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We think that we have a male keet. Farming Friends & Cottage Smallholder Interblog Guinea Fowl Breeding Event

Mrs Boss and keetsBack in June Farming Friends sent us six guinea fowl eggs in the post to put under our broody hen Mrs Boss. Five eggs hatched out. Sadly, our favourite and the only snow white keet, Lightning, died a couple of weeks ago. The remaining keets are doing well and are nearly three months old.

They are bigger than Mrs Boss now. They hang out in a gang with Mrs Boss in tow. She alerts them when there is chopped lettuce or Swiss Chard in the offing. Their instant response is to fly up the run and land in the roof of the Day Centre. Mrs B and the hens scatter beneath them, rattled by their beating wings and energy.
I usually toss the greens there so I can watch the keets closely without kneeling on the ground. They still have thinly feathered heads which makes them look a bit like little old men. Over the past few months I have become so fond of our keets that I am now planning to make more room in the run and possibly extend it so that we can keep them all.

Before the keets hatched, the hens were not really interested in vegetable parings. They were picked over and left for me to clear up at the end of the day. Layers’ pellets and luxury parrot mix in the mornings were the preferred choice.

Now the chickens seem to be taking their five a day much more seriously. The whole flock goes crazy now when green leafed vegetables are scattered in the run.

The keets are inquisitive, greedy and brave. They often snatch chopped greens from the chickens and even stand their ground when Carol thunders up. In fact, Carol suddenly seems less domineering. I had a peek in the nesting box about a week ago and there was Carol snuggled up with a keet.

One keet that has more white on its wings tends to stay up much later than the rest of the gang and wanders around the pen, making the occasional sharp cry. A foray onto the Farming Friends blog tells me that this keet could be male. The cry is to warn off predators.

The male guinea fowl make a short cry “Ay, ay, ay”. The female guinea fowl have two cries, the short “ay” one and a longer one that sounds like “Come home, come home, come home”.

Cloud the guinea fowl keetThis evening we named this keet Cloud. He is a bit slower than the other keets. If he sees salad leaves being scattered in the run and he is pottering in the hen house, he tries to get though the wired windows of the house and takes a long while to find the door.

We have to wait a bit longer to name the other three. They are identical and need to develop more personality traits so we can tell them apart. At the moment they are the Stepford Wives or the Three Musketeers. Need I say more?

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for answering my questions. Your information is useful in planning the future of our keets.

    So pleased that your white keet is doing well. I still miss Lightning.

  2. farmingfriends

    Hi Fiona,
    My 22 keets where bred in 3 goes and are all at different stages and therefore live in 3 different huts. When they get to about 10 weeks I free range them. I only wait till they are this old as I have 5 cats on my farm that would be quick to pounce on a small keet. If confined, give guineas as much room as possible (0.2/0.3 square metres per bird. Hope this information is useful. My white guinea fowl is doing well and is as inquisitive as Lightening was. Thanks for asking.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for dropping by. How big an area do you need for 22 keets? Is your white one still thriving?

    I really want to keep the keets.

    Hi Amanda,

    The combination of hens and keets seems just right. They are all getting on fine at the moment.  

    Hi Kate,

    I am always amazed how entertaining the keets and the chickens actually are. There is always something new going on down in the run.

    Hi Pat,

    Cloud is such a handsome bird with his flash of white on the wings. Perhaps that makes up for being a bit lacking in the brain department!

  4. Ohhhhh I too am so happy you are planning on keeping them. I think he is lovely too!!! And boy have they grown!!!!!!! Wow!!!

  5. Cloud is adorable – I loved reading about the keets and their antics. It must be a lot of fun having them about.

  6. It’s lovely hearing about how they’re all getting on. I’m glad there’s a possibility they’ll all be staying with you. Though I couldn’t help but giggle when I pictured a few years down the line…

  7. farmingfriends

    Great to hear all about the antics of your keets. This morning I have been reorganising living accommodation for the 22 keets I have hatched this summer – not an easy thing to do, but very satisfying. I am glad that you are thinking of keeping all your keets. A male in the group means that next year the eggs will be fertile. I like the name Cloud. An interesting update.
    Sara from farmingfriends

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