Dividing Guineas into Smaller Flocks; some w/ the chickens, others on their own ...Q

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by cowcreekgeek, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Songster

    Sep 14, 2012
    Hurricane, WV
    By approaching this issue, I've found that it raises many ...

    Guineas and Chickens were raised together, with only a few problematic personalities (for the most part, no longer an issue). Our farm is about as good as it gets for nature, which makes predation a high probability. We have a high number of hawks seen throughout nearly every day, bobcats and fox that are seen once in a while before sundown, and many coyotes and different owls seen or heard about every other night.

    The plan was to keep the chickens and some guineas in one or two heavily protected flocks, and other guineas in one or two additional free-ranged flocks, housed in modified igloo-type dog houses, elevated in a manner that cannot be climbed.

    1st Q: Would a hawk or an owl be likely to enter the opening, or do raptors only hunt where they can fly down 'n snatch?

    2nd Q: I have a few Pied Pearl Greys, and three very light-colored guineas. How much more likely are they to be eaten?

    There are some that are much easier to handle than others, and have a much calmer/quieter nature ... I was sorta hopin' to keep those w/ the chickens. And, as I divided them this evening, it became obvious that some of 'em felt the same as I do, pacing back 'n forth 'til well into the night. The dominant male is more upset by the removal of chickens than he is w/ the handling of his hens. After moving him over, subordinates made their first male calls (maybe they were afraid to, 'til they knew he wasn't w/in reach of 'em).

    3rd/4th Q: How far apart must two flocks be in order to remain independent of one another? If I placed two house closer together, would they be likely to divide into two flocks all on their own, or would they simply form one larger flock?

    I can think of a few more Q's, but I'll save 'em 'til after you've fallen into my trap ~;-)

  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    BFE, CA
    CCG, I won't sugar coat my answers for ya (or fall into your trap, lol)... but just to clarify I don't meant to offend you or anyone else that reads this thread with my reply. I'm just keepin' it short, real, and to the point.

    Never underestimate any predator, on the ground or in air. If they are hungry and your birds are not locked up safe and snug, chances are you will lose birds. Bobcats can jump and coons climb. And even Hawks are opportunists, they will do what they have to for a meal.

    In my experience trying to relocate birds to an elevated coop that they have not been raised in from the start is nothing but a constant hassle... catching and picking up birds every night, putting them in the correct coop. Guineas do like to roost up high, but not in small enclosed spaces. They prefer spacious ground level coops, with high perches/roosts in them... or the trees.

    In heavy predator loaded areas the light colored birds are most definitely the first to go, but the predators will keep coming back for a free meal as long as they can... you can consider the light colored birds as just the appetizers.

    Guineas are flock birds, and they prefer to be with larger numbers of birds. Most likely the smaller flocks you divide up will re-merge... and most likely it will be with the chickens/at the coop they were raised in. No matter where your coops are on 50 acres... they will find their original home if it is still standing.

    Guineas that seem tame now may turn into Tazmanian Chicken Whomping Cranky Devils come Springtime when their hormones are raging. Enjoy the tameness while it lasts.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  3. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Songster

    Sep 14, 2012
    Hurricane, WV
    And, therein lies the harsh reality that raises my next Q: What was I thinkin' here?

    Folks can call me a lot of things (and, I'm sure some of 'em do ~'-) but inflexible ain't one of 'em ... salvage what I can from my efforts, and come up w/ new 'n different plans.

    One thing I'm still gonna try, while they're still juveniles and I can use winter's cold to my advantage, is putting two igloos on opposite sides of a common area, but too high for chickens to reach, and with a lower 'launching platform' of sorts in between 'em that chickens and guineas can all easily get to. Probably just another exercise in futility, but it might be fun to see if they'd develop any preference out of what will initially be three choices.

    I have learned already just how badly things can go, when any chicken consistently pushes the guineas around -- had one EE chicken that'd gently poke each eye of every guinea it found itself face to face w/ and, although they'd normally drop their heads and go 'round? She apparently pecked one too many times ... found her dead, with one single hole. I shoulda move her, along w/ a few others w/ odd behaviors I don't wish to see (two that habitually peck objects relentlessly, and one that prefers constantly pacing fences over eating at times), but I've a low tolerance for bullies. I can't say, "It's a shame she's gone," w/o a slighly evil smirk, yet I'm mindful of the guinea that killed her ... wouldn't wanna let it decide who stays, and who goes.

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