Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Nursery is Full Again - with Baby Keets and New Born Pheasants

We ended up with 3 hatchlings from the guinea eggs that we retrieved from the unattended nest and put in the incubator. They are in the guinea shack nursery and growing like weeds.

And we only have 3 adult guineas left from the original 10 - sad but true fact of country life. Friends suggested that since the weather was warm, the other four were probably sitting on nests. However, they never exhibited good mothering skills before and would just leave the nest for long periods such as to get a drink & chase bugs or to roost at night so we couldn't imagine that they suddenly became good mothers. We have only seen the three for the past 2 weeks and only three roost in the guinea shack at night. We caught a possum in one of the live traps so we think he was the culprit and that the other four are goners.

With that state of affairs, there are still many bugs and lots of grasshoppers around the place so we decided since we are raising 3 we just as well raise 15 keets. We went back to a local breeder and got a dozen two day old keets to add to our three baby guineas. Now there are lots of peeps in the new guinea shack nursery for the bigger babies and soon our bug patrol will be back in business.

We went back to the breeder the next day to get 12 baby pheasants - they are tiny and darling - and we got not only the traditional pheasants but some 'colored' ones too - black with a white ring around its neck, black and white like a panda, all brown (the tiniest one of all), light tan and yellowish almost white. We'll see what they look like as they grow. The breeder said nobody wanted the colored ones so that was a big motivater for me to bring them home. The baby pheasants will be raised with the guineas so we'll see if they will be tame enough to stick around. We hope so. If not, it will have been a fun experience to take care of the little bitty babies. (In the picture above, the little yellowish pheasant in the feeder is sleeping with his butt in one feeder hole and his head on the feed. They seem to drop whereever they are to sleep. The pheasants are living in the laundry room nursery until they grow large enough to hold their own with the young keets.)

Mark also built a more secure guinea shack. I think of the guineas as the bad kids of the farm - they wander out and about whereever they please ---they are so independent --- but they do come home to roost.

Many people who raise guineas are amazed that we've trained them to roost in their shack instead of the trees. The roost is in the leanto of the barn and originally was not enclosed. It is a platform about 2'x3' and an enclosed wooden box with one side open for them to get into if they wish -- all positioned near the roof so they fly up every evening. We also put a mirror up there so they could check themselves out - and they do. It's a hoot to watch 'cuz they are not exactly a beautiful bird (to us anyway) but they prance in front of the mirror. Anyway, since we've had issues with predatory critters we want to be sure the guineas are safe when roosting at night. Mark built the walls around the roosting setup already there along with a door that we can close at night. He also built a large nursery for the bigger keets to reside in until they are grown enough to be let out daily.

So the bad kids will be safe; and as you know, I do love my guineas. When the pheasants get older, they will share the guinea shack.

Did you notice that the guineas have a shack and the chickens have The Dot House? hummmmm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I grew up summering in the country and guineas made the worst noise ever! Ka-thwank, Ka-thwank, Ka-thwank...all day long and anytime anyone unsettled them. What do the babies sound like? Softer Ka-thwanks? Peeps? I wish you could load a recording of them on here. Can you load video from your camera? That would be fun!

KA-THWANK from Hollywood!