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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Guinea Keets are Hatched!

These past few days my first batch of guinea keets have been hatching.  It has been a rather strange hatch, since one hatched on Monday, Tuesday the majority hatched, Wednesday a few more, and this afternoon (Thursday) I found another egg that has just started pipping. Considering I set them all the same day in the same incubator, I have been a bit confused at the spread of the hatch, but I'll take it.

Tonight I pulled the eggs from the incubator that did not show any signs of development, using a flashlight shining through to illuminate the egg. Normally, I would have done this before I put them into the hatcher (a few days before the hatch), but because there were eggs starting to pip through early, I just wanted to get them in the hatcher.

So for my counting and math - I set 150 eggs, 45 did not show signs of development, and only a handful of the unhatched eggs left did show development to some degree. These appeared to have stopped developing partway through though. I had 92 chicks hatch, giving me a hatch rate of 87%.  (If you are observant, you may have caught that 2 of the keets are a different color too.)

I'm pretty happy with the hatch rate, a little disappointed with the number of undeveloped eggs.  We keep a rooster to hen ratio of about 1:5.  Considering these guineas are not enclosed by any means, maybe that ratio needs to change a bit.  I also held onto the eggs approximately 5 weeks before putting them into the incubator, which could have been a bit long to collect and hold onto them.

If you remember in my previous post, I was unsure of if my guineas would continue laying after I set this batch, as I was having trouble finding more eggs.

Well, they hadn't.  They just changed locations. 

While I was in the garden one afternoon, I heard a few guineas across the road and in some trees by the ditch.  I had heard them here a few times so I decided to take a little walk. 

A wonderful thing happens when the grass gets taller.  You can see the guinea highways. It is hard to tell from this picture, but they trample down a path through the tall grasses on their most frequently traveled routes.  If you look carefully, you should be able to find this route by the grass seed heads that cannot be seen, as they have been laid down.

I hopped on this guinea freeway, and it quickly led me to a new stash of eggs, which held over 60.  It didn't take me long to have a new batch of over 150 eggs collected to put into the incubator, which were all under 3 weeks old when I put them in.  (If I wasn't so far behind this spring, I would search to see if I could find another nest, but this one will do for now.)

I asked Ethan just how many guineas he wanted me to hatch this year, and it looks like I will continue collecting eggs!

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