Free Range Guineas?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Lilorp14, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. Lilorp14

    Lilorp14 Songster

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    (Asking for a friend :D)
    So, a friend of mine has a 10 acre Apple orchard, and they're having a really hard time controlling ticks. They're considering Guineas, but they have a few questions about them.
    1. Is it possible to just let a flock go in the orchard and be done? Or would they need food,water, and shelter supplied?
    2. I know they're pretty stupid, so population control wouldn't be a big issue. Do they go broody enough to break even population-wise?
    3. Are the Roosters mean or territorial? It's a U-pick, so having an attack-guinea isn't an option.
    4. Could they make it through snow/wind/rain? I know they're an African breed, but I think someone told me once that they are pretty cold-hearty. I don't know if this is true though....

    TIA! :)
     
  2. A_Fowl_Guy

    A_Fowl_Guy Wildlife Biologist

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    I let mine free range my property. I know I’ll lose some to predators but mine nest in trees. I let them do what they do in Africa and roam. They have a water source and plenty of grass and bugs to eat.
     
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  3. Lilorp14

    Lilorp14 Songster

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    Do they brood their own chicks and make it through winter ok?
     
  4. chickend 004.JPG Guineas roosting in trees with no coop in my experience means pretty soon you have no guineas.
    They will be taken at night by owls, or racoons. I have lost plenty that way.
    Yes, they are fantastic tick control. They are also LOUD and can become aggresive when they have keets. I would not expect them to be able to prduce young and replace the ones lost to predation. I find them to be horrible mothers. Of course the african plain does not have thick dew covered grass that chills the keets and gets them lost when they cant keep up with mom.
    No, they need a secure coop, feed and fresh water. Just like a flock of chickens.
     
  5. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    Your guineas may roost in trees but they definitely do not nest in trees. Guineas make their nest on the ground.
     
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  6. Lilorp14

    Lilorp14 Songster

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    I think that's what they meant.
     
  7. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    There is a definite difference between nesting and roosting. This is not the first time someone has made the claim that guineas nest in trees.
     
  8. A_Fowl_Guy

    A_Fowl_Guy Wildlife Biologist

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    I did mean roost. My mistake
     
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  9. X
    Another question. Is this apple orchard sprayed? Whatever chemicals used might determine if guineas should be placed there. If its an organic orchard it may work.
    If your friend builds a coop, buys keets, raises them in that coop, maybe this is a good plan for tick control.
    It would be important that the guineas return to the coop at night to roost safely. I say start with keets because adult guineas tend to wander and may not recognize a new place as home for some time. I was given a flock of adults once, and after a month in the run i let them out with the chickens and 6 went walk about. Last seen 2 miles from my house. Never seen again. Probably went to roosting in trees and picked off one by one.
     
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  10. Like i said before, if they have keets, the whole flock can become very protective, with reason! I have had free ranging guineas for years, and when ever people come here they are always a source of entertainment and wonder to people who know nothing about them. I have a yard sale on my front lawn every year or two and people are very crurious about them, taking pictures, asking me if they can keep stray feathers they find, and asking alot of questions like; What kind of chicken is that? Or Is that a pairie chicken? Or they will hear the guinea before they see them and look a little allarmed or concerned about what is making the noise.
    So i see this as a plus for your friends u pick orchard, providing the flock does not have young keets.
    I had one female guiney hatch a clutch of keets once, and the entire flock became serigate parents, ultra loud and on edge. We have a stand of blue spruce and one day the guineas were making ear spliting noise, and when we looked out there was a coyote facing off with the flock. He would step twards them and they would move away but not run (keets somewhere close). The coyote was laying his ears back in a way that dogs do when a noise bothers them and he would then back up. So back and forth they went, meanwhile giving my husband time to grab the rifle and dispatch him.
     
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