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Gonna be getting a few keets.....gotta few questions!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by 4H kids and mom, May 21, 2007.

  1. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

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    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    I've never kept, nor been around guineas (keets), but we could deffinately benefit from them now. We will have a large tick issue this summer, and the keets could deffinately cure that for us, as well as helping watch for hawks, and other predators, thus keeping everyone safe.

    I've done some research and know the basics of brooding are nearly identical to chicks, though you feed them a gamebird or turkey type starter instead. I'm just looking for other advice anyone here with them might be able to offer.

    I know that I have to train them where "home" is or they'll fly away and never come back! I'm excited to get a few not only for me but because my DH's folks are interested in a few for their cabin up north. Of course, they know nothing about brooding, so I would be doing that for them and then they'd take them once they were older.

    Ok, here's a few questions I have right now.

    1) We plan to let them range our yard with the goats and chickens, and I know they will adore the large trees we have. I understand they can share the coop at night with the chickens. How then does the feeding work? Will the gamebird feed effect the chickens (layers and a few roosters), or do I somehow put it where the keets can get it but the chickens can't?

    2) We live in southern Wisconsin, where we get VERY cold winters, and tons of snow. What do I do with them then? Can they stay "cooped up" with the chickens for the winter, or should I let them out if they want out?

    3) Eggs. I read that they (their eggs) are good to eat, and that it takes 2 of them to equal a normal chicken egg. I know its a silly question, but do they taste the same? What do they look like? Do people buy them like they do chicken eggs?

    4) How many. As in, how many or few should I get? And do I want males or females? Do I want a mix? Should their be a ratio of girls to boys like with chickens? Or do I want all of one sex if I don't intend to breed them like with goats?

    5) Are they hardy? Or will I inevitably loose a few during brooding? (They will be picked up, not shipped which is one bonus.) Should I plan to get a few more than I want to end up with?


    I think thats it for now. The feed store has some coming in this Wednesday. They only get them in once or twice a year, so IF I get them it will be this week. I'm really looking at them mainly for bug control and flock protection. Plus, they're kinda "odd" looking, and not something people would see everyday, which is kinda what I'm going for with the kids here, who are mostly city kids and never ever saw a chicken before!

    Please let me know if this is going to be feasable for me to do. And I appologize for all the dumb questions. I ordered the book "Gardening with Guineas" online and its being overnighted, but I thought I'd ask around here while I wait...lol [​IMG]
     
  2. chicks rule

    chicks rule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2007
    SW MO
  3. cgjsmith

    cgjsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2007
    tennessee
    I am by no means a guinea expert in fact we just got some keets a week ago (but they were older) but from what i have read...
    I would make them there own roost thats higher then the chickens. in the chicken coop. I have been told that they can have scratch or whatever once they get old enough to go forging. I was just going to let our guineas stay in with the chickens through winter. as for the eggs never ate any [​IMG] but they are smaller (like half) and have a wide bottom and pointy top. I think Robin would be better at answering your posts though:) Crystal
     
  4. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    I can answer some of your questions (just my experience )

    1. Yes they can share your coop with your chickens....will they want to..probably not. They prefer to roost high in trees.
    We had 3 that were about 15 years old & they decided to start roosting in the hen house. DH said he had never seen them do that before in his life.
    The game bird feed will not hurt your chickens, it will help with fertility of your eggs. If your hens prefer it to their laying feed, you might see a decline in amount of eggs.

    2. I live in Texas, so I don't know if you can keep them cooped up with the chickens. Ours chased & pecked at the chickens if I didnt get outside early enough to let them out everyday.

    3. We never found any eggs, they flew out of the run every morning & flew back in at dusk. They are masters at hiding nests. DH said the eggs are good, have a much harder shell, harder to crack open.

    4. The amount depends on how much you like the noise, and how much land they will have to roam. Mine cover our entire 17 acres. We have 11 free ranging now, and none of them go into the chicken coop.
    The standard ratio is 1 rooster to 3 hens. (We don't ever follow standards...[​IMG] )

    5. They are pretty much like chickens, under the right conditions they are very hardy youngsters.

    Just want to add: Make sure you brood them where they can't escape. Mine got out once...they do not stick around like chicks & peep to get back it. THEY LEAVE!!!!! (they were about a week old)
    Our neighbor kids caught one that had gone to their house & brought it back. They are quick little buggers...and they just scattered. We hatched 48 of them & couldn't find 12 of them when they got out. Never did find them.
    We could hear them, but couldn't catch them. They wouldn't come to feed, wouldn't even come to the sound of the other keets.
    I kept the ones we intended to keep, penned until they were about 2 1/2 months old before turning them out. These stayed around, but never went back into the coop to roost.

