I have another question. We've been thinking it might be strongly in the best interests of the new keets if we buy some adult guineas so that they have experienced adults to learn about life from. We hope for the guineas to be mostly free ranging but will definitely do the thing of grain in the evening. I know that adults and keets have to be sequestered at least 12 weeks before you can hope they'll stick around at your place. Would it be a good idea to have adults too? We didn't know when we ordered the guinea eggs that we'd be able to buy birds locally, so we're doing this a bit backward maybe.
1. fyi, I have 36 guinea eggs in the incubator, with no clue about how many will hatch. If a good idea, how many adults would be a good idea?
2. If it's agreed to be a good idea, what type of separation would be required in the guinea coop/run? I will be using the MamaHeatingPad (MHP) method of brooding the keets, so they'll be out in the coop from day 1 or 2. Should I keep them in a fenced-off brooder just like with chicks for the first 2 weeks, then let the keets have portals/openings in their brooder space to allow them to go in and out of the main coop area on their own? My question assumes someone has knowledge of the MHP method, of course. But the main question is, if I'm sequestering new adults and new keets at the same time, will they blend as a flock ok? Any difference from chickens that would be good to be aware of?
3. And last, How much space should their coop and run have? Does someone have a link to a good discussion on this? As mentioned, we hope that they'll freerange and hopefully naturalize and reproduce on their own. We're trying to start off with a decent number that could help them with critical mass for success. Since we're providing them with a coop, what long-term factors should we be considering in design and placement? oh, fyi, we live out in the country on 29 acres with lots of woods plus a 13-acre meadow/pasture, currently fallow.
Also FYI, I've read the book Gardening with Guineas but the author seems to be so adamantly against free-ranging that I can't learn what I need to know from that book, which is why I'm asking here.
Thanks for your thoughts.
coop space for guineas should be doubled over chickens Even in the coop they will run on the perches.... Yep run... I put my perches up as high as I could get them.... at the time was over six feet up.
Read the same book and it has some good aspects like conditioning the birds to come in in the evening. If you allow them to roost in the trees you will lose them eventually. You have good logic going and instincts in general.... For what its worth that conditioning to come in for a treat or grain is an excellent option for all your poultry. I have had mine fly from the rocks behind my house over my house and into the yard for their treets....
Personally I cant speak to having adults to teach them the ropes... But it makes sense. The lock up period for the Adults I used was two weeks... but then there were NO other guineas in my area. And my adopted adults were all males and about five years old. At the time I had no keets.
I too will be using MHP... or a modification thereof.... since its been about four years since I have had any poultry I will be starting from scratch. My plan is to also raise up Sumatras because I really like them. Sumatras are broody fools... that whole game bird deal. They also have similar qualities as guineas. The roos get along, they are excellent fliers, and they are excellent free rangers. Its important here because of my predator concentration.
once I get that flock establishment they will be suitable for hatching and raising up Guineas because of their natural high active nature. Chicken raised guineas are the best option.
Edited to add. @PeepsCA Is the one I bought my last keets from. shes in Northern CA and has retired from raising Guineas I believe. But one of her strategies for free ranging was to not let them out till the eggs were laid. If a hen makes a nest out in the woods chances are you will both loose her an her male.
Edited by perchie.girl - 6/3/16 at 11:31am
Past poultry: Buff Brhama, EE, Barred rock, Wellsummer,
Bantam mixes, Araucana, Turkeys, & Guinea Fowl.
Future poultry: Guinea Fowl, Sumatra, Wellsummer, Muscovy
"A dream without a plan is just a wish" Katherine Paterson