Friday, April 28, 2017

How to raise Guinea keets

You've decided to raise guinea fowl and like most people, you've decided to get started with guinea keets rather then adult guineas. (smart move!) Guinea keets are about the cutest little things you will ever see. They have bright orange beaks and legs and scurry around like crazy little bugs! Luckily raising guinea keets is almost the same as raising chicks so if you've raised chicks before, keets will be just as easy.

Raise guinea fowl keets

The brooder set up that you'll need for guineas is the same as it is for chicks. You can see my recommendations here in Brooder Basics. I like to raise guinea keets in their own brooder separate from regular chicks. Since keets are so small, they can easily be trampled or squashed by bigger chicks. The only illnesses I have seen in guinea keets is spraddle leg and pasty butt so they are pretty hardy for as small as they are.
While guinea keets have most of the same needs as chicks, they are a bit more delicate. You have to be very careful that guinea keets do not get cold because once they get cold they can die very quickly. As with chicken keets you'll start them out at 95 degrees, however they will stay at this temperature for the first two weeks. After two weeks you'll drop the temperature 5 degrees each week until they're fully feathered.
When guinea keets are a few weeks old their first set of feathers will come in. These feathers will be a brown and white marbled pattern. Their wings will grow faster than the rest of the bird and they will hang down very awkwardly for a few weeks. By 2 months old these feathers have fallen out and been replaced by the spotted gray feathers they are so well known for. At this point they should be off the heat light and ready to go outside.

I feed my guinea keets game bird starter. Game bird starter has a higher protein level then chick starter and guinea keets grow faster than chicks so they need the extra protein. Once they move from the brooder to the coop, I feed them the same layer pellets that the chickens eat.

When trying to tell the males from the females there is only one method that is foolproof and that is the sound test. The female makes the different call than the male does however she also makes the male call. I explain it all (with video) in this post Sexing Guinea Fowl By Sound. Unfortunately, they don't start to make these calls till they're about 2 months old.

Unlike chickens, guineas tend to pair up to mate or sometimes they'll form a trio. This being the case you'll need closer to a 2 to 1 female to male ratio....which is good because keets are only sold as straight run since they can't be sexed at hatch.

Occasionally, if your guineas were hatched early in the spring the hens will start laying that same year. More likely though, they will wait till the next spring to start laying eggs. Guineas are very seasonal layers and they do not lay in winter at all.

If you have any other questions about raising guinea fowl you might find the answers here: Guinea Fowl 101 or feel free to leave a question down below and I will answer it as best I can! 

~L 

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3 comments:

  1. Will you be selling guinea keets this year?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I will. I should have some starting next week.

      Lisa

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  2. This is very interesting. I grew up with raising chicken but we never had quineas. So i didn't know a lot about them except that they are good watch dogs. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on being featured on Homestead blog hop. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day!

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