Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Scream of the Banshee

Buck Wheat, Buck Wheat, Chi, Chi, Chi......the sound of the guinea, you either love them or hate them. I personally could not imagine living without them. These polka-dotted little munchkins run around sporting a face that only a mother could love? Guineas are a great addition to your homestead and are rightfully named the farm yard watch dog, sounding the alarm whenever anything unusual occurs. They will consume large amounts of insects and rarely bother your garden except to cruise through and pick out the bugs.  They are also fairly easy and inexpensive to raise.  Once started, they fend for themselves, living on insects, seeds, and grasses. They control ticks, grasshoppers, spiders, crickets, scorpions, frogs and almost all other insects. They always will alert you to anything unusual.
Here in Texas they are very popular for control of ticks. They also will discourage rodents with their call and will kill and eat mice and small rats.  Here in the country snakes are very common and the Guineas will spot and find snakes and alert me so that I can kill them before they cause any harm. The Guineas themselves will kill snakes also. Other people keep Guineas because they enjoy having them around.  They are very curious and interesting birds, having quite a personality.  Others enjoy having the various colors, especially the new colors that are being developed. 
The incubation period for Guinea eggs is 26 to 28 days.  The eggs may be incubated under broody hens or any reliable incubator.  Follow the instructions.  If nothing is listed for Guineas, follow the instructions for Pheasants or Turkeys.
Start the keets (young guineas) on a good Turkey starter feed (28% to 30% protein).  The high protein makes them grow fast and keeps nutritional deficiency's at bay.  Keep the brooder at 95 degrees the first week.  Reduce 5 degrees per week.  Keep them warm and dry and you won't have any problems with them.  Be sure to keep them safe from other birds and to prevent drafts in the brooder area.  The first water given keets on arrival should be warm to prevent chilling. Make sure they can't get in the water or they will get wet and chill or drown.  Use marbles or rocks to fill the water area so as to make a shallow drinking area.  Also place the feed and water close to the heat source for the first day.
Guineas attacking a frog

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