The business of hatching birds from an incubator is full of angst. Even when you know how to time all of the variables, water in , humidity up, remove the egg turner, etc... things can turn out bad. This, our 3rd time at incubating guinea eggs was almost 50% successful. Twenty-four eggs, nine healthy youngsters or keets on day 4. This clutch of eggs was from our oldest female, the one we call 'the old lady' at 6 years of age. I'm not sure it can turn out better. But when you're running out of guineas, down to 8 with 6 males, it's time to try the incubator. In their game of survival, more is better because they surround the enemy (mostly fox) and basically yell in a high pitched chant.
This hatching started on September 9th and then stopped with only 4 hatched that day. Three days later, the rest have slowly arrived, more exhausted as each day passed. The last one, after day 3, died. You shouldn't help them, or so it says on the internet and so we learn. So sad to know that they're stuck in a shell. These are the weakest.
The alternative was to let the old lady sit on the nest for 28 days. The likelihood of her dying is very high, she doesn't eat as she sits, and we have yet to see one female survive to the end, something gets them in the night and eats the eggs. So we took the eggs which usually involves a lot of hissing and pecking but this time she left the nest, just for a moment. You would have to understand the dynamics of the tribe to know that it was probably not her idea to sit on the nest, but she was the chosen one, the doomed one. It's a communal thing, a shared nest with all females laying and then one picked to do the deed. Kind of like the beta female gets the short straw. They know it's not a good thing. Of course I felt bad for her when we took the eggs, I mean what's she gonna say?! She has others to answer to. The funny thing, she sat on the nest, even though it was empty, I'm sure to concoct a story, an explanation. I wasn't home when she explained the situation to the 6 mean roosters but I do know that she is back in good graces, although I think it took a few days. As a side note, the other female is on a nest with 12 eggs in our vegetable garden and we've decided to leave it.
Of the last eggs there was one more that made it out this morning, day 4. We'll see.