As I mentioned in my last post, one of my reasons for getting rid of my guineas was that I had new developments among my poultry stock. Since May 27 my hen Iris has been vigilantly tending 13 guinea eggs in her own little maternity coop in the garage.
Iris has gone broody at least four times this spring, and I finally decided to indulge her instincts. For one week I very unscientifically saved guinea eggs in a carton in my guest bedroom closet, turning them every day, or when I remembered, until I had a baker’s dozen. Then I set up a little house for Iris and gave her the eggs. She marched right into her homemade cardboard nestbox like she’d owned it all along, and there she’s remained for the past three weeks.
And is she ever serious about the task at hand. The only way I’ve gotten her to eat is to lift her off the nest and offer a palmful of scratch feed. She always goes for the corn kernels first, and then if she can shake off the fog long enough she’ll peck at the seeds or maybe take a drink of water. After a few bites she considers herself sated and zombie-walks back on the nest, rolling and tucking her eggs under her as she settles back to the task at hand. Her single-minded determination is really humbling to see. I know we’re only talking about a chicken here, but to so strongly feel a desire to fulfill a single purpose must be so wonderful freeing.
Guinea eggs incubate for 28 days, which means that if all goes well, we may have a hatch next Sunday on June 24. I don’t have high hopes for this whole reproductive foray, as my method of collecting and storing the eggs was less than professional, and I have no way of knowing if they were even fertile. I really just wanted to let Iris live out her dream, and if I end up with baby guineas, well, I guess I will be back in the guinea business.