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Guinea hen care

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

i want to get a guinea hen do i need any special things that i dont need with chickens?idunno.gif


Edited by Winter Chicken - 7/4/12 at 6:07pm

I'm an owner of 15 mix bread chickens R.I.P.: Ash, a sex-link

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I'm an owner of 15 mix bread chickens R.I.P.: Ash, a sex-link

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post #2 of 19

Welcome welcome-byc.gif from San Diego...  Just a little bit of info.  They are Guinea Fowl....  The males are Cocks and the females are hens. 

 

Special needs....  it really depends on what you get Keets or adults.  And if you have chickens already.

 

Guinea Keets require different starter feed than Chicks because the grow much faster and are much much more active.  Game bird starter the highest protein you can get is recommended, otherwise they will be growth stunted and may have physical problems later.  I used Purena Startina.  The newly hatched Keets (from a hatchery less than 3 days old) are very tender need a lot of heat in the beginning.  They will be the size of Bantam Chicks.  But by week two they will be able to fly six feet up and able to perch on anything inside your coop. So Brooder cage or box needs to have a lid.

 

Adult Guineas will need to be locked up for at least six weeks so they can acclimate to the routine on your place as well as imprint on where home is.  Guinea Fowl are incredible fliers so don't expect they will stay in the yard when you free range.   My Guineas could fly up to the rocks behind the house and when they heard the feed scoop would come flying from the rocks up over the house to land in the yard.

 

If they were raised with chickens the only thing you need to do is provide them very high perches in the coop.  So there wont be any perch hogging.  I put mine up at about six feet there were a couple of roos that used to roost with the Guineas but for the most part they had the perch to themselves.  Oh and best to set up a second feed station because When the guineas want a spot to eat they will shoo off the chickens.

 

They are not chickens so don't expect them to act like em.  They are funny and silly and sometimes not the brightest bulb in the set.  The most friendliest ones of my guineas will look me in the eye while standing on the perch six inches away but if I make a move to him he will leap off and run away.  they have a very strong self preservation instinct which serves them well when they are out foraging in predator country.

 

My current guineas weren't raised with chickens and now that I have chickens they are very unfriendly toward them.  So I keep my chickens and guineas separate for now.

 

Oh and don't worry about male to female ratio.  In the wild Guineas pair off.  The extra males will form a bachelor flock.  The only time they get into really heavy duty sparing is when mating season starts.  Then there's a lot of running and wings held up high behind their backs and feather pulling.  Once they pair off then everything settles down for the rest of the summer.  With only a few scuffles now and then. 

 

They do better in flocks tend to pick on each other rather than singling out a chicken.  Another thing to note when they find they need to protect the flock they attack as a group.  All of them.  They use wings beaks and claws and intimidation.  A cocky Rooster would not have a chance.   I have seen my previous small flock of five escort a coyote off my property hissing and charging at him the whole way.  He kept looking back with an expression of "That's not Riiight."

 

As adults they eat the same feed, as chickens require the same amount of shelter.  They nest in scrapes in the dirt in the wild and rarely will use a nest box.  If you have some females its a good idea not to allow them to free range till they have laid their eggs.  You don't want them to choose a spot out in the pasture or woods to lay their eggs because they will go broody and become fair game to predators.

 

This I am sharing from my own experience, here in Southern California.  I am sure others will respond and put in their two cents worth, or more.... LOL.

 

deb

deb always learning  I will get it done "After coffee before Spring"

Water management discussion      Coop rebuild 

Regarding the horses in our lives

 

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deb always learning  I will get it done "After coffee before Spring"

Water management discussion      Coop rebuild 

Regarding the horses in our lives

 

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post #3 of 19

Thanks, Deb. I had to post just so I would have your post.

You forgot to add....

You need a sense of humor, alot of patience, and neighbors that really get along with you.

Or at least have poor hearing!

My guineas were always making me laugh and cry at the same time.

No matter how much room I gave them (c'mon, 2 acres?) they wanted more.

And if I couldn't find one, she was up on the roof.

Of anything, from the house, to the shed, and the the car.

And mine were constantly in the street. A few did get killed.

Those birds are silly.

Good luck with them!

Proud member of APA, ABA, ASBC, MCCA, JBBA, LIPS.

Winner, Marans Chicken Club USA Egg contest Jan. 2013 Northeast Poultry Congress. My girls rock!

 

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Proud member of APA, ABA, ASBC, MCCA, JBBA, LIPS.

Winner, Marans Chicken Club USA Egg contest Jan. 2013 Northeast Poultry Congress. My girls rock!

 

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post #4 of 19

We should add about cooping them at night. It's a good idea to do that because guineas are virtually blind at night and if left to free-range overnight, they'll find a tree, perch in it, and be sitting ducks for the nocturnal predators.

 

You can train them to come back to the coop at dusk, and most times, they'll come back on their own and all you have to do is close the door. Sometimes you'd have to "herd" them back to the coop, but that's so much easier than herding chickens. Well, I've never been able to herd chickens - chickens scatter.

 

But a lot of people free-range 24/7 and don't suffer many losses at all. Evaluate your predator situation and make decisions accordingly. My area has few day predators, but nocturnal predators are all over the place.

 

Getting one hen may not be the best idea...get two at a minimum, more is better if you can do it. I had two, though (a male and a female) and against all odds they were just fine. But that's the exception to the rule. But there was nothing special about me or my guineas. They were 7 mos. old when I got them, and free-ranged during the day, cooped at night and the female gave me great, fertile eggs. They had bonded pretty tightly.

post #5 of 19

I LUV my guineas also. thumbsup.gif.  When my keets hatch from the incubator I give them to a broody Silkie Hen and she raises them.  I also Lock mine up at night because of the predators. My guineas and chickens live together in harmony....

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

im getting 4: 2 hens 2 cocksthumbsup.gif

I'm an owner of 15 mix bread chickens R.I.P.: Ash, a sex-link

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I'm an owner of 15 mix bread chickens R.I.P.: Ash, a sex-link

Reply
post #7 of 19

I think that's great.  Two males/ two females should be good. The trick to happy guineas, in my limited experience, is giving them all enough space in the run/coop to go to their corners and feel good about themselves smile.png.

 

Let us all know how it goes!

post #8 of 19

We got our guienas and chickens at the same time; they get along fine.  They are about 4 months old.    We let the whole gang free range during the day and they go back, on their own, to their house about dusk; they really are smart birds...  The gang includes 3 guiena's, 4 barred rocks and 4 autralorps.  They are really fun to watch.... very inquizative....   will come when called..   

post #9 of 19
For those that have raised guineas with chicks from babies...what did you do about feed? Were they in a brooder together? Did you just give the chickens and the guineas the same type of food?
post #10 of 19

Hello everyone, 

I am brand new to the Guinea/Chicken world. We are moving onto 20 ares and will be having horses. We are moving in the next few months so I want to make sure I am prepared. We want Guinea's to help with the ticks. Now I need some advice, do I get adults so they can free range almost right away or do I just go head and get Keets? I'm not sure how fast they grow and would be able to start going outside the coop. I want to make sure I do everything correctly. Any advice would be great! I will have a coop that is connected to an old silo.

Thanks for the help!

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