Time to release the guineas!
I made a big ramp with a board, not that I really expect them to come walking down the ramp, and more importantly, piled hay all over the ground and especially over the feet of the coop, where I expect the chicks to all plummet to earth.
Then I carefully removed the screen door, slowly backed away, and plunk! A chick fell out. It bounced and rolled in the hay and got stuck face down. I set it on its feet and Oh no! Another neurological disorder. Its head was all floppy and it couldn’t stand right. I snatched it up and held it, and carried it around for a bit.
It wobbled around a bit and then seemed to figure out which way was up and how to stand. I set up camp to watch the rest exit the coop, wanting to be on hand for any rescues. The chick in my lap turned into a ball of energy, scampering up my arms, down my shirt, so I set it on the ground, and it ran around in tight circles. Very quickly. What is wrong with these chicks?
It ran in circles like it was on a three inch picket, zoom zoom zoom, until it fell over, then got up and did it again. Circles, circles, circles, peeping. Then it ran a little bit in a straight line (phew!) Circle, circle circle…straight line! Like it had to get wound up and then shot out of the centrifugal force. Fall over, repeat. The cocks came running over to the chick, and the chick tried to respond, running into their feet, and finding comfort in them, ceasing to peep for its mother, and following them around. In circles.
Meanwhile, I waited for the hen and her chicks to come out of the coop. And waited. And waited and waited. And some more.
One of the cocks started jumping up on the coop, and going into it, then coming out, jumping down, and doing it again. He was pretty obviously trying to talk her out.
He’d jump up, stand by the door, look or go in, linger, jump down, and immediately start long necking up at the coop before jumping back up. Repeat.
Sometimes she would come to the door, sometimes chicks would come to the door, but they weren’t uncoordinated enough to fall out.
Dozens of times he did this trip, up and down, up and down. Come on out of there!
Ultimately she came out when I wasn’t looking and left the chicks behind, huddled and peeping in the far corner. I went to scoop them out and she flew at me like a launched missile. I put on Carhartts and safety glasses and tried again. There were five little chicks in the coop, plus the dizzy one, and two lay dead among the 14 unhatched eggs (wow, she was sitting on 23 eggs!).
I can’t tell how many chicks in total from both hens, because the chicks tumble around in the grass. There’s a lot! Vertigo chick integrated into the group even before its mom emerged, but it was always getting left behind. The others would drift off, and it would look up, find itself alone, and then peep! zoom around in circle, and then shoot out straight for a few feet, trying to catch up. I felt sorry for it, running 3x as far as any of the others and always a bit behind. But it was managing.
The orphaned guinea chick in the infirmary is possibly improving. It’s gained enough motor skills to control its head and it comes out from under the wing on its own and toddles around.
It has the strength to struggle against being held, but can barely walk.
It’s also very good at getting into scrapes, finding somewhere to get stuck upside down or jammed into, shivering. I’ve rescued it from the edge of death a few times, forcing it to have a sip of water and then tucking it back under a wing. The Silkies are so tolerant. She’s on her eggs, she doesn’t care about any additions. Funny that one of the Silkie hens was once a resigned warming oven to the guineas that are adult now.
It’s so cute! I’m caring for it, making it drink and trying to make it eat baby mash of ground up seeds and applesauce, but there’s really no endgame for this chick. It won’t make it without parenting, and it’s highly unlikely to catch up to be able to keep up with all of its siblings as they travel along. Maybe though; I’m surprised every time I find it still alive.