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Guinea fowl chicks all die.
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Author:  bristow [ Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Guinea fowl chicks all die.

I have 2 male and 2 female guinea fowl and they live in a large enclosed pen (it used to be a tennis court, and then a covered vegetable garden/orchard). Both this year and last year one of the females laid more than 25 eggs, and successfully hatched them. Both years many chicks hatched but within a couple of days they were all dead. Last year I tried putting water and food near them, but I thought I had disturbed them too much, so this year I kept well away. There was water available, and a lot of vegetation around, the weather was hot and dry, and the mother seemed to defend her chicks. But the chicks all died.

Does any one have any idea why this might be?

Author:  Squeaker [ Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guinea fowl chicks all die.

Quite possibly it's coccidiosis that's killing them.

They should be fed a high protein food such as medicated turkey starter or game bird starter. You can add a coccidiostat to the water if there is any sign of problems.

Sorry should have asked, what were you feeding them?

Author:  sue55 [ Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guinea fowl chicks all die.

One reason that young chicks 'fail to thrive' and die is because the parental nutrition was inadequate. Basic layer/poultry/game bird feed does not offer sufficient nutrition for healthy chicks. If you were not feeding your breeder birds on a specific breeder ration that may have had an effect. If the chicks have had a poor start in the egg then no amount of starter will fix it.

Author:  bristow [ Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guinea fowl chicks all die.

I was feeding the adults on chicken scratch mix. Plus in their living area there is a lot of vegetation: different grasses, seeds, vegetable plants that they help themselves to. They also eat bugs, worms, frogs etc that they dig up in the enclosure. I think that the parents got most of their nutrition from theirsurroundings; They certainly didnt seem hungry in that they would spend long periods of the day just resting, and would never follow me around wanting food as the two chickens I also had in there did. Before I put the adult guineas into the enclosure they used to roam freely around my property and were given minimal feed, only at the end of the day to encourage them not to stray.

Perhaps there wasnt enough suitable feed around for the chicks. THey seemed very helpless, but I thought that they would start eating in the same way my quail chicks started eating (and survived).

Author:  Azira [ Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guinea fowl chicks all die.

bristow wrote:
I was feeding the adults on chicken scratch mix. Plus in their living area there is a lot of vegetation: different grasses, seeds, vegetable plants that they help themselves to. They also eat bugs, worms, frogs etc that they dig up in the enclosure. I think that the parents got most of their nutrition from theirsurroundings; They certainly didnt seem hungry in that they would spend long periods of the day just resting, and would never follow me around wanting food as the two chickens I also had in there did. Before I put the adult guineas into the enclosure they used to roam freely around my property and were given minimal feed, only at the end of the day to encourage them not to stray.

Perhaps there wasnt enough suitable feed around for the chicks. THey seemed very helpless, but I thought that they would start eating in the same way my quail chicks started eating (and survived).

They may have been full given the food around them (hence them not chasing you for food), but it's possible they didn't have a lot of energy. I don't really know the behaviour patterns of Guinea Fowl, but extended periods of resting doesn't seem overly normal to me, perhaps it's a bit of lethargy? If the food they were consuming wasn't providing them with enough nutrients and energy, yet keeping them full, that might explain the poor hatch results.

Chicken scratch mix is not designed as a complete diet, merely something to throw out as a treat for them to scratch around and eat. I'm guessing there aren't enough bugs and the like in their enclosure to provide them with enough protein. Generally it's suggested that before breeding, poultry be put on a quality breeder feed for at least 6 weeks before incubating eggs. I'd be inclined to think you'd want to do much the same for Guineas.

I would be putting them on something like Showbird MP and then see how things go. I think you're likely to have more success.

To rule out any environmental issues, you could try grabbing some eggs as they are right now and incubating them in an incubator. If you have the same problem with the chicks raised in a brooder, then I think it would let you know for sure it's a nutritional issue with the parent birds.

Author:  bristow [ Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guinea fowl chicks all die.

Thanks people for your replies. I am not especially wanting to breed the guineas (what would I do with 25+ chicks?) but I would like to think they are in good health and living under good conditions. I have had them for three years and have had no problems apart from the chicks dying. I will look into their diet; particularly before the breeding season next year.

Author:  70%cocoa [ Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guinea fowl chicks all die.

As Squeaker says you need to provide an appropriate starter crumble. Provide it free choice, which means supplying it 24/7 so it does not ever run out. Growing birds have huge nutritional needs. Unfortunately there is no way they would have found enough to eat in your enclosure and scratch mix is not suitable food (not good enough for the parents either I'm sorry to say).

Author:  NellyG [ Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guinea fowl chicks all die.

In any enclosed area, the good value food is quickly grazed out. If they were 'in the wild' they would roam over quite a large area and move day by day so that they would have regular access to pretty ungrazed land. Poultry of any sort grazes out a fenced area very quickly. They need a good quality feed available. I generallly fed mine good quality layer pellets plus what they grazed, but I wasn't breeding. If they are having keets it needs to be breeder ration, and once the keets hatch they need to have starter available 24/7.

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