Pros: Tick and bug control, cheap entertainment, cold-hardy, great photo subjects
Cons: Noisy, dust baths in garden, **** on deck
I love my guineas. Started out with 7 lavender keets last July. They were a breeze to raise (first birds I ever had). I didn't have a coop when they were young, and they decided to make my deck into a roost. Never lost one off the roost but lost at least two to neighbors' dogs. Lost 1 when he/she was just released from the brooder but now they are a lot more predator-savvy. I have a large dog that probably keeps some predators away, also. '
My guineas free-range 24/7 and cover a lot of range. I have 5 acres, but they visit neighbors on all three sides of my property. Fortunately my neighbors are bird- and livestock-friendly and I knew that before I got my keets. Even with only 4 left they are excellent tick control. When I had seedlings in the garden I had to fence it off because they would build dust baths and trample the seedlings, but now that the plants are more mature the guineas don't disturb them at all. However, I have cedar chip mulch on my rose bush, and if I don't surround it with chicken wire my birds will scratch and overturn all that mulch to the point of exposing the rose's roots. I also have the same mulch on false indigos, and they don't mess with those at all. Weird.
Mostly I don't mind the noise at all, but I can see if my neighbors were directly next door or not bird-friendly guineas would definitely be a problem! If a hawk flies over, or a car pulls in, or if an ant crawls by, they yell, and yell, and yell! Just at dusk it is all but impossible to have a conversation on my deck. I am sure if I had penned them up when they were younger I could have trained them to roost in a coop but since I didn't I have to put up with them on the deck, and shitting all over the deck rails. Under the rail where they roost I put a big plastic tote, and I empty that on the compost pile frequently.
I would say the main reason I like them is the tick control, but I will always have guineas because they are hilarious and cute (yes, I think they are cute). I do wish I would have banded them when they were younger 'cause I would like to be able to tell them apart; now they would be harder to catch. They have cool little personalities. Every time I fed them as babies I yelled "hey, chickens!" and now they come literally running when I yell "hey, chickens!". I feed them game bird crumbles and pellets, incidentally. When I take my dog for a walk the guinea flock will follow me if I keep calling them. My Great Dane plays at chasing them and they are good sports. They know he will not hurt them so they let him grab them sometimes. If another dog is near, though, they fly up into the trees. They are smart if they need to be.
In the northern Minnesota winter I kept a heat lamp on in the coop but the guineas stayed on their deck roost every night, through rain, snow, wind, anything. Some mornings they would be covered in snow but they survived just fine. I fed them supplemental cracked corn in the cold weather for extra carbohydrates. They didn't range as far in the snow, but it didn't seem to bother them, though I had read that some guineas can't stand snow.
Now in June either my birds haven't started laying or I just can't find the nest(s). Guinea ownership is still a learning experience for me. Can't wait to get some coral blue keets maybe next spring!!