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Ups & Downs of Guineas & Grasshoppers

Here on the farm, we try to grow all of our food. And as many of you know, the past few months were quite challenging. Thanks to Whitney, Dustin, Max, Jolee & John all helping to plant our Spring garden while Tim was under the weather with his hip, we had a garden.

But maintaining a garden would prove to be the challenge. There was no time for weeding. So the grass and the food grew together. It wasn't pretty but it worked.

Our guineafowl help with grasshopper control. We love everything about guineas. While some of you think guineas are ugly, I see beauty. And some of you may think the "patrock" sound they make is awful, I love it.

We've had eight guineas that have survived the predators of Weise Farms for over three years. These are the smart ones. We've bought additional guineas over these three years, but they disappear, assumed to be eaten by coyotes, bob cats or some other predator in the area. Those eight guineas know how to survive.

We found a large supply of guinea eggs and decided to incubate them. We were thrilled to have 20 keets hatch. Baby guineas are called keets, not chicks as some might think. We placed them in a protected building inside of a bin, similar to what you see at the stores that sell chicks, along with a brooder plate that theoretically is similar to a mother hen, allowing the babies to go under the brooder plate to keep warm, and venture out to eat and drink.

Here is a picture of our little keets transporting from incubator to the brooder box.

The reason I like brooder plates over heat lamps is because many years ago I lost all of my baby chicks, because they could not get away from the heat lamp. The other reason I like brooder plates is because having a light on 24 hours a day does not allow the chicks to experience natural days and nights.

The shed we kept the guinea keets in was air conditioned. We never keep it super cold, just cool enough to keep our garden potatoes fresh during those hot summer months.

Sadly the brooder plate stopped working after one day, and we lost all of our keets because they got too cold. Things like this make us feel so sad.

I blame myself because I should have placed them in the feed shed instead of the potato shed. The feed shed is warm and would have been perfect even if a brooder plate goes out.

God knew I needed cheering up. I found two nests with momma guineas sitting on eggs! I hope the snakes don't get the eggs. And if they hatch, I hope the momma's will take care of them, and raise up more smart survivors like the eight we've had over the past three years.

There will always be ups and downs on a farm. And we learn lessons along the way. If you've made it to the end of this post, thank you for taking the time to read it. And let us know if you enjoyed it. We love hearing from you!


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