10 guineas and mixed ages... can I let them out of their cage?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by sunflowerparrot, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. sunflowerparrot

    sunflowerparrot Chillin' With My Peeps

    546
    6
    103
    Jun 1, 2012
    Winfield, KS
    I have the following guineas in a cage together:

    4 that are about 6 weeks old
    3 that are about 4 weeks old
    3 that are about 2 weeks old

    They've lived together in large rabbit hutch since I've gotten them. I am planning on moving them all to a little chicken coop where they'll reside together without chickens. I was going to keep them in there for about 10 days... then just let them all out to come and go as they please.

    My oldest 4 will be about 8 weeks at that time... I'm not too worried about the rest because I'm thinking they'll stay together in a flock... is that correct? Can I let them roam free in about 2 more weeks? They'll always have access to the little coop that I'll be keeping them in for the next 10 days. (My chickens are moving into the big coop and will not be sharing the smaller coop with the guineas)
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,732
    179
    243
    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Chances are that predators will pick them off one by one, or you may even lose them quicker than that, as in several gone in one night, several the next. Young keets raised in a hutch don't know how to roost up high yet, or even try to escape predators and they will not acclimate to going into a new coop to roost at night after just 10 days, it typically takes weeks (up to 6 wks in most cases) for Guineas to imprint on a new home and reliably return to it each night (and that is after some conditioning/training on your part)... they may instead try to go back to the hutch and then not know what to do when they can't get up in it. Also Keets may look fully feathered as early as a few weeks old, but they are not fully feathered and able to regulate their own body temps until they are 6 weeks old, IF they have been raised on high protein starter feed (even longer than that if they have been raised on lower protein chick starter)... with the night time temps dropping quickly they will get chilled, become weak/lethargic and be super easy prey for any predator that has access to the area the birds are kept. It's not likely the younger/smaller keets will be smart enough to seek out the other keets for warmth. So unless your property is 100% predator proof and they have a heat source available, IMO they are all better off being raised in a predator safe and sheltered coop/run until they are ALL at least 10-12 wks old.
     
  3. sunflowerparrot

    sunflowerparrot Chillin' With My Peeps

    546
    6
    103
    Jun 1, 2012
    Winfield, KS
    Thank you so much for this information. I am going to move them all to the little growout coop this coming weekend. I do not have a roost in there at this time, but can easily put on in there for them. I will definitely take your advice and wait a good 4-6 weeks before allowing them to be free out of their new home. I do have an LGD, but she is just a puppy at this time and is locked her at night herself to keep her safe from predators. I live on 27 acres in south-central KS and we have bobcat, coyotes, and other typical predators.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by