Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Raising guinea hen chicks

Here at Burleson Ranch we insist of having a flock of Guinea Hens at the ranch for several reasons.

Foremost, they are pretty, and Janet chose a flock of Lavender colored-Guineas to constantly patrol the pastures.

They are diligent critters, constantly patrolling the ranch, seeking out bugs and insects to eat.

We also keep Guineas for health reasons.

- Guinea Hens spend all day eating mosquitoes and ticks - Guinea hens are better than any insect repellant,

- Guinea hens make great watchdogs – They emit an ear-splitting screech to alert about intruders

If course, there is also a downside to having Guineas:

- Guinea hens are dumb as rocks - They will attack somebody 50 times their size to protect their chicks.

- Guinea Hens are very loud - Guinea hens will screech when strangers approach, very annoying.

- Guinea Hens taste like crap – They call them Guinea Foul for a reason, they taste like what they eat. Bugs. On ly French people eat them.

Baby Guinea Hen chicks (keets)

Making Keets

We have some new additions at the ranch, four new Guinea Hen chicks. Technically, freshly hatched Guinea Fowl are called “Keets”:

Guinea Hens are very secretive, raising their chicks deep in the woods, and we have seen them hatch dozens at a time.

At night, they roost in our barn for safety. They have over 40 horses to choose from for room-mates, both large and small:

Guinea Hens are choosey about who to stall with

Our Guineas chose the stallion stall, and our good natured stallion (Dude) has become quite attached to his new protectorates.

He even lets the chickens sit on his back, not too macho, but he does not seem to care:

Tha Dude likes his poultry friends

We suspect that most of the babies would up as fox and snake chow, but the flocks of Guineas are great parents, closely protecting their chicklets.

They circle their Keets, constantly watching and protecting them from predators:

For now, they are treasured babies, but as soon as they are weaned, things will change:

Guinea Hens are very territorial, and multiple make Guineas will lead to giant noisy turf battles, with these screeching hens chasing each other all around the ranch.

Thanks to Jen Stanley (Jen3) for taking these great photos!