Two of our guinea fowl hens have been sitting on a humoungous collection of eggs for weeks, assisted by Zita, the white chicken. Recently, some of the eggs started hatching, but this gave rise to great confusion. Who did the keets belong to..?? In the Great Motherhood Wars that followed, a number of the keets got squashed. We decided this was not a good idea, and separated Zita with the keets that were still alive. There were 11 keets – 7 brown ones and 4 whites. Zita also adopted the chicks that resulted from our school hatching project, bringing her total of babies up to 17!
Zita is a good and experienced mother hen. Since we got her, she has hatched a batch of baby chicks every year and looked after them for months. Interestingly, she is an ex-battery hen, who was laid off at the age of 2, was rescued and eventually brought here, together with two of her sisters. They were our first chickens. Anyway, Zita proved to be a great mum and I have no doubt she will raise these babies admirably.
So that leaves the two grey guinea hens with the remaining eggs. They hatched 2 more keets but one of those died, too. I put water and food right next to them and hope any other keets that might still hatch will survive… Their track record isn’t too good at the moment!
But there is another chance for a good hatch of keets. A white guinea hen sits hidden in the bamboo by the duck pond, on a more reasonable nest of about 20 eggs. Without disturbance and other hens fighting, she might hatch them all. We will see!