Saturday, June 17, 2006


What? I didn't mention that I was getting a brood of guineas? Must have slipped my mind in all the excitement! Now that my babies......ahem, chicks.......are well on their way to adult chickenhood, I have again become a proud momma, this time to fifteen itsy bitsy baby pearl guineas, also known as keets.

I had read that they were tiny but was not prepared for the lilliputian little penguin-like faces that gazed up at me when I opened the box they had been shipped in. They are at least half the size of chick.....and twice as loud! It took them several hours to settle down from the stress of their two-day trip from the hatchery in Missouri, and in the meantime we were treated to a relentless high-pitched cacophony of shrieks, squeaks, and whistles. We called Dwayne at his job and held the phone down in the brooder. His description was apt: "Sounds like a jungle!"
Blogger is not allowing me to post photos for some reason so a description will have to suffice for now. They are very pretty with their tortiseshell-like coloring and bright peachy pink beaks and feet. Like chicks, though, not exactly candidates for Mensa. Their main focus when I first put them in the brooder was to scamper around, heads low to the ground, grabbing the exposed toes of their squawking siblings. They do bear a certain resemblance to worms I suppose. Thankfully that behavior stopped when they discovered the feed was something edible. I'm giving them a turkey starter mash since they need a higher protein concentration than chicks. They are eating and drinking (and pooping) with gusto now. They seem quite a bit more skittish than chicks and I understand that it takes hours of consistent handling to tame them. I don't know that I can devote that much time to fifteen keets so we'll probably each choose a couple to train and the rest will just have to be anti-social!
Please comment on your own experiences with guineas.........advice is always welcome!


Blogger ks said...

guineas......... the only ones I know are pigs:)

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there Emily!

Congratulations on your new arrivals!!! Again your 'Proud Moma' presona comes thru your writings very strongly---is that anything like I feel with my pride in gardening? Seems different somehow. Your babies are living, breathing, running around, squacking, chirping animals.

Seems that our maternal instincts are a little stronger for baby animals vs. baby plants.

Anyway, I've no experience whatsoever with baby guineas. The only time I had adult guineas, I couldn't get near them. They came and went as they pleased. Tney also slept in the trees only to freeze to death in our extreme winters.

Best wishes! Glad to hear that your first chicks are doing so well.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Kansas Milkmaid said...

Baby guineas are psychotic, nervous birds that need a lot of therapy. They are loud and get only louder. They are incredibly amusing. Love 'em while they are little cuz they get dern ugly fast. You think the adolscent look of the chicks are gawky...give those guineas a few weeks and they will show you a gawky adolscence never before witnessed in any species. I am not sure how they reproduce as they are just not loving to each other. They fly at a very young age and you can never really hold them after they get to be more guinea like. They are just a "no touchie" type bird. They don't have a homing instinct like chickens so they don't pen up easily. They like to roost in the highest spot possible. The top of the trees or the roof of the house is game. They love to intimidate city folk. They badger each other and bully too. They are notorious for taking on large vehicles. We have had a few guinea pancakes and hood ornaments. Some passerbys will stop and honk them out of the road. They will turn on you and block you in your driveway or out of your driveway depending on their mood. They do good bug patrol though. They are good watch dogs but they are loyal to no one. They are the most entertaining yet suicidal creatures on our farm. We just hatched out two guineas and have forty more eggs in the incubator. They are very bad mothers so we raid nests and hatch them out. Once we tortured a broody hen and gave her eggs to incubate. We learned that guineas drive momma hens nutz. I think it is in Carla's Encyclopeida. I can't wait to hear more of your adventures.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

We had guinea pigs growing up and they created quite the racket with their own special brand of squeal, I remember.

Thanks! Yes, those maternal instincts are definitely brought to the forefront with these wee ones. Gotta baby something! I'm hoping that we can hand-tame at least a few of them. There's a whole process you go through to train them so we're going to try it and see if it works. If not, well, we hear they make good eating, too!

Psychotic? Oh yes! Nervous? Uh huh! Therapy? For me! Why? Because I'm starting to get a complex from these guys. My chickies love me to pieces but the keets act like I'm out to murder them every time I come near them! Now you've got me terrified with all your guinea horror stories! Umm, could you direct me to the nearest psychotherapist?

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are getting a full house. You have to show us pictures of your keets. God Bless

12:20 PM  
Blogger Marci said...

I am glad you are the one with guineas and not me. They are SO loud and they love the neighbors property. =) My husband said, "NO GUINEAS".

You asked me about goats. I think you have to pick what you like. I have heard people say that Toggenburg milk tastes funny, but I have a friend who raises them and their milk doesn't taste funny. I wanted Nubians originally because of the butterfat, but my son made a deal with a friend about buying a baby goat and it was an Alpine. Our neighbors just got a Nubian and she hollers so loud it drives you bonkers. Nubians seem to be more vocal and they have a totally different voice than Alpines. I love my Alpines and will just stick to the one breed. I personally don't like the look of the LaManchas. However, they are more like an Alpine in milk and noise.

My son had his goats in the fair when we were still in Florida. The pens across the aisle from our goats were all LaManchas. EVERYONE would ask us what happened to their ears. The man with the goats in the pen next to ours, finally started telling people that they were Alaska Racing Goats. They bred the ears out of them, so they would not get frost bit. =)

By the way, Homestead Heaven is still up and running. I don't know if you remember Deanna or not, but she is now in ND.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Welcome back from your trip! Can't wait to read the mission report. I'll be stopping by your blog later. God's blessings to you as well.

Looks like I have two votes for Alpines so far! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I agree...the LaManchas are odd-looking. I like the look of Nubians but the extra noise (on top of the guineas!) would probably be too much.

3:06 PM  

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