C. found six newly hatched guinea keets lying dead in the frozen chicken yard the other day. It's October, just the best time for new babies, right? Gah. So she gathered them up in her apron and bright them in and we labored over them, blowing on their limp downy bodies and rubbing their ridiculous orange feet. They just lay there. She got out the heating pad and made a keet sandwich, with soft wooly things on top and the heating pad set to high. In an hour they were bouncing around like jumping beans, and we herded them into a cardboard box with a heat lamp on top. (At one point they escaped, which is why there are five. Annie the dachshund found one, and though she dropped it when I caught her, it was too late.)
Now the five are installed on a kitchen cabinet, where they make anxious LOUD cricket sounds when they are unhappy, and a soft chirruping when their bowls and their bellies are full. Yep – rabbits the bathroom and keets in the kitchen. That's how we roll here.
The pied ones are proof that Johnny & Edgar, our white guinea, is their daddy – which means their momma is his dim girlfriend. She hatched a batch of 24 babies last year, and not a one survived. The poor little guys are fragile and delicious, and guinea moms drag them around through rain and mud and woods full of cats and owls. It's amazing that any live to wear the polka-dot suit and party hat of the adult bird.
We figure she must have brought them up to show the other birds – guinea moms are incredibly proud – then wandered off, leaving them to freeze. Did I say she was dim?
They're really cute and fun to watch as they booble around the box, pecking at stuff and stealing food from each other. The pied ones will probably turn out to be royal purples.
In six weeks, when they are large and smelly, they can move into the chicken house. I hope. In the meantime we mash boiled eggs for them, and chop hardy garden greens, and soak chicken crumbles in fresh milk. And check their bottoms for "pasty butt." A mother's work is never done,