I've been monitoring this guinea hen that's been sitting on 20 eggs. I figured it was about time for them to hatch. When I went to check on her yesterday evening, she had several little balls of fluff surrounding her. I hate to interfere with the natural process, but if Harry and Ginger, or some other creature come upon the little keets, I'm pretty sure they would get eaten.
So, I decided to move them. At first, I thought I'd just take the keets and put them in a separate cage, but, I did not expect the fight that the hen put up.
At first, she just pecked me hard, but stayed on her nest. After, I got a few of the keets into my little travel cage, she went into full attack mode - off the nest flapping around me, biting and pecking. Ouch! She tore my hands up. I found out that guinea beaks are not sharp, but they can do some damage.
Since she was putting up such a fight and I really didn't want to have to worry about keeping the keets warm or, really, to take care of them at all, I ran back to the house to get an old towel. I went back out there and tossed it over her, swaddling her up tight so she couldn't see what I was doing or fight me. As I held her tucked under one arm, I gathered up the rest of the babies and unhatched eggs (two were already pipped, but there were several that hadn't done anything) and put them into the guinea coop.
All but one of the babies look the same. That little grey one in the front apparently has some throw-back blood in it. I think I'll keep that one. It will be interesting to see what color it turns out to be. I looked up "grey keets" and it could be one of several colors. All but one of our adult guineas are "Pearl Grey" like the one pictured here. We have one male that is a charcoal color without all those dots.
I went to check on them this morning. One of the pipped eggs had hatched, but one was still stuck in the shell. Like before, the mother had abandoned the eggs and they were cold. I thought the keet still stuck in the shell was dead, but was surprised to find it still alive when I picked a little of the shell off. I cracked the rest of the eggs and was relieved that none of them were fully formed keets. I guess the hen knew this and that's why she abandoned them. I'd like to know how they can tell. Maybe the hen can feel heartbeats in the eggs and she sits there until there are no more heartbeats.