Farming Reality: Endings And Beginnings

Freshly hatched!

It’s a topic that often seems to be avoided, but is a real part of raising livestock: losing animals. Sadly, this morning, we found a 10 day old guinea keet dead in the brooder. While it will never be easy, a farmer learns to accept that losses will occur even when you’ve made your best efforts to prevent them…and learns from his or her mistakes. Continue reading “Farming Reality: Endings And Beginnings”

Hatch Update: Guinea Fowl #1

It’s been a few days since the guinea fowl eggs hatched, so an update seems in order. Of the 11 eggs that made it to lockdown, 3 failed to hatch: 2 quit a few days prior to hatch (based on the yolk absorption), and 1 simply failed to pip internally. While we always hope that all of the eggs hatch, sometimes they just don’t make it to the finish line. We’re happy that we have 8 healthy keets that grow stronger each day.

Continue reading “Hatch Update: Guinea Fowl #1”

The Importance Of The Farm (Animal) First Aid Kit

Farm First Aid Kit

When we went out to do the evening feeding recently, we noticed that a Muscovy duck seemed to be limping as she came up the hill to the feeding area. Limping can indicate a relatively benign injury like a minor sprain or something more serious, like a bumble, so we caught the unhappy girl and took a closer look. What we found was unexpected, and a bit of a shock: her head and bill were bloody. We caught her and put her into a cage in the “infirmary” in the garage for treatment and observation. While you hope that none of your animals ever suffers an injury, in a setting where they free range with the threat of predators, it’s likely that an injury will occur at some point. Continue reading “The Importance Of The Farm (Animal) First Aid Kit”

Weekly Roundup: Chilly Weather And Several Integrations

Rabbit tractors on a fall day

Well, it’s become clear that summer is over and winter is nipping at its heels: we’ve seen frost in the morning. The temperatures at night have gotten down into the low 30’s (from recent 60’s) and daytime temps are only in the mid-40’s to low-50’s. Shorts and flip-flops have been put away for another season and thermal underwear are at the ready! The change in weather means changes around the farm, too, for the health and happiness of the animals.

The precipitous drop in the mercury shortened the timeline to move the Cuckoo Marans pullet group (ten 14 week olds) into the main coop with the rest of the laying flock. We had hoped to wait until they were 16 weeks old, but the girls are nearly the size of the adult hens, with big attitudes to match. Continue reading “Weekly Roundup: Chilly Weather And Several Integrations”

Guinea Fowl: What We’ve Learned After Two Hatches

Guinea Fowl

We recently added guinea fowl to the menagerie here at the farm. Hatching and raising our own has taught us some lessons we’d like to share. Never heard of guinea fowl? Read on to learn a little more about them.

While guinea keets (what young guinea fowl are called, like baby chickens are “chicks”) may look a lot like chicks, they are very different creatures. One of the biggest differences is that they’re tiny compared to chicks. So tiny that they can easily be trampled or get into spaces chicks wouldn’t. Our first hard lesson came when a keet inexplicably disappeared from the brooder room. Continue reading “Guinea Fowl: What We’ve Learned After Two Hatches”

Test Yourself: What Kind Of Bird Is Hatching Here?


We have some unusual eggs hatching right now at the farm. They’ve been in the incubator for 27 days, and several have pipped externally. Hatching is extremely hard work, especially for birds that have shells as hard as these do.

Here are your hints:

  • The eggs are speckled, light tan, and about 2/3 the size of a chicken egg
  • They’re native to Africa
  • While the hatchlings look similar to chicks, they’re smaller, and when they grow up, they look nothing like a chicken
  • These birds are called “tick assassins” and will decimate populations of ticks, ants, and other bugs…and are also known to eat snakes and small rodents
  • They have a reputation for being good “guard” animals because they’ll create a racket when alarmed

So do you know what kind of bird this is? Bonus question: what are the young of this species called?