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For Those Who Raise Guineas

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by MissPrissy, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I have a few questions. I have never raised guineas and have 6 that are around 6 weeks old to the best of my knowledge.

    I have been unable to find a feed locally that is more than 22% protein that is unmedicated. (I can find 30% protein medicated feeds but I do NOT want to medicate any of my bird. I feel they need to develope a good immune system the natural way.)

    Since I am concerned they may not be getting enough protein in their diet I have been supplementing their diet every other day with boiled eggs and yogurt and the other days a small can of wet cat food. This can lead to a bit of expense but right now it is about $5 a week plus a mixture of game bird feed and turkey grower(24% protein).

    [​IMG]

    Am I doing the right thing for these birds? They seem so much more active and alert in the last few days. They aren't so skittish now. They won't let us hold them without a giant fuss but they do come sit at the door of their coop and watch us as we clean their waterers and fill up their feeder.

    [​IMG]

    When they are a little older we plan to let them free range hoping they will remember where their roost is and come home at night. I know when they are able to free range they will eat bugs and insects therefore increasing their own protein intake.

    I guess I am just a worrywort about making sure they have the best life we can give them.

    Now another subject [​IMG]

    I have eated guinea before and I must say it was some of the BEST meat I have ever eaten. Do any of you raise guineas as meat birds? I know many people keep them as "watch dogs" and pets but generally if you raise guineas what are you raising them - pets or gourmet dinner?

    I have never eaten a guinea egg but I do know turkey and duck eggs are similar to chicken eggs. Are the guinea eggs the same? Are they a delicacy?

    Where is the best place to aquire knowledge of these birds?

    Thanks in advance to all who answer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2007
  2. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

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    I am raising some guineas now too, about the same age as yours. I am raising 7 (4 Whites, 3 lavendars) and they are going on 6 weeks old. I put them in the coop with the chickens when they were about 3 weeks old, left them locked in for a week, then let them out into the yard to range with our flock. They disappeared once and I thought they were gone forever, but they came back to the coop that evening. The stay mostly in the yard now, or in the trees, but they know the food is in the coop and because they know the chickens, they kinda follow them around and learn from them. Here's a pic of my guines in the yard:

    [​IMG]

    Anywho, I also do not feed medicated feeds to any of our critters, for the same reason you stated. I also feed Organic feeds and they free range (not PENNED) my yard all day, every day. Everyone does. The goats, geese, ducks, chicks, chickens, turkeys, and guineas. I think you are doing just fine by them as far as protein goes, but you may be slightly over-doing it, as the dairy might upset their tummy if they get too much too often. Maybe you could set some bug traps and feed them some bugs a few times a week to add protein until you are ready to let them out? Or, maybe you could buy some meal worms, wax worms, or crickets (the teeny tiny ones) from a bait shop? They'd love you for it!

    I don't handle mine much at all because I want them to be "wild" and watchful in our yard. That, and the few we have that WERE friendly as babies were the ones that died. [​IMG] (We'd started with 10) So, we learned that critters like turkeys and game birds seem to thrive best when left pretty much alone.

    We do plan to process a few of them (3 or 4?) to add to our freezer, but we are keeping the others for bug control and watch-birds. I don't consider them my "pets" because I can't handle them, but they are neat to have and I do want to keep a few of them. They add a certain something to the flock. I've never tried guinea before, but I'm game to try anything that I've raised with my own hands and know its not all pumped full of chemicals and hormones. We'll also be processing our 2 turkeys, and 2 of our geese and 2 of our ducks to add to our ever-growing amount of Cornish chickens, so we'll have a nice assortment in our freezer come fall. I've never had a guinea egg either, but I dont think they're a delicacy, though I could be wrong. I think they are very much like a chicken egg, only a quarter of the size.
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    I have really poured on the protein because these birds where in such aweful conditions when we got them. The guy had 40 or 50 in a pen about 3 x5 with just a pan of black water. We saw no food, no bedding, no roosts. Nothing but a hard packed dirt floor. The place stank to high heaven.

    We feel like while the guy thought the birds were in excellent shape that we were rescuing them. I wish I had taken photos with my phone. So many birds of all different ages in tiny little runs. It was disgusting.

    We leave mixed feeds, grains and alternate protein sources in their coop. I refill every day topping off from what they have eaten. For the first 2 to 3 days they constantly ate. The eating is now slacking off and 2 gallons of water lasts about 2 days. (I scrub and refill all the waterers every other day). With such hot weather we are also putting in ice.

    These birds had fleas and mites. Which we treated them for. It has only been the last day or so that the stench has begun to leave them.

    I just don't want to see these birds suffer any longer. I am trying to jump start their previous lack of good nutrition. They are much smaller than my 5 week old pullets. But we can see they are larger now in just one week of good food. At six weeks of age we thought they really should be larger than they are.

    I figure another week or two in their coop (which is 6x8 with 12 foot (sloping to 8ft) ceilings plus a run) to get a little more size on them and to make sure they understand that this place is now home and this is where food and water is - then I will turn them out to free range.

    Thanks so much for answering. [​IMG]
     
  4. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:UGH! What is with people! Thank goodness some of use owners are sane!
     
  5. snugglepup

    snugglepup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guineas start out a lot smaller than baby chicks, so you really can't compare sizes. My keets are generally smaller than chicks of the same age, but then the adult guineas tend to finish smaller/lighter than my adult chickens, but they look bigger because of their feathers.

    I have raised guinea keets on plain chick starter, game bird starter, and turkey starter. Proteins ranged from 19% to 30%, and honestly they have all done just fine. So I wouldn't worry too much.

    I have never eaten any of my guineas, but I do find the idea interesting. We do eat their eggs when we can find them. They are pretty small, but very tasty!

    I would keep them shut up for several more weeks, then let out just a couple at a time, leaving the rest in the run. The guineas that are out won't want to leave the group that is in the run, so will be more likely to stay close by.

    Try www.guineafowl.com for information about guineas. They have a message board too... though no where near as nice as this one! [​IMG]
     
  6. mommahento5

    mommahento5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just wanted to add that guinea eggs are just fine to use. As my chickens are not laying yet, I buy fresh eggs from a friend who has both chickens and guineas. Every once in a while she throws in 5 or 6 guines eggs and we use them like any other egg. They just have a very hard shell! You really gotta crack it good. Also, there is not much white, it is almost entirely yolk.
     
  7. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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