A Hidden Clutch of Guinea Eggs

The fir trees that line the north edge of our property are nothing spectacular, although they do provide a nice wind break for the house, especially during the colder winter months.

I would imagine the ground at the base of the trees is rife with juicy bugs, quite possibly a guinea's dream buffet.  They spend a significant portion of each day under these trees.  We often see deep divots in the dirt, which is evidence that armadillos love this spot too.

So look what I found earlier this week, tucked away in a deep corner of the trees.... a clutch of guinea eggs!  At first, only 4 eggs - then yesterday 6 eggs, and now today, 10 eggs!  Obviously one of our hens has a co-hort or two.  They will continue to add to this nest until there are between 30 and 40 eggs, then someone is going to go broody and set on the nest.

The spot our hen has picked is quite protected.  There is part of an old fence under the trees - you can see the heavy wire passing just to the left of her nest, and then to the right, you can see a portion of fence.  I have to duck under tree limbs to get close to the nest. 

When I first saw the 4 eggs earlier this week, I didn't think they would last - I thought for sure a predator (snake, armadillo, raccoon, opossum, you name it) would find the eggs and eat them. But they seem to be protected in this area and are prevailing.

And so I have been doing online research today for an incubator.  I would much rather hatch the eggs ourselves and keep our guineas safe in their coop at night.  And I really don't relish the thought of trying to move broody mama guinea with her eggs.  Our guineas are NOT overly fond of us, and I know it would become an endeavor in frustration, if not injury to us and/or her.

 Mama guinea (on right) and daddy guinea (on left)

So, we now have an opportunity to hatch our own keets and have a few tame guineas - how exciting is that?!  (Keets will not be tame unless you handle them from the very day they are born.)  I think it would be fun to have a few tame guineas with our current flock.  The rest of the keets that hatch will be sold to some local folk for $4 or $5 apiece.  We certainly don't have a coop large enough to hold that many guineas!

My research is leaning toward the Genesis Hova-Bator 1588 incubator. I've read pretty good reviews on this model at BackYard Chickens and other chicken websites.  My only dilemma is: should I buy the automatic egg turner, or not?  First, wouldn't the chicken egg turner be too large to hold guinea eggs - guinea eggs weigh about 1.4 oz compared to chicken eggs at about 2 oz.  And second, they cannot hatch in the egg turner, so I would have to take the egg turner out once we get to day 23, right? (Guinea eggs hatch between 23 and 28 days.)

Has anyone incubated and hatched their own eggs before, either guinea or chicken?  Any advice is heartily appreciated.  :-)

In the meantime, at the fast rate they are building that clutch, I need to order my Hova-Bator today or tomorrow so it arrives later this week!!!

Advice on incubators is also appreciated.  :-)


  1. I don't have advice on incubators, but I do have experience with hidden clutches! Hussies. Can't wait to read about your experience hatching the eggs. Very egg-citing!

  2. I wish I could offer some advice on the incubator and the guinea eggs, but alas, I'm not very well versed in that area o.O

    That is pretty neat that you found a whole nest by accident! I really hope they last until you can get an incubator :)

  3. Wowww! Busy aren't they and yeah can't wait to read more...

    Maybe you can sit outside and guard the nest til the incubator arrives. :)

  4. This IS interesting stuff! I don't know a thing about farm animals, but it's nice that you let us city folk ride along with you on this journey of learning, Susan. :-) I, too, can't wait to see what happens next. (It's like reading a good book...lol) Best of luck with that incubator and moving the eggs if you have to.

  5. I have the 1583 Hova-Bater incubator and love it! Although I wish I would have bought the 1588 because of the electric thermometer but I had borrowed a 1583 to try it out and ended up buying the same one. The one I had borrowed did not have the turner but you can bet I bought the automatic egg turner with mine! No more hand turning eggs for me lol! It came with rails to hold 42 chicken eggs and another set of rails to hold 120 quail eggs (for the same price as just the chicken egg rails) and they are small so they would hold guinea eggs no problem. The cheapest place I could find to buy was http://www.surehatch.com/GQF-Table-Top-Egg-Incubators.htm and if you use the coupon code EGG you'll get 15 dollars off your order over a certain amount. You can buy the incubator and the turner as a package deal.
    I haven't had my incubator for long but it seems to work well and so far we've hatched out chickens and hopefully our turkeys will hatch out tonight or in the morning. Because of the large window I was able to take lots of pictures and even a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whP6v66hRkM
    Good luck and just thought I'd let you know Leann sent me over to your blog. :)

  6. OzGirl - Twas I that sent Kansas from Canada to help you out with your incubator info. If you haven't checked out her chick pics you really should. Hmmmm... I don't see a link to her pics. I really like the one of the little chic asleep in the wine glass. http://www.redbubble.com/people/kansasa/portfolio

  7. This is a better link for the pictures... http://www.flickr.com/photos/kansasa/

  8. I posted on your comment at my blog but thought I'd best post back here too.
    That's great news Suz! Just make sure the egg turner comes with both sets of rails, the chicken and the quail, and you'll be fine. :)

  9. How eggciting ;-) 30-40 eggs seem a LOT for one hen, but hey, I don't know anything about GF's. We do have one little chick at the moment. He/she (hopefully a she) is incredibly cute. Hope the GF eggs will become fluffy little keets. Good luck finding an incubator.

  10. I don't know the first thing about incubating eggs but I'm excited to follow this little adventure here on your blog. Good luck with your research and getting those eggs settled somewhere safe!

  11. You live in a beautiful place!

  12. I haven't hatched or raised guineas before, but your guineas are so lovely and I guess I'll trying to hatch and raise guinaes. Thank you!