Farmer Jack, who raises fine pigs. chickens and cows on his small farm, loves Guinea Hens. He has several, and wants more. Guinea Hens are a curious choice for a farmer. He doesn’t want to eat the eggs. He doesn’t plan to eat the meat. In Gardening With Guineas, by Jeanette Ferguson, it says that Guinea Fowl are great at eating ticks weed seeds. Most people have them for just this reason. They eat lots and lots of ticks. If you ask Jack why he wants them, though, he gets vague and mentions the sounds that they make, and how he likes watching them play. In other words, they make him happy. Not a bad reason to have animals.
My daughter Avery, has agreed to hatch and foster some young Guinea Hens for Farmer Jack. She had to learn a lot. First, the eggs have to be shipped. You have only a few days from the time they are shipped until you get them into an incubator (or under a willing broody hen). While they are being shipped you have to carefully adjust the incubator, to make sure that the temperature is between 99.5f and 100f. You also have to add water to keep a humidity level around 60%. This is the incubator Jack loaned to us for the hatching. It’s not new, and it’s seen quite a few eggs. Some happy outcomes, and some that never managed to hatch. Only about 90% of the eggs usually hatch. The stories are written all over the walls. We’re hoping that we only have happy tales to report.
The eggs were shipped inside this carton with a lot of little stuff to protect them. There are two different types of eggs in there: (6) Royal Purple Guinea eggs and (6) Jumbo Pearl Guinea eggs. Can you tell the difference? Me either. Next step in this project was to give them some faces. Aren’t they sweet??? The reason for the faces is that the eggs need turning. You have to turn them a few times a day to prevent serious defects (including death). On the nest, the mama hen turns the eggs all day. My mama hen Avery isn’t that diligent. We drew “awake” faces on one side and “asleep” faces on the other. This way, she remembers to wake them in the morning, put them to sleep for a nap in the afternoon, wake again…you get it. You only turn them for 25 days. The 25th day was Saturday. Then you stop. And wait. While waiting, you turn the heat down to 98.5. You add water to increase humidity to 70%. And you wait. And wait. I feel like a pathetic first time nana waiting for the stork. I’ll keep you posted!