We purchased 16 White African Guinea hens for the farm in late July, primarily to act as pest control as they are known to voraciously predate on small vermin and insects including ticks. Aside from their primary function they should simply be good if not noisy company, and and are already integrating themselves well with the other fowl which are all kept in the backyard, as well as with Hwadu the farm cat, who is no longer a threat at their current size.
They arrived on the 21st in a cardboard box at a mere 3 days old. Before long one had died, he just flopped over suddenly, and then another, and after only a week or so with us 6 chicks had passed away, all in such quick succession, as we hastily tried to figure out why.
Each death felt tragic as it was hard to determine to what degree our naivete was to blame or if some loss was simply inevitable and natural. They are in fact notoriously difficult to keep alive at that early stage in life, but as well it seemed one primary cause was a condition common among young chicks called pasty butt.
Initially Sanha had asked me to care for them and to be a good parent, but before long it was her cleaning their crusty butts with a Q-tip and warm water, as well as burying the deceased chicks in a garden plot.
After moving them to a larger ventilated hay lined crate with a mesh lid (that Osaek and Jeongdo put together) they seemed to be doing much better, we would take them outside and they could perch on the lid and explore a little. Sanha was still trying to keep the runt (by a large degree) alive and through diligent effort succeeded, and soon it became clear that all 10 remaining Guinea hens were strong enough to survive on their own accord.
So I began work on a final home for them, made out of material from an old wood shed I'd just disassembled. The ducks didn't like the home myself and Osaek had built for them, so for the hens I made their coop bigger and brighter and airier and they appear to really like it. Seems the ducks do too, as one day after eyeing it for a good week they just marched right in. The chickens end up in there too some days, but the Guinea hens don't mind so much these interlopers, moreso they are afraid of us humans.
At any rate it's important they like the coop because they are actually only semi-domesticated and are otherwise perfectly happy living up in the trees in the woods. When I saw them last they were only beginning to venture out, just going around the perimeter of the coop yet still getting lost, but they're still young.