Raising Keets (baby guineas)

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

The end of August, we got two keets, 3 and 5 days old. that is all that hatched for my neighbor. she wouldn't part with any older ones from a previous hatch!!!

silly me, just THIS MORNING remembered to start taking pictures. They are sooo cute.

3 -5 times a day we hand feed them moths, grasshoppers, locusts, hornworms, weed seeds, etc. They are on a 28% protein starter, and have their "momma" chicken who hatched them. She will go back to the owner next week, they are almost fully feathered and don't fit under the poor little bantam hen anymore anyhow LOL

these are so much fun that i am trying to squeeze out some funds to get four more. Guineas are not expensive if you get them locally, but the shipping is HIGH no joke.

Here is a photo of my seven year old son, holding the older one, which we think is male (will know in another week or so when he "finds his voice"). Currently they are named "Mr. & Mrs. Grin", (It's a Peter Pan thing, lonnnnng story) subject to change when we find out which sex they are LOL

We don't know much, but have rec'd help (thank you) from this forum, and a guinea fowl message board, and a book from the library.

Sam & Mr. Grin....

Thumbnail by TamaraFaye
Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

This is Mrs. Grin, not as cuddly yet.

Thumbnail by TamaraFaye
Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

Our lone guinea is a several year old hen we call Mrs. G. She is quite a character.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

how funny!

here is another, my favorite...

Thumbnail by TamaraFaye
Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

My dad used to keep all kinds of birds including guineas. He had lots of em. They were great 'watchdogs'. They make such a ruckus when people came onto the farm. We brought a few here after I was first married and first thing we noticed they started eating all the honeybees, just sitting by the hives waiting for lunch. Needless to say they went back to Dad's.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

Yes, I had heard they would do that. I always wanted to have beehives, but now that we have guineas....

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Sweet babies, TameraFaye.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)


they are really growing now, we need to take new pictures...

Mr. Grin found "her" voice the very first timeon Sunday, when we returned from taking their mother chicken hen home! She was not happy!!! So her name is now Molly. We have come up with a few names for Mrs. Grin, but want to wait till we know for sure... she was born a couple days later, and is smaller and developing a little behind, but is sure to start using her voice soon...

Neatest thing, we like to open up their wings and see how they chnage. Molly now has one white wing on the very outside right wing. You can't see it until you unfold it! So now we can be sure to always tell them apart in case they end up the same sex and size. Well, that and poor Molly has a stretched out neck. She got cuaght in chicken hen's feathers when she was just five days old. Had we not restrained the hen while I untangled the keet, it would have been stomped & killed like the white keet was when it was first born. My kids were actually luaghing because both fowl were making such a loud ruckus, and that keet was straining trying to pull it's head out, and therefore stretched out her neck, poor thing! They were first referred to as "long-neck and short-neck"!!!

When we get more pictures i'll post them. I also found a really neat place for guinea info:


And the best book from the library "Gardening with Guineas"


T minus 7 days till the lavendar guinea keets arrive. Should be interesting to watch them get to know one another, with a divider in the cage of course!

oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

Just found this thread Tamara. What a gorgeous, blue-eyed son you have. Looks like he adores those keets.
Maggi xxxx

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)


thanks Maggie!

i am not much of a picture taker, but i always have good and willing subjects. he tlaks and whispers to them, sings to them, etc. the larger keet is more fond of cuddling, the smaller one just wants in the lap LOL

trying to get the cage remodeled for four more keets coming our way. they will be lavendar, and just slightly older. then on to finishing the inside of their winter house, and their pen.

at some point i'll have to ask for help, but i am not there yet ;-)

sadly, i was told today buy a guinea breeder that it will be two more motnths before i can be sure of their sex. the one time of Mr. Grin/Molly getting loud just doesn't count. :-( Molly has kinda stuck, sure hope she's a girl LOL we willl keep calling the small timid one Mrs. Grin. I suppose this means we don't have to come up with names for the others for two more months!


Kellyville, OK(Zone 7a)

Here is one pic amongst several that I took of my babies. I have a white male, a chocalate female, and several of the purples. I love them all they keep my land almost tick free.

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Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

they are beautiful!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

We have officially added four lavendar keets to our flock!!!

They are 12 weeks old. I noticed they have white flight feathers (outer edge), and just found out that is undesirable for show, because they have the white gene and will pass it on to have pied babies. [I was told they were purebred, NOT so!] So i guess i will have to get some nicer ones for my kids to show in 4-H

But these are cute. Maybe i will remember to take pictures soon.

I thought about asking for help here to name them (ya'll are very creative!), but I believe my mom's suggestion takes the prize:

Eenie, Meanie, Miney, and Moe!

Moe was mean to Eenie, so he is serving time under a milk crate for the night. I am surpirsed at the pecking since these birds have always been together... of course the other three are keeping him company sleeping on top of the crate instead of their perch!!!


Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

well, Moe learned his/her lesson. pecking order is re-established, and Eenie got a little ocnfidence booster LOL

Minie might have to be called Miner. he/she has the most provounced helmet so far, and lacks any whit flight feathers, so I am HOPING it is a boy. He is the most calm when held. Moe is still a pill, Eenie is funny. But Meanie, you can tell she has always been a pecker. She pecks at my watch when i hold her. she is very head shy. i suppose she pecked someone (a person) once too many times and got popped for it. i won't be bopping mine in the head, trying to get them used to being held, examined etc. you never know when one might get sick or injured, and it would be nice for them to learn i'm not going to hurt them. maybe i should get some leather upper gloves though, they sure can claw!!!

they are very smart birds. we have two rules so far, and they are learning to follow them first, i stand near the cage while they eat. a couple of them have the habit of tipping the feeder over. at that point, i open the cage, and repostion the feeder. now, when it is tipped, they all automatically move, cause they know what happens next! that is pretty smart!

so based on their learning response to stimul. i started another rule. whenever i open the cage door, for any purpose, they are usually crowded in the corner nearest the door, by the mirror and the other keets. that is annoying, and not safe. twice as i reached in they would fly out over my head, and i just barely stop them.

so when cleaning their cage, i noticed they didn't like the bright red plastic kids shovel i used. now, when the door is opened, i move them to the other side, onto their perch, with the shovel [gently]. if they don't move, they get moved. after one day, they all do it automatically when i open the door! one usually comes back over, and gets moved. i think he is just being testy and will get the hang of it.

when they get this down good, i wonder what i should teach them next? i want to teach them to eat out o fmy hand, but don't think they are ready for that yet. i tried to feed Miner a grasshopper, and finally he pecked at it and dropped it. perhaps they need to watch the other keets eat grasshoppers out of my hand to get the idea...

proud owner of 4 "young guineas" and 2 "keets"...

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

We buried Molly this morning. I still don't know what happened, but she was in her own cage with Peter Pan. Possilbly paralysis from something, as their was a pile of yellow mucus under her head, as though she couldn't swallow.

i moved Peter in with the others, and they accepted him with little pecking. i am going to add some epsom salt to gtheir food and water today. and i suppose 40% bleach should be strong enough ot clean the other side.

she was surely our favorite, and we will miss her. my son kept three of her feathers "to always remember her".

Thumbnail by TamaraFaye
oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

Oh how sad about Molly : (( . A big hug to your son; he must be so upset.
Maggi xxxx

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

we spent the morning crying, cleaning out the cage, watching the other birds, digging a hole in the garden.

now i am trying to find out what happened.

anyone here got any clue?

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

this is an old thread.... hope it helps!

Buffalo, TX(Zone 8b)

Tamara, you said Molly had a stretched out neck. That was likely the cause of her demise. She was likely irreversibly injured and it finally took it's toll.

Something had to give in order for her neck to stretch. That just has to be the cause, I would think.

Good luck with your present flocks.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

thanks Charlene!

...never reported back that Peter Pan died too. we were concerned it oculd be contagious and get the other four sick... the breeder we got our lavendars from asked some important questions about M&PP. so turns out is was likely breeding. the neighbor had not replaced her flock in some time, and always got keet sfrom the same local guy.. she set 10 eggs under the bantam hen, three hatched, one died after one day... so poor genetics was the likely cause of their demise...

the four new guineas worked out great.. except that four birds don't make a flock. so one day they wanted to stay over at the neighbors. i was sick and tried to get them back till i wa ready to pass out.

well, later i went out to check on them, and there were feathers all over their house! we finally saw two survivors up in the rafters [hard to see in the dusk!]. we found one corpse near the house. the neighbor said she saw a dog chasing them. so we went to that house, and asked. sure enough, their dog was finsihing off his gourmet treat. he gave us what was left and we buried them in the garden.

the other two were so petrified. i locked them down to re-establish the henhouse as their safe place. but in the end, they went to live with the flock of the neighbor who sold us P&M...

now we have a flock of ten [one with a borken leg], who gladly share the henhouse with the hens and the ducks. the geese hang out with the goats and Jersey Giants/Black Australorps.

Molly & Peter Pan were so precious to us. It was a nice opportunity to see that we relaly did like taking care of birds. And now we have so many, and others on the way. It is hard to imagine life without them!

we will likely get a new flock of keets this year. we always get them from xtremegamebirds.com and they get their eggs from Ralph Winters www.guineafarm.com we are always pleased with them.

who else has keets?


Rock Island, TX

i have 8 keets, 5 days old. but this morning i found 2 of them died and i'm still dont know what happened. i didnt find any injured at all, i'm afraid the "momma" pecked them because she is so mean & dominate especially with the roaster. she always peck the roaster when i feed them....i feed the keets with bread crumps & give them fresh water. is it good to feed the keets with bread crumps..?? i really need information how to feed them so the rest will grow up healthy. should i separate "momma" with the keets..??

