Ok, so I had a population on 12 guineas. Out of those 4 were eaten by various critters. A guy I know decided it would be a good idea do dump another 15 guinea keets at my door last weekend, so now I have 23. Well, as winter approaches I am curious as to what people do with their guineas. Do you lock them up all winter or do you let them out to free range during the day? Right now the guineas are let out of their enclosure during the day to free range on 3 cleared acres. I live near Raleigh, NC and the winters don't normally get exceptionally cold. Of course, now that I have moved here (this will be my first winter here), we will probably have a record cold spell..
Guineas in winter?
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As long as they can roost in a draft free area at night on wide flat perches so they can cover their feet that should do ok. Some do lock up their birds 24/7 during the snowy months tho, as Guineas tend to freak out/get stupid about the "scary white stuff" on the ground and they refuse to come down out of trees and come back to the coop. Some have even laid down straw and blankets on top of the snow trying to get their birds back in the coop/pen, without much luck. Depends on the birds, so just see how it goes...
I have mild winters here, and snow that actually sticks and lasts is rare, but my birds dealt with it just fine... they just followed me around and complained more thru the day until it all melted, lol.
Edited by PeepsCA - 10/1/11 at 9:23am
Well, I think by the end of winter the guineas are going to be a little cramped in their current night coop. I will have 23 guineas in a 8x4x4 coop. I do have to winterize it though to keep the drafts down. Right now, the coop is open on all sides with chicken wire sides. I will be plywooding over the sides and making a few more roosts... Tonight the temp is supposed to dip to like 40° so I have brought the keets inside and will toss them back outside tomorrow..
Here is what the aviary looks like now.. The box in the back is the guinea coop.
and the new keets
Pretty nice aviary you've built there for everybody too I agree, with that many Guineas they will need more coop space... adult Guineas need about 4 sq ft per bird in the coop, but if given the choice, I bet most of your birds would choose to roost out in the aviary (if it's predator proof enough) and if you can cover a section of it so they aren't getting rained or snowed on. Raccoons and other similar sized pesty predators can reach thru pretty small mesh wire and grab sleeping Guineas (Guineas are completely blind in the dark),so you might want to be sure your roosts are well protected at the ends and from above (or located in areas away from the aviary wire if you decide to let the birds roost where they choose.
I live in PA and we can get some bad winters. My guineas have never had a problem free ranging in the snow and ice. I lock them up in a coop at night and always make sure they have unfrozen water at all times (and feed). Like a previous poster said, my guineas like the winter better then the chickens.
Well, lets see how do I describe the roof... Well, first there is the central support pole. Off of that there is a ridge beam coming down. Then from the top of the central pole I strung 16ga wire to each corner. Then I placed 72" chicken wire over the entire top, stretched it with the help of a neighbor and stapled it in place. Inside it does sag a little here and there, but I have had no complaints. Then as a final touch, I bought a 25' x 30' tarp from Northern Tool (when it was on sale for $39) and put that over 1/2 the aviary. Now all the critters can be in or out of the rain as they like.. As an extra precaution, I made a large "X" of wire over the tarp to make sure that wind can only expand it a little bit. By doing this, the tarp should last longer; provided the guineas don't destroy it while they are walking around up there (which they have discovered is fun to do apparently). Oh, right now, the sides are open except the one in the back. I wanted wind to pass thru the structure to 1) keep things cool during the hot summers and 2) keep the tarp from blowing off..
Let me know if you want to know anything else..