Adult Guinea Hens Will Not go into coop

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by helendrums, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. helendrums

    helendrums New Egg

    May 26, 2011
    I am now the owner of 6 Guinea hens that are adults. My intention is that once they get settled in and know where their new home is, I will let them free range and in the perfect world they will come back each evening to the coop to roost with my chickens. They are in a 10 ft. by 12ft. run and seem to be quite happy. I am the one NOT happy. The guineas will not go into the chicken house door that my hens use to roost and settle in. These guys have stayed out all 3 nights since they have arrived. I have tried to herd them in, and this has failed sadly. My concerns are that if I give them a perch in the run, they will never go into the house, and they will freeze in my New England winters. Plus to make matters worst, last evening one slipped out the door of the run, this hen is hanging around on the outside. Should I just be expecting too much too soon? The door is 10" x 14" or so, the chickens have never had any problem with fitting in or out. During the day, my husband says he saw them going into the coop. Why won't they go in at night???

    Any Guinea Hen Owners out there, I sure could use some advice. Thank you so much for any feed back.
  2. Sandshaven

    Sandshaven Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 6, 2013
    Mercer, PA
    My Coop
    Maybe they go in during the day cause it is light in there. Does your coop have natural lighting during the day? Do you have a light on at night? If it is dark in there they will never go in.
  3. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Guineas do take a while to get acclimated when re-homed, so I would not stress too much about it yet. You will need to put a little more effort into conditioning them to go into the coop each night tho. Guineas usually always prefer to be outdoors in all kinds of weather, if they have a choice, but I agree... even tho they are generally pretty hearty birds they may freeze their tails off this winter if they don't start a routine of roosting in the coop at night. They also like to roost up high, does your coop have high roosts? Is it possible to take down whatever they are roosting on out in the pen for a while, or are they just sleeping on the ground?

    Guineas hate new changes, and they just don't know the coop is "home" yet. They can also be leery of small doors, is there a bigger door you can open to be able to herd them in? Can anyone help you herd them in? Move slow, and just keep moving them fwd, until they go in thru the door. Some people use 2 long poles, or PVC pipe as "herding sticks". Use them as extensions of your arms to move them fwd and going in the direction you want them to go, and again, move slow and be sure to stay calm. You always want to get them in before it gets dark tho, as SandShaven mentioned they won't want to go in if the coop is dark. You'll have to continue to get them in each night for a while, and establish a nightly coop-up routine for them instead of letting them roost in the run. Guineas like routine, but if you don't establish one for them...they WILL establish their own (as you already know). Also, once you get them in, you will need to close that small door. They need to learn roosting anywhere BUT the coop is not an option.

    If herding them in is not an option for you then what I would do is remove the feeder during the day for a while, and then only feed them in the evenings in the coop, before it gets dark. It may not make your chickens too happy for a while, but eventually the Guineas should cooperate and you can put food out free choice again (if that is your normal feeding routine). Guineas learn by repetition, and reward and are normally very food motivated. Once they hear feed being poured into the feeder or into a feed pan they should come running. If they do, as soon as they all come in for feed, shut the small door. You could try giving them treats instead of removing the feeder, but if they've been coming and going in and out all day eating when they want, they may not be too motivated to come in for any type of treats.

    Whatever way you figure out how to get them in you'll need to continue doing it for a while until they learn they must go in at night. No ifs ands or buts about it. You want to establish a coop-up routine with them, and have them asociate going in and getting a treat or food, then roosting for the night.

    You can also go out and physically them at night in the dark and put them in the coop one by one (they are blind in the dark and you can usually grab them off the roost fairly easy, just be ready for a struggle), but they will need some sort of dim lighting inside the coop to be able to see to get up on the roosts once you have them in. They may come shooting right back out if the chicken door is left open so be sure to shut it.

    Good luck, and don't give up yet it's only been a few days.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  4. btrbeana

    btrbeana Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 12, 2013
    Paris, Texas
    Hey all! I have 5 that went to their enclosure every night without issue. Now for the last 2 days in a row I find them out in the middle if the field all hunkered down. These dopes aren't even hopping up in a tree. We had to corall them in the dark. Didn't seem to want to go in. They keep heading to the chickens coop and they haven't been there since they were keets. Sidenote to that, ALL my birds sleep outside. There is a light on in the coop, but they pack the perches in the enclosed attached run. They are perfectly safe, but it bugs me. Both flocks are all over the map. I'm about to leave guineas in their run for a week and see how that goes, and I'm going to pull all the roosts out in the run so they will HAVE to go inside to find a bed! Maybe the weather is just too nice!
  5. mooneeks77

    mooneeks77 New Egg

    Apr 19, 2014
    Vancouver, Washington
    I agree that it does take guineas a few days to establish a routine, and they are VERY motivated by food. The first few nights they were in their new coop they would hang out in their yard until we had to physically pick them up and put them in the coop. That was about 2 weeks ago, now we have a routine where I go in and feed and water them and they come running. We have our guineas in the coop with our 5 chickens, 4 hens and 1 rooster. We just got the rooster about a week ago, but it is funny the guineas are following his lead when it is time to go in for the night. When the rooster is ready for bed he will head in and "check things out" then come out and wait until all of his girls have gone in for the night then he will head back up the ramp himself. Once the rooster is in the 3 guineas will follow. It is funny because as once the last guinea is at the top of the ramp he will turn back around and squack as if to say "good night all, we are off to bed" and then he walks into the coop. Funny little birds.
  6. the foot

    the foot Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2012
    Trust me you won't figure guineas out. They are wild, first of all. And also they are not the smartest animal God made. A chicken is domesticated livestock, but a guinea is not. I just try to protect my guineas by keeping my property clear of predators. Guineas will roost in a tree, roost on the ground out in the open, and roost in places I can't imagine.

    If you feed them something they enjoy eating, they are your friend for guinea life.

    But I love my guineas; they lay good eggs, they eat insect pests like there's no tomorrow, they always come when I call, and when they get used to you they are very good company. The fact that they are fairly stupid and undomesticated is not a problem to me.

    Love my guinea fowl.

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