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

keets should not eat bread crumbs. do you have any chick starter? or turkey starter? they need high protein stuff, even game bird starter... medicated is better for cocciodosis, if that is what happened, sorry for your loss.

i would keep the remiaing in a brooder if you have a heat lamp and feed for them.

they don't make the best momma's, in most cases. hope this helps


Rock Island, TX

this is my first time having a pet, so i dont have any experience at all. what's cocciodosis, as you mentioned ..??? what medication i should give for that case..?? thank you for your response...

Woodsville, NH

Java..didn't you raise the other guineas as pets? How are these you first pets?
A young keet like that even getting wet in dewy grass will kill them. Guinea hens are not good mothers as a rule (or so I have been told by guinea people)

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

most chick starter will be meidcated with amprolium for cocciodosis. it is highly recomended that the turkey starter for keets be also. though mine did fine without it [we are organic]

Rock Island, TX

LoraK, i didn't have any chicken pet until oneday, the hen guinea came & stayed under my husband's truck, i asked my whole neighboors maybe they lost chicken but none of them. so i decided to keep & feed her with chicken feed or bread. couple of months later, i bought roaster & she laid 8 eggs, and that the beginning of having 8 keets. that's why i dont know how to raise the keets....

tamara, thank you for your advice...my husband bought chick starter today & hope they like it....

Woodsville, NH

I am still confused, do you have a guinea hen or a chicken? Did you buy a rooster or a male guinea? Keets are baby guineas and chicks are baby chickens. Chick starter is good start off with, if you have keets not chicks they will need more protein as in gamebird starter crumbles for them to grow properly.

Foley, MO

I think she bought a roaster, mmmmm.

Rock Island, TX

LoraK, sorry to make you confused...i have guinea hen & bought male guinea....

Woodsville, NH

You should buy a book called Gardening with Guineas, they cover everything! there are people here with guineas too. If you want your keets to have the best chance I would catch them and put them in a brooder. You can set one up easily for them. You might want to think of selling or rehoming them. With only "family" they will become inbred. I am selling my keets and getting new blood in. Guinea keets need more protein than chicks.

Rock Island, TX

how many times in year my guinea sit on the egg to hatch..?? on the spring or on the summer or only once a year..???

Woodsville, NH

I would think it depends on if she is still raising her last young, food supply etc. I think as a rule unless they go broody, they lay spring and summer. Usually most of the hens lay in one big nest and one goes broody to hatch them all. They are original from a very dry climate so if the young get wet they are done (dead)
Heres a good site, though I disagree with some of them (the ways they handle predators) its the site thats owner wrote the book on guineas so if you need to know anything they will know.

Buffalo, TX(Zone 8b)

If anyone on here is interested I would love to trade for some guinea eggs. I have mixed blood standard chickens (no inbreds, new rooster yearly). I have buff sebrite bantams and OE BB red bantams. I also would trade plants or send postage.


I really want a lot of guineas.

Thank you,

Easton, KS(Zone 5b)

Tamara-Faye - I love my guineas. I have 9 that I hatched from eggs last September. They live with my chickens and they all roost together at night in the coop. All my guineas and chickens are free range during the day.

I want to get eggs again soon and hatch another batch. I'm not sure, but our of 9 guineas, only one is laying eggs, maybe every 2 or three eggs. I'm beginning to think maybe I have 8 roosters and only one hen?

So, that's why I think I'll hatch some more.

I am jealous that your son was able to cuddle the keets! Mine have always been a bit afraid of me - I mean, they all run to me when I step outside, but I can't pick any of them up, they run off.

At the same time, if I'm working out in the yard or the barn or the pasture, they all stay within sight of me. They are very funny to watch.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

we just love ours too!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

was out looking in hiding places for lost chicks, and found a HUGE nest of guinea eggs! only one incubator left... i will candle what is in there, candle the guinea eggs, and figure out what to do.

also found where two guineas that don't come home are.... out in the pasture making a nest!

at least they are OK. hopefully whatever ate those chicks is too small to bother the guineas...

Chickenville, FL(Zone 9a)

I just got my first keets. We got 5 babies. I have them in with some new black copper marans babies that I just hatched out. I want the guineas to think they are chickens lol. They have tamed down alot since I put them with the chickens. When we first got the guineas they were really afraid of us.

Bessemer, AL(Zone 8b)

mine are with my turkeys. now the turkeys think they are guinneas

Thumbnail by jordankittyjo
Chickenville, FL(Zone 9a)

Ahh aren't they cute. They do sorta look a like..in a way.

Brunswick, GA(Zone 9a)

I just found out a guinea fact that all of you probably already know, and that is--the hen will make two syllable sounds like the Pot-Rack noise and the male makes a single syllable loud sound.
But they both seem to do it in a super fast way. Since i was a kid i always enjoyed the racket they make. But until they start chattering i don't know what the neighbors will think abought the situation.
Wish me luck...............

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