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Are they worth the trouble?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by GoChick, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. GoChick

    GoChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The major reason I'd consider getting guineas would be to get rid of ticks. Do they really do that?? how many would I need for a 3 acre property. I have chickens, and they would have to share the same coop.

    When I was growing up we had guineas, so I know they're funny, but they are also noisy, want to sleep outside on the trees etc. So... are they worth the trouble?

    And if so, should I get only males ( I hear they're less noisy) ?

    thanks!
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Quote:x2! I'd also like to know.......[​IMG]
     
  3. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The major reason I'd consider getting guineas would be to get rid of ticks. Do they really do that?? how many would I need for a 3 acre property.

    That's why I originally got Guineas, and altho it was not instantaneous, mission accomplished! So YES they are effective tick control, but to maintain the perk of their tick controlling abilities, it takes some serious work on your part to maintain a flock of Guineas. For 3 acres... I would keep no less than 6, but more (like 10-12) would be more effective and you'd have a much happier flock.

    I have chickens, and they would have to share the same coop.

    I'm not gonna sugar coat this one, and I am not out to be offensive to you or anyone with this answer, so please don't take it that way, but... Unless it's a really large coop and covered run set-up, everybody gets plenty of free range time, AND you have a plan B at the ready (aka a separate place to put the Guineas) if it doesn't work out... it might not be a good idea (for all those involved... Guineas, chickens and YOU). A lot of new, inexperienced Guinea owners that try to integrate Guineas with their flock of chickens fail at it, either right away or come the following spring/breeding season. Not all breeds of chickens can deal with Guineas and "Guinea energy" (aka Guinea aggression). Many have no problems at all, many have nothing but problems, it all depends on the set up, the temperament of all birds involved, and your poultry routine and experience (plus a few other contributing factors... like patience and tolerance, lol). There's plenty of pros and cons about co-mingled flocks to read about on this forum (and elsewhere), so grab a comfy chair, a cup of coffee and read EVERYTHING you can find about that topic. Guineas are not at all like chickens (other than they all have feathers and beaks, they all roost when they sleep and they can all eat a variety of the basically the same feeds once they mature) and IMO they shouldn't be raised or treated as such. Guineas need 4 sq ft of floor space in the coop PER BIRD, twice that in a covered run for the days they can't be let out to free range, (this is mainly JMO tho, because it is what works for me and has worked for me for years. Overcrowding ALWAYS results in aggression where Guineas are concerned). Guineas are not for everyone, so I'd do a lot of homework on them if I were you prior to buying any. And I do not say that lightly.

    When I was growing up we had guineas, so I know they're funny, but they are also noisy, want to sleep outside on the trees etc. So... are they worth the trouble?

    If you want effective, chemical free, natural tick control and you have the set-up, time, energy and patience for dealing with Guineas and all their personality and behavioral quirks... then yes. Again, this is JMO, I am sure you will get a variety of answers to these questions, lol.

    And if so, should I get only males ( I hear they're less noisy) ?

    Both the males and females tend to scream bloody murder CHI-CHI-CHI-CHI-CHI-CHI-CHI at anything that startles them or even looks sideways at them, but the females pretty much constantly buck-wheat all day long (and sometimes all night) and all year long, lol. They settle down some as they mature, but let me really emphasize the word some.

    Good luck with your reading... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  4. GoChick

    GoChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    PeepsCA, thanks for the detailed answers and comments!
    And no, you were not offensive at all - I thank you for taking the time to answer my newbie questions!

    I actually would have space for them in my chicken coop and run, and would actually have a "Plan B" coop also - so I'll take your advice and get a cup of coffee (or two) and do a lot of reading. If I decide to go ahead and get some, do you think I could start with just three, and see how that goes? I seem to remember they do better in large flocks?

    thanks again!!
     
  5. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They do indeed do better in large flocks, and one other thing to consider is that if you do decide you want more later... it can be difficult and frustrating to successfully integrate newbies into an existing flock. Integrating just 3 Guineas into your chicken flock may work out pretty easily for you tho and they may bond well with your chickens and be perfectly happy and content, especially if you can get keets that are still fairly young this year (like about 6-7 weeks old if possible? They are off heat, fully feathered and pretty low maintenance at that age) and they can be housed side by side with your chickens for around 4-6 weeks... like in a large cage in the coop, or their own section of the coop separated by wire so they can all see each other, but not get to each other. And maybe since you might just want to start with 3.... just get 3 little Hens, so you do not have to deal with the possible breeding season aggression problems? It's usually the males that are the problem, more often than not. Then if all goes smoothly you can eventually integrate a male and let them breed in the spring/summer (he will cover all 3 Guinea Hens if given the choice)... and then you can decide at that point if you want to increase your flock from their hatches or not. IMO, the only major drawback about just starting with 3 is that they'll be much less effective tick control for a while...

    Glad you are gonna do some homework, it shows you care, about the Guineas and your chickens! And I do hope you decide to get some Guineas, with your eyes wide open of course [​IMG]
    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  6. chicken farmer 1997

    chicken farmer 1997 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i got guineas b/c they r good at tick control
     
  7. orientphoenix

    orientphoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    will oriental breeds do fine with guineas? my oriental are kinda big and Dinosaur looking
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  8. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    6 would be good, and we house them with our chickens and turkeys, never had any issues. If you can get some chicks along with a batch of guinea chicks, they seem to flow right into the mix.
     
  9. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I originally got Guineas just for tick and insect control. They have done just that. Before Guineas, we could hardly walk outside without pulling off ticks each and every day. The first summer on our five acres with a flock of twenty Guineas we raised the previous year, we found only one tick the whole summer.
    We have successfully integrated our dual purpose mutt chickens with the guineas by raising the keets and chicks together in the brooder. The Guineas (as adults) fly out of the chicken run and spend the day on bug patrol, then return to the coop at night. The Guineas that chose to roost in the trees got thinned out by the Owls and the survivors learned to appreciate the Coop at night with the chickens. I have raided the guinea nests in the fields and placed the eggs in the incubator, then added chicken eggs 7 days later to get all to hatch together.

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  10. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So far my guineas are doing fine with my chickens most of the time and they all free range on 4 acres.

    HOWEVER, I have not yet gone through the Spring breeding season.

    I have witnessed my 3 male guineas a few times gang up on my Polish rooster and attack him mercilessly.

    I am currently moving to 15 acres so they will all have lots of room to roam.

    As far as the tick problem, we've gone from picking ticks off the dogs daily to only seeing ONE tick after getting guineas.

    I plan to buy a lot more guineas and allowing them more free range.


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