I'm in SW WI and this is my first winter with guineas. Any pointers or links to worthwhile sites? Thanks!
guineas in winter
They've got a raised pallet coop (it's about three feet off the ground) that's fenced in, but during the day they are outside exploring (mostly following people around asking for snacks). The coop is about four foot long and three feet wide, doors on either end and three big window vents near the roofline. I have 8 full grown guineas.
If I lived in that area this is what I'd do:
Provide a safe, predator proof, dry, draft free (but ventilated) coop for them with plenty of roosts that are either 2"x4"s or 2"x6"s mounted laying flat like a shelf so the birds can cover their feet and keep them warm, especially at night. They will usually tuck their naked heads under a wing, but if it gets below zero in your coop a heat lamp (or ceramic heat emitter) or 2 aimed at the roosts might be appreciated by the birds. You also may want to provide one lower for wet birds that can't get up on the roosts. If possible also provide a sturdy attached covered run that you can either clear the snow from or effectively cover to keep the snow out of. Some Guineas freak out about snow, and once out in it they will fly up in the trees and refuse to come down and coop up, or even come down for food... so some people keep their Guineas in until the snow is mostly gone.
I'd also bump up the protein and fat levels in their diet (game bird feed and extra corn or scratch) over the winter so they can stay warm and also compensate for lack of bugs. Some feed a warm mash every morning, but not all birds enjoy that. If you have a source for fresh greens I'm sure they'd appreciate them especially when the ground is covered with snow. And maybe an occasional freeze dried meal worm treat.
You also want to keep ice-free water available at all times for them to drink, Guineas will not drink ice cold water or eat enough snow to survive, so it's important that they have a source of drinkable water... a heated bucket, a heated poultry waterer or even a heated dog dish work well. Make sure all cords are damage free and completely fire safe.
If you do not have a coop, and your birds already roost in the trees... more than likely your birds are going to have a rough winter and you may lose some to the cold/wet, and to predators (because they are cold/wet and can't escape), so at the very least I'd bump up the protein and fat levels in their diet and provide them with a heated water source.
Best of luck!