Friday, May 8, 2009

A Guinea Wench In The Works.

Oh, Mama Nature can get ticked, once you open you mouth and say "I kinda think I understand this..."

Our avalanche of guinea eggs is down to- a trickle.  Maybe.

Here's the actual daily numbers for the last 12 days; 8,6,9,7,9,7,8,9,7,7,4,4...?

Because.  We've got a guinea hen, "setting".  Right on top of the one and only nest they were laying in.

Now what?  Well, two things; I've set up two other possible nest tub type thingies in the coop, though it makes it crowded; and put nest eggs in there.  So far, no luck; and the nest eggs are often found 1 or 2 feet away from where I put them.  And; it seems the other guineas are continuing to successfully add eggs to the clutch in the nest- though not the 7-9 we were seeing before.

I'm afraid I have reason to suspect the other eggs are going into "stolen" nests- hidden somewhere.

The female doing the real "setting" so far seems to always be a "royal purple" (what we have now are 6 lavender, 5 pearl, 4 purple).  She is NOT on the nest all the time; but she has come back and started setting a couple times, after we found her off the nest.  Maybe she's warming up?

(click for bigger)

This is a really crappy photo, through the wire, so as not to get too close and spook her.  She sometimes sits tight, and sometimes spooks, right now.

And I just saw a lavender; and the pearl below- hanging around the nest looking very suspicious.   Or auspicious, perhaps.  Yesterday when we first saw purple setting, I found she was only on 7 eggs; so I added 3 more fresh ones to make 10, which looked to me like enough to sit on.  Our guinea eggs are really not that small.

10 eggs above-

(click for bigger)

If you look really carefully under the pearl momma, you can count 9; (again, crummy photo- didn't want to use flash, so wound up with slow shutter) and in another, even worse photo, you can count 11; and it's pretty clear there are more hiding behind the bird.

All of which means- we have more to learn about managing guinea egg production- over the entire season, and integrating hatching some into it all.

I guess I'm not really surprised, or disappointed.  But dang, it was nice when it all looked so simple.  



Anonymous said...

GreenPa - try taking a non-toxic marker and putting a mark on the ones you know she is setting. This should allow you to remove the others from the clutch. Regular chickens will act as relief setters for each other - especially when they are all adding to the nest.

Anonymous said...

Or pencil.

Zabetha said...

Oh this story is so much fun, thanks! Love your little guinea hens.

knutty knitter said...

We always have that problem with the bantams. One goes broody and the rest seem to follow so no eggs for a bit. We mostly remove the lot or suffer too many chicks. Takes a couple of weeks to get back to normal.

viv in nz

Cheap Like Me said...

Loving the updates on the hens. My husband asked if you are aware that guinea feathers are a commodity -- used to decorate certain (especially) African arts. And the feathers tend to get eaten by bugs in transit, so oftentimes dealers and collectors must replace the feathers. Just in case you have any beautiful ones lying around the hen house ...

Ares said...

I love the rustic feel of those photographs. Interesting post, thank you for sharing with us. Good luck!