Mama Guinea With Her Keets

Mama guinea with keets

Guinea fowl are loud, not as friendly as chickens, not very smart, but for some reason they are fun to have around the farm.

In late summer of 2015 I got a dozen guineas along with some chicks. Over the course of the next few months 4 of the guineas went missing or died. I found one guinea chick dead from what I suspect was heat stroke.

Guineas are not supposed to be good parents, and that may be true. What I am seeing with my guineas, the chicks have to keep up with the flock, kinda like sink or swim. While at the same time the flock protects the chicks.

The guinea flock will run off any chicken that dares get close to the keets. Guineas do not seem to share food with the keets, but rather shows the keets where the food is at. At a week old I saw the flock taking the keets close to 100 yards from the chicken house.

Mama Guinea

The mama guinea hatched out 6 keets. A week and a half later all 6 chicks are still alive and well.

From my observations, mama guineas may not be bad mothers, they just do not know how to be a good mother.  They are very protective over their keets, but do not pay a lot of attention to them either.  I have seen mama guineas jump on dogs and chase the dogs away from the keets.  One time, a mama guinea almost jumped on me because I got too close.

The keets have to either sink or swim when keeping up with the flock.  I have seen the guinea  flock travel 100 yards with keets who were no more than two weeks old.

Usually, several of the keets disappear.  Even when they have access to food and water, they still disappear.

It is rare for a mama guinea to hatch her keets out in the chicken house.  She will usually find a secluded place in some bushes.  Because she keeps the keets separate from the flock for several weeks, I suspect a rat snake (chick snake) gets the keets during the night.