Free Ranging Guineas

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Eclipse390, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. Eclipse390

    Eclipse390 In the Brooder

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    Hey all -
    I have a SEVERE tick issue, I mean bad. I want to add guineas to my property - but do not want to build them a separate shelter. I live in a wooded area, would they be okay on their own roosting in trees?
     
  2. ctc084

    ctc084 In the Brooder

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    They'll roost in trees. They'll also get killed by foxes, strays or whatever else might find a tasty sleeping treat.
     
  3. Hotcookie

    Hotcookie Chirping

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    No, they would not be okay roosting in the trees. And unless you actually train them, by building a proper coop and keeping them enclosed for a minimum of 8 weeks - they will be off to the races as soon as you get them.

    Your tick problem can get solved by guineas, but only if you are able to keep them alive on your property.



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  4. Eclipse390

    Eclipse390 In the Brooder

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    Jul 13, 2015
    Hudson Valley, NY

    I asked because many people I work with have done it with success but I was looking for more input. We have no fox or coyote as there is a 4 lane highway that backs my property and a main road to my front. The most we get is a rough coon before it gets hit by a car.



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  5. Hotcookie

    Hotcookie Chirping

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    People are constantly asking on this forum what they did wrong with their guineas.....why did they fly away......why did they get killed.....why is their flock now down to 2 when they started with a dozen.......and the answer is always the same - because the owners would not spend the time to properly train the birds. I was just trying to explain what a bad idea letting them roost outside at night really is.

    I doubt very much how much success your neighbors have had with leaving their guineas outside to fend for themselves. Even though you may not see them, if your property is wooded, you will have fox, coons, and owls hunting for an easy meal at night. By not cooping your flock at night, you are just inviting trouble.

    The longevity of your flock depends on you - whether you want them to flourish and be happy - or be a predator's meal ticket. Why go to the time and expense of buying and raising guineas if you don't want to be bothered with them? You wouldn't leave your chickens or dogs outside all night, so you shouldn't leave your guineas either.


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  6. PinkyLee

    PinkyLee Chirping

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    Get the birds, keep them contained so they get an idea where they should roost, feed them some treats when you see them and let them flourish in your yard, a few might get picked off by predators but when Spring comes you might see some wild chicks running around. Remember these are not domestic "Pets" you're getting for tick control.... don't name 'em. I keep mine cooped/penned up till Spring, I have 3 birds of prey circling my coop right now, they won't be there come Spring.



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  7. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    If you see coons in the area then the guineas will be prey for them and other predators. In my area we have a potpourri of predators. So what one of my neighbors does is usher her guineas into a section of her garage at night. If you have a garage with space to house guineas then that may be a workable solution.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015
  8. tomingreeneco

    tomingreeneco Songster

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    I do not know why anyone would go through the trouble of getting keets, raising them to be old enough to go outside and then send them off to be killed? This may sound harsh but that is what will happen if you “just” let them live in the woods. Guineas are almost blind at night and they will get picked off by raccoons, owls, coyotes, fox, stray cats, dogs etc. Raccoons are everywhere and even if you have never seen a coyote they are there (they are even in suburban areas). You can read many posts in this forum about people who let the birds live in the woods and eventually they all disappear. I have 45 guineas and they all go into a coop at night. It is very easy to train them to do this. I only lost 1 bird this year (she went broody on a nest we could not find). They have eliminated all the ticks, stink bugs, Japanese beetles and other insects in the yard and garden. They tell me when a strange car comes up the driveway, when a predator comes in the yard or a hawk is flying overhead. And they amuse me! With all the positives that they provide why would anyone want to loose any of them? So if you do not mind them disappearing in 6 months or so by all means let them go off to live in the woods. But if you want to enjoy them for years to come, train them to go into a coop.
     
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  9. Woofless

    Woofless Chirping

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    Unfortunately it is true that guineas would not last long if allowed to be totally "free range" night and day, year-round. They indeed will run off if not conditioned to where "home" is (done by keeping them penned for at least 8 weeks before releasing them) and without some sort of shelter they are pretty easy prey for predators. In the spring and summer when the trees have all their leaves, they *might* fare slightly better in terms of not getting eaten by things at night, as they have cover- however, come fall & winter when the trees go bare, any roosting guineas would be like big juicy apples waiting to be eaten. Owls will surely eat guineas and even domestic cats can be a problem. Predators are everywhere :)

    So a pen of some sort does seem to be a necessity if you want your guineas to be a long-term addition to the property (and if you want to see a real, noticeable decline in your tick problem you will likely need to have them for more than one season- each year we've had guineas we've seen the tick season get less & less severe).

    You still might want to check out the section on here that deals with coop building ideas/designs, etc. There is an AMAZING assortment of ideas people have come up with for building great pens and coops for anybody's needs or preferences, from the inexpensive and simple to the kind of luxury I'd like to have in my own house, lol. I've seen easy-build coops made from a 9x9 portable tool shed that costs about $500 new but so easy to assemble I think my grandma could get it done with a butter knife and a hammer. Or the $100 movable tractor pens made from a junkyard truck topper, chicken wire and a couple PVC pipes. And if you can find wooden pallets it seems the possibilities are endless for about $5 a pallet, lol. Heck I once found an old junk camper trailer that was un-livable for people but it had functional tires & was insulated and watertight- the owner was selling it for just $50 and it would have been a PERFECT chicken coop with just a little interior clean-up, some nest boxes and a coat of exterior paint so I didn't look like a hillbilly, lol. I just didn't have the means to tow it 100 miles to get it home, at the time. Basically, I'd suggest if you want guineas and don't have a ton of money/time/building skills/etc to invest in constructing an enclosure, don't give up hope- I can almost bet you can find an idea that would work for your situation. There was a time when I thought poultry keeping might be too much to take on, because I assumed the housing costs would be way out of my reach....this forum and other online resources have proven me wrong tons of times (and given me a lot of amazing ideas!)
     
  10. HappyWifeFarm

    HappyWifeFarm Hatching

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    New here, and I've never had birds before. We just bought a 35 acre property out in the country. I know I want chickens, but I'm thinking that guineas would be great on my property. We have about 100 pecan trees, so crows are a huge problem for us. We've been told that guineas will scare them off. We also have a ton of ticks, spiders, and other creepy bugs I could do without. I'm learning a lot reading through these forums - thanks! I know I will put them up at night into a coop of some sort. My question is about them ranging during the day...will they stay on my property? How far do they typically wander once they know where home is? Can you train them any way to range in certain areas, or could they end up hanging out on my front porch? My property is roughly 17 acres pecan orchard, a 3 acre pond, and 15 acres of pine woods. The woods is in the back of the property and it backs up to more woods that's hunted on. I'm just trying to figure out if I need more than just a coop, or need to do something else.

    Also...from what I'm reading, looks like I probably won't be able to get any keets until Spring? Is that accurate?

    Thanks for indulging a newbie...
     

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