I’m In a Fowl Mood Today

Turkey parade

I’m in a fowl mood because it seems like I’m surrounded by the feathered creatures day and night.  Stepping out the door, I see a group of wild turkey parading before me.  It’s a sight I always enjoy, and it gets me to thinking about the domestic fowl we (“we” – meaning Retta) raise as a hobby.

The old hen house

Here is one of our hen houses, which you may have seen in previous posts.  We use this building to house our guineas, whose numbers range variously from a few, to several dozen, depending on the time of year and activity of the local predators.

Broody guinea hens

Usually, our guineas would find some secluded spot in the tall pasture grasses in which to lay their eggs.  This year, however, several have decided to utilize the nesting boxes that are installed in the hen house.  They have been very broody as well, sitting on the eggs in quite a maternal fashion, patiently waiting for the eggs to hatch and the new-born chicks to emerge from their confining shell.

 Hatchling nest litter

Daily, Retta inspects the nest boxes, and when she finds newly hatched keets, she removes them from the box, leaving behind the litter of egg shells and feathers that you see in the photograph above.  To date, we have 36 little keets, and the number grows daily.

Temporary guinea keet nursery

We place the new-born keets into our makeshift nursery, which is comprised of a couple of livestock water tanks, having a bed of pine shavings and warmth provided by a pair of incandescent heat lamps.

Guinea keets

We will keep these fine looking guinea keets indoors, under our watchful eyes, until such time as their feathers come in fully and they grow to a more substantial size.  Then, it’s back out to the hen house for them, where we will keep them penned up for a few weeks.  After that, when the keets are large enough, we will begin letting them out of the hen house during the day, so that they can go about their glorious job of devouring thousands upon thousands of those ticks that we all love to hate so much.

New hen house for the chickens

Meanwhile, you may remember a post where we took a ride across Bull Shoals Lake on the Peel Ferry, the sole surviving Arkansas public auto ferry.  Ostensibly, the reason for that ride was to look over some professionally built hen houses, to determine if we should buy, rather than build, a new domicile for the chicks Retta had ordered from a local hatchery.  You can probably tell from the excellent workmanship of the new hen house in the picture above that we opted to buy, rather than build.  After looking at the cost of materials to build an equivalent structure, it turned out being worth our while to purchase this hen house.  It is sturdy, portable, and heavily constructed with quality materials by a group of Amish craftsmen in the Seymour, Missouri area.

Hen house interior

The interior has a translucent fiberglass panel to allow light into the house, and features 6 nesting boxes, perches, and slide-out litter drawers beneath the perches.  There is access to the protected outdoor “yard” area from within the house, and it is all protected from the weather with well-built metal roofing.

Egg doors for nesting boxes

The nesting boxes have doors that open up from the outside, so that we can easily collect the eggs that the hens will begin laying sometime soon.

Chickens enjoying the shade of the hen house

Here are just a few of the young chickens that now call this hen house their home.  They say variety is the spice of life, and we seem to be pretty well-seasoned with this eclectic mix of chicken breeds, which includes assorted Polish chickens, Silkies, and Spitzhaubens.

So now, perhaps, you understand why I sometime feel that I’m in a fowl, fowl mood.

3 thoughts on “I’m In a Fowl Mood Today

  1. I love the photos of your guineas!! We are raising have 4 pearls , 2 baby whites and 2 baby lavenders, no one besides myself loves these guys… (along with some chickens… i love those SILKIES, not too bright, but so much fun)

    I have so many questions… I’m not sure if ours are laying eggs or not, at least i haven’t seen them do it yet… we get a brownish /pink speckled white egg which i suspect is theirs but I’m not sure… do you have any advice on this?

    I was look at the nesting boxes you have metal ones in the photo of the guineas, where can i find those? We built a temporary coop and nest box set up, but its pretty mediocre and i’d love to upgrade!! Any ideas or suggestions would help!

    You have a beautiful property, and there are many things i envision for my property and am working to accomplish, you have many of them already installed! Thank you for sharing this !!!

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