggs, this nest will fill up very quickly.  I’ll collect some of the eggs but leave most of them hoping to have them sit on this nest which I can keep an eye on. Guinea eggs are delicious, the yolks are very big so I’ll probable use them to make custard or ice cream.
guinea eggs (1)
Last fall we had a guinea hatch out a few keets, though none of them made it. Guineas are notoriously bad mothers. I’m planning on letting nature take it’s course with these, though I have lots of people interested in purchasing keets so I might try to steal some to sell. I also have four muscovy hens sitting on nests right now. These birds are multiplying to Biblical proportions – never a dull moment around here!

What’s the craziest kind of egg you have eaten?

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?  


Reading & Watching

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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.