    This is just my experience, others may have different experiences with guineas.

    Jean
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2007
  5. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    974
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    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Thank you for all the info! And thats what I am looking for is peoples experiences with having them, so that is all good to know stuff. [​IMG]

    I am looking at getting 4-6 of them. They are straight run, so I'll have no idea what I have until they start making their noises, right? I have read that males do the 'Ka ka ka' type call and the females do the 'Buck Wheat' type call, is this true? Does anyone know a link to good recordings I can listen to? As far as breeds, they will be Pearls, Lavenders, Purples, and Whites. I'd love to get one or two of each! lol

    I'm leaning towards 6 just so I'll have a better chance at getting 3 hens out of the deal. [​IMG] Then I'll have a couple roos to home. Are guinea roos easy to rehome? I hear they always come back to their "home". Wont they then just return to me if I rehome them? I hear that it is POSSIBLE to train them, but not always...is that true?

    I'd like to end up with 4, three hens and one roo. Don't know if that will happen though! If you have all roos, would they fight like chickens?

    Would it be better to let them just roost in the trees at night, or that just asking for trouble? They look like they get a little bigger than standard chickens, is that right?

    Anything else anyone could tell me about them, or first hand experiences raising/brooding them would be helpful!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2007
  6. cheepchicks

    cheepchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2007
    Indiana
    I have 6 guineas and 15 eggs I am trying to hatch...my hens won't sit on their eggs. I have heard that guineas mate for life. They are also monogamous. Anyway I love my Guineas they are every bit as entertaining as a chicken and 90% of their diet if left to forage is insects !

    here is a link that I think is interesting

    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/Guineas/GuinHeadleySept03.html
     
  7. backyard redneck

    backyard redneck Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2007
  8. seedcorn

    seedcorn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    NE. IN
    Guinneas HATE snow. Will not go near it. They will break up any rooster fights or matings going on. They are noisy and if you have a sun deck will take personnal residence there crapping on everything they can. Plus they will sing? to their hearts content in early AM. (They seemed to enjoy singing outside our bedroom at sunrise, not real thrilled about that.)

    They are good insect eaters, they taste good, and you will know if anything different comes w/in a 100 yards of them (or they suspect it might be different). Enjoyed them several years but glad they are gone.
     
  9. kingsdaughter

    kingsdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2007
    California
    1) We plan to let them range our yard with the goats and chickens, and I know they will adore the large trees we have. I understand they can share the coop at night with the chickens. How then does the feeding work? Will the gamebird feed effect the chickens (layers and a few roosters), or do I somehow put it where the keets can get it but the chickens can't?

    I found that they smell really bad when you feed the gamebird feed. Chick starter works just fine and the only difference is that it will take the Guineas just a wee bit longer to reach their full size.

    2) We live in southern Wisconsin, where we get VERY cold winters, and tons of snow. What do I do with them then? Can they stay "cooped up" with the chickens for the winter, or should I let them out if they want out?

    After the first snow they will take a while to get used to it, but soon they will be out running around as usuall.


    3) Eggs. I read that they (their eggs) are good to eat, and that it takes 2 of them to equal a normal chicken egg. I know its a silly question, but do they taste the same? What do they look like? Do people buy them like they do chicken eggs?

    The eggs are usually bakers, but you might get used to the taste. Probably not very marketable. They will lay on the ground not the nest boxes so if you lean a board against the wall or have some kind of private area for them you will get some eggs.


    How many. As in, how many or few should I get? And do I want males or females? Do I want a mix? Should their be a ratio of girls to boys like with chickens? Or do I want all of one sex if I don't intend to breed them like with goats?

    I think you can only geyt straight run. The boys are quieter than the girls but there will be lots of noise the first year, then they start to quiet down. I dont think breeding will be a problem. If they sit on a nest in the woods or something. Either a predator will get them or the keets will die from the dew on the grass. How many you get depends on how much land you have. I only have 5 acers and I have 5.

    5) Are they hardy? Or will I inevitably loose a few during brooding? (They will be picked up, not shipped which is one bonus.) Should I plan to get a few more than I want to end up with?

    Yes and where are you getting them. Im in WI too so let me in on your little secret.[​IMG] Also check their legs when you get them. Keets have week legs so they are more prone to problems. If one isnt standing up as much as the others, pick a new one.

    I would recomend the book Gardening with Guineas. The keets need to be held evey day several times a day and then kept locked up in your hen house for six additional weeks after the brooding period This way they will roost at home in the hen house each night or else you will end up with lots of dead Guineas.

    If you brooder is in the house ....remember chick starter. this is where i would insert one of those green faced icons but I couldnt find one. Pee-u
     

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