Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dawn of the Dead?

This photo depicts what sleeping baby guineas look like. To the unsuspecting they appear dead. Though I knew what to expect it's still a bit unnerving and I have to watch carefully to see that each one is breathing. Occasionally, one will be dead but generally those do look more dead than the rest.

These are the replacement birds sent to me by Estes Hatchery in Missouri free of charge after I lost 10 in the first shipment due to shipping stress. The weather last week was cooler and consequently, more survived. It's possible they were also treated less roughly by the post office. Of 21 birds one was DOA and another 3 died within 30 hours. One I managed to save but lost a different one unexpectedly. This morning I did not find any other dead birds.

Between these birds, the 11 left from the first hatchery shipment and the two that are 3 months old, I have 51 guineas. I am doomed. I do not have large enough facilities to house them plus the 31 chickens. At most, my 6 by 8 foot square coop could house 32 birds and that is pushing it. Eighty-four is nearly triple the number. There will be fights, picking of feathers, blood letting, and other nasty things birds do when over-crowded. Even eating the 2 adult guineas and 2 extra roosters now is not a quick enough solution. I really need another coop or temporary structure for some of these birds until mid December when some could probably be butchered at 4 months old.

And all this chaos is happening because I over compensated when I accidentally killed one of my first 3 guineas and wanted to replace it.

But until the housing problem looms larger as winter approaches the new keets reside in their box under the picture window of my living room. Their one week old cousins are on the opposite side of the house in the dining room. They can hear each other peep but I can't combine them, the boxes are too small. As long as they are getting enough to eat and being allowed to run all over each other they seem quite content although at times the older ones sound as though they are trying to barrel through the cardboard walls.

No comments: