Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Surprise In The Hen House
Our hens have been really busy this spring, providing us with lots of yummy eggs. We have one little white banty hen, however, who is very broody. She is always laying on somebody else's eggs. One day Greg found her laying on a Guinea egg, so he decided to leave it there for her to lay on. He gathered a half a dozen more Guinea eggs over the next few days and put them all under the banty. He wanted to see if she would actually hatch them out.
This morning he went to gather eggs and found one of the other hens laying in the box insted of the little banty, and lo and behold she had a little Guinea chick under her! He could see a broken egg shell in the box. He came and got me so I could come and see and I grabbed my camera so I could take some pictures. While I was snapping shots, Greg saw a dead chick laying on the ground. And then we saw another one. He lifted up the hen and we didn't see any in the box, but we saw the broken shells of four of the eggs. I then saw a chick on the ground. I picked that one up, and then we saw another. We figured she must have had them under her wings and they dropped out when Greg picked her up. She jumped right back up in the box, and we brought the two live chicks in and set up a box for them in the kitchen.
One of the chicks seemed a little bit older than the other one (by a few minutes or so, maybe). We weren't sure the one would make it. It seemed quite a bit more unsteady than the other one.
But, after several hours, it seems to be doing fine.
We keep checking to see if the other eggs are going to hatch out. We want to be sure and catch them before any more chicks end up dead on the floor of the hen house. I know chickens will kill ducklings, but I never heard if they would kill Guinea chicks. I have heard of people hatching Guinea eggs under regular hens, though, and letting them raise the chicks in order to get them to be more tame. So, we don't know what caused the death of the other two chicks.