Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guinea keet update

Life goes on quickly even though we don't have phones or internet access.  Our phone line issue is scheduled to be looked at in a week. 

The guinea keets are now over 2 weeks old. Three days ago they discovered they can fly!  Their little wings are fully developed.  It must be very exciting to realize you can fly!  There's an entirely new world available to them off the ground now.  They fly onto the roosts that we have in the coop, they fly into the nest boxes, and they fly into the rafters. 

The biggest of the babies are the size of doves, the smallest are the size of sparrows.  The mixed color keets are the smallest, next come the white/whitish color, then the largest are the dark brown keets.  The eggs evidently all came from different nests.

We lost one dark brown keet the day after we bought them.  I had purchased all the dark brown and mixed color keets from a man I have come to know who sells birds at the local farmer's market, and then I purchased the remaining white keets from an amish boy, who I also have come to know, who also sells at the same farmer's market.  I noticed that two keets the man had were not up to par, but I didn't feel right purchasing all but two keets that he had.  I couldn't leave those two tired little keets all alone.  And so I had purchased two tired, worn out, very little keets, hoping I could nurse them back to health.  One of the two was dark brown, the other mixed.

I don't think the two keets were sick, I think they were overheated and they were too small.  It's been so very hot here, with temps in the 100's F every day.  The keets were dehydrated and hungry and exhausted when I brought them home.  The two of them just huddled together, unable to lift their heads.  I gave the sickly keets drops of water mixed with antibiotics in their tiny beak that first day, and also a drop of Vitamin E.  By the second day, the mixed color keet was running around with the rest of the keets, but the dark one was still barely able to lift his tiny head.  He died later that day.  The remaining 18 keets survived and are all growing and doing fine.

The one mixed-colored keet is still the smallest of the entire group, but he is eating and drinking and doing fine.  He's not as aggressive as some the largest dark keets, but he's ok.  They get garlic mixed in their water every day, just like our chickens do.  I bought fresh keet crumbles from the feed store - supposingly keet food is higher in vitamins and protein than chick food, but the vitamins break down quickly in high heat and make the food rancid.  Then the vitamins do no good for the keets, and the keets can have developmental issues.  I have seen the developmental issues first-hand in previous batches of keets which we have raised through the years, back before I understood about the special needs of keets.  If keets ever start developing these issues they need vitamin supplements immediately, especially Vitamin E put directly in the beak, starting on day 1.  Vitamins will stop the developmental issues, but will not reverse the issues that have already taken affect to the birds.  Hence, before we knew all this, we had one "slow" guinea and we had several guineas die from previous flocks.

We watch all the keets closely, looking for any developmental issues in the smaller birds, especially the one mixed colored keet.  Everyone eats, drinks, flies, and seems to think for themselves fine.  No one is stumbling around or bumping into things.  No one walks backwards.  Everyone is attentive to what is going on around them.  Everyone has straight legs and can walk fine.  These are the signs I have come to look out for.  I keep any unopened bags of keet food in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.  I think the keets are now healthy enough that they are past the possibility of getting developmental issues, but I will keep an eye on them. 

I've started the keets on food other than keet crumbles yesterday.  I gave them softly cooked peas to supplement the keet crumbles.  At first they just looked at the food, but within a few hours the peas were all gone.  It's weird not having a mother hen with the keets who tells them when to eat.  They don't dive into strange foods, it takes a while for one to peck it and then all the others follow.  Today I gave them some spaghetti in addition to keet food - it only took about 15 minutes for them to realize they love spaghetti.  If a fly or bug dares enter their coop it is gobbled immediately.

Sorry for no photos.  I'm typing this at a location where I cannot bring my camera, as the internet is down at the house.  I can tell you, the keets have long necks and little bodies and are in a very cute but gangly stage.


Carolyn Renee said...

I had no idea that keets needed keet-feed. We thought about getting some keets, but with this weather I don't think we'll be starting ANY poultry until the fall when the weather gets cooler.

Chai Chai said...

I have never even seen keet food, this is the first I have heard of it!

I may try your vitamin E trick when my keets hatch next week, sounds like a great idea.

I hope you get a good ratio of girls, otherwise there will be trouble - and a lot of noise!

Farm Girl said...

Wow, so nice to get caught up with you. You have been through so much lately. If I ever get guineas I will know where to come for advice. I wish I had known you when I had keets but you might have been about 12 or something. :) The ones we had did some of those things you describe like walking backwards and I just didn't know what to do. I hope you are doing fine, and I hope your heat breaks soon.

LindaG said...

Thanks so much for this post. We plan on having some guineas, and since I don't know what size they will be when we finally get them, this is all great information to know.

Much appreciated!

Razzberry Corner said...

CR - Yes, keet food. It's also called gamebird, showbird, or guinea keet crumbles. Keets like it hot, when we first got them we actually turned on the heat lamp at nighttime and they loved it. They have a big coop, and they were so small, just the size of an egg. And at night the temps had dropped down into the 70's which is too cold for a newborn keet. They all huddled under the heat lamp which hung from the ceiling. Now that they're bigger and stronger they don't need that heatlamp. Plus it's hotter now.

CC - Really, you've never heard of it, either? Keet crumbles. It's medicated, like chick crumbles is, but is higher in protein than chick crumbles. Pretty soon our keets are going to be put onto regular chicken food, as soon as they start going out into the chicken pen. We put 1 drop of Vit E in a keet beak if the keet is showing any of the signs I mentioned, or if it's listless/droopy- One drop in the morning and one drop at night. We also put a drop of water or 2 in the beak. The keets hate it, they hate to be held at all. If any of your keets start showing signs of such issues please let me know and I will email you, it's important you treat immediately to keep them alive and healthy!

FG - I've missed you! It's good to know that someone besides me has had issues with keets before. The walking backwards thing was weird, that was from my slow keet, she had a mental issue due to vitamin deficiencies as a keet. This week it's supposed to be cooler, only in the 80's! The chickens will be happy, they hate the heat!

LindaG - If you ever have any issues with guineas just send me an email at and I'll do my best to hep based on my experiences!


Ratty said...

I've never heard of guinea keets before. Very interesting about them.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I'm curious as to how you put garlic in the chicken's water . . . and what is the purpose of it?

So glad the keets are doing well, 'cause they couldn't ask for a better mama!

Knatolee said...

Hope the keets do well. It has been so hot down there! It must be difficult for all the animals.

Glad your internet is back. :)