Thursday, July 7, 2011

Help, Need Advice!

Guinea girl and the broody hen are still alive and I have a question for all you more experienced farmers out there. One the eggs hatch will the other chickens accept the chicks and keats into the flock or do I have to separate them?

Can I collect up the newborn keats and give them to the hen?

Can I add my keats that I am raising in the garage to the chicken flock or would they be in danger of being killed?

Sorry for no pictures but I have ZERO time with 10 house guests this week! The rams may move to their new home tomorrow as the deforestation continues out back.


  1. From my experience, other hens will peck at the chicks if they come near them. If they are free roaming, the mother hen will take care of them. If they are in a coop, she can't really keep them away from the other hens. Not for long anyway. If I ever want to combine bird of any size or kind, I figure out some way to get them next to each other, but with chicken wire in between. That way, they get used to each other slowly and there isn't nearly as much fighting as just throwing them together. There will always be some fighting and the older birds can be quite mean. You might be able to sneak a few keets to a hen if she has "just" had a hatch. All I know is that the hens are always smarter than I give them credit for. I hope this helps, it is just what I have experienced, the hard way.

  2. I am waiting to read the comments and advice in this area as well!!

  3. I've only had a hen hatch a chick once, and everyone was fine with him. I'm not sure if that's normal or not.

  4. They won't starve or dehydrate as amazing as that is. Even if you were to put food and water in front of them they will not partake, I've tried it. Let the mom's raise their babies, they are the experts. Besides, good luck getting them away, you will come away with peck marks and scratches and have very upset moms. I can understand the fear of the foxes, I just had half of my flock taken in one day by a fox with no sign of any struggle and in broad daylight. But I have to tell you that I have had hens sit on nests in the middle of the horse pasture (I had no idea) while we not only had foxes but also coyotes. Only to have to moms show up 21 days later with a flock of 10 babies. I think they must be able to mask their scent or something. Nature has a way of dealing with these things and it is far better than anything we could do. Maybe after the babies hatch you could move them all with mom to the coop. But you could also take the babies away and raise them yourself.

    As for introducing them (babies) into the coop. As with any animals you introduce that is new, do it slowly. I have a small section of my coop that is screened off but I have access to. That is where I put any new birds. I'll leave them there for a week or so. They, and the other birds, can see each other and get to know each other but they are still protected. I would wait until the babies get their primary feathers before I would begin to introduce them to the flock.

    That's my 2 cents worth. Good luck!

  5. if they are momma raised they are safe as kittens - that little hen will act like an assassin to protect her little ones. i usually keep a hen and her babies cooped up for a couple days just to keep the little ones from wandering off - then i just let them out. a good momma will fly at another hen like a ninja to keep everyone away from the babies. and she'll keep them all together. the biggest worry is - water buckets. once the little chicks get to the "flippy flyer" stage, they will find a way to land in a full water bucket and drown. its crushing. so switch to bell shaped waterers or only put an inch or so of water in small buckets or containers. make sure the goat buckets are off the ground also.

    your hen may or may not take the keats - it depends on if you can fool her or not. if they hatch about the same time, try to sneak one under her. but... um.. she'll either kill it or not. zoikes!

    i dont know how the guineas do as mommas - i've heard they tend to have a lot of attrition b/c the drag the babies thru the wet grass etc. but i've never had a clutch so i dont know for sure.

    once chicks get to be about "dove size" i start to put them with the flock. we keep them in a separate coop for a couple days, then they are off and running. they tend to stay in same age groups. i have a few young chicks who try and snuggle under my older hens. some of them tolerate it - its pretty cute.

    great work baby! no go and make a pie for your friends

  6. in my experience, if the chicks are with their "mother", the other chickens/fowl will leave them alone...and if they don't mama will teach them very quickly why they should. You can put newborn keets under the chicken while she is still sitting, once she starts leaving the nest with her brood she will be much less likely to accept newcomers. How big are the keets in your garage? I would add them by putting them in a cage or fenced in area where the rest of the flock can see them but not get to them to introduce them...I've never really had a problem with chicks being pecked to death but I've heard stories from others that did....better safe then sorry. hope this helps :) Yay on the deforestation...we need to do that too...1/2 of my property is wooded...the sheep would really enjoy a little shaded pasture...i need to get on that :)

  7. Michaele - My worry is that with the small coop that we have the chicks will find themselves "in the way" of the others. I have learned that while the coop we got was very efficient for us humans it may not be the greatest for the birds themselves.

    Lana - Reading blogs is how I have learned most of the stuff about farming that I know.

    Teresa - I hope that is what happens here!

    MarchWind - The fox thing is awful, and we have one that is on the prowl. I like the idea of fencing off a small area, I will have to check to see if we have any extra chicken wire.

    OGF - I hope they will be safe, I'm just worried about crowding inside the coop. I already use the small water dispensers so there should be no drownings.

    I read about the Keets dieing because of poor mothering skills, I'm hoping that if she lives long enough to hatch them that I will just collect them all up. Thanks for the size tip for the introduction time, it was easy last time because everyone was the same size. As for making pie I think the Commander will make mini cherry treats tonight for everyone!

    Stace - That is a good idea, I will see of the dog kennel or a screen I have in the garage will work. The battle in the forest has been brutal, thankfully the sheep and goats all love to browse more than just grass...the next problem will be to subsection some of the areas so the rams are more than 1 fence away from the girls.

  8. Chai Chai - How did it go? Did you introduce the chicks & keets yet? I'm sorry I've been busy and haven't been blogging much lately. If we have no mama hen for the chicks, we separate them with mesh wiring for a few weeks so the other birds get used to seeing them. We start when they are newborn.

    About the keets - I heard female guineas are not good mamas. We got day-old keets and put them under a broody hen. We watched carefully when we put the first keet under her wings. If she pecked it we would have taken it away. But she accepted it, and so we put all the keets under her wings in about 10 minutes time. And then she protected the keets from the other birds.

    When keets are infants they are not as strong as chicks. They need to stay warm, and we always had a problem with one or two not acting normal. I really think it's a vitamin deficiency that keets can develop. If they should start acting listless, not eating or drinking, give them a drop of vit E in their beak. And give them water from a dropper if they are not eating or drinking on their own at all.

    Someone mentioned chicks eating. This summer when my keets were hatched from eggs, they ate and drank within a few hours of birth. They seemed to be very hungry. Only one didn't eat/drink, because he was injured, and within days he was way smaller than the others because he didn't eat/drink much those first days. But he came around and is normal size now.

    I have rambled on long enough. Good luck, and let us know how it's going. I'm curious how your guinea keets are. Mine are all getting so big. They live with the chickens and are doing fine. They've been with the chickens since they were born. In a few weeks we are going to let them free to be with the guineas.

  9. Lynn - This is great information, thank you. I will have to try the Vit E because I have had this problem in the past, both time fatal.

    My hen's eggs look like they are not going to work out so I think I will try to give her any keets that hatch, thanks for the great idea.