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Guinea flock + wire fence = perpetual Benny Hill chase scene...

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Pico de Gallo, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Pico de Gallo

    Pico de Gallo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2012
    ABQ, NM
    I've got 7 birds who, once they've flown across my 4' wire fence, will spend days (if you allow them) running back and forth along the fenceline. It was never more than an episodic problem until last week, but now they're spending more time pacing than they are foraging, and are ranging ever further from my property. Tempting with treats only riles em up because they still cannot figure out how to fly over barriers. Herding only scatters them...and then there's the fence, which they may or may not cross in a noisy panic. I have to wait until sundown, when they usually huddle in a corner and I can toss em over the fence.

    Possible solutions, in order of preference:

    1. cut a small door in the corner of the fence, wired shut until next time the tards go AWOL. I'd rather not compromise the fence...

    2. use this as an excuse to finally cover my main run, and lock the buggers down permanently. Kinda defeats their purpose, although I've not been impressed by their discretion whilst tearing through my garden in search of food items. I wanted a less destructive free-range alternative to chickens but the difference is slight. I'm thinking that for guineas, I need more space than I've got (or at least more distant neighbors).

    3. Eat them.

    4. Sell them.

    Ya'll have any other suggestions?

    EDIT: a coworker just suggested draping an old blanket or carpet over the fence. I'll try it tonight.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  2. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    We put in a small walk-through gate. I got tired of going around or climbing over. swings both ways so i can use it as a chute if all birds are on one side, or swing in and leave a gap in the fence. it would be easier in a corner, but the terrain would not allow it.

    RobertH
     
  3. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    You could try hanging a few shiny things on the fence (and around your garden)... reflective bird tape, CDs, pie tins, pinwheels etc. Guineas hate change and are incredibly leery of new things, especially those that seem to move on their own. Helps to change things out often so they don't get used to seeing the same things on the fence all the time and fly over anyway.

    Also motion activated sprinklers are a great Guinea repellent, lol.. not sure how long your fence line that they fly over is, but just one sprinkler may pay for itself in no time... plus to see their reaction when they get blasted is pretty funny [​IMG]

    My method was/is to calmly walk out to where the birds are on the wrong side of the fence with an empty grain sack in my hand, I walk around them and get behind them so they are facing or moving the direction I want them to go (otherwise they scatter the wrong way) and then I shake the sack at them and scold them.... making it not so fun outside the fence for them. They usually immediately remember how to fly again, lol. I have used a towel too, cuz it was handy to shake at them, but the grain sack makes noise so it leaves a more lasting impression. Pretty soon they start hightailing it back over the fence as soon as they see me coming, cuz they know. After so many corrections the birds usually do eventually learn to stay away... some learn quicker than others. I rarely have any birds hop my perimeter fence.... but I only let my birds out when I am home and can check to see where they are on and off while they are out so I can go correct them if needed. Consistent correction is key tho... no matter how nuts you look to your neighbors, lol.
     
  4. Pico de Gallo

    Pico de Gallo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2012
    ABQ, NM
    Good info, thanks!

    Returned home from work yesterday to find the flock scattered all over the place. Two had already returned on their own. I got two more in yesterday by placing a plank parallel to the fence, angled up, in the corner such that they followed the fenceline, walked up the incline and hopped back in. One more I scared into flight but he veered at the last minute, into the other neighbor's dog pen, where he barely escaped a horrible death. I eventually managed to entrap him. 20 min of searching failed to find the last two.

    I'm thinking a covered run is the only longterm solution. My run is a ~30' trapezoid: 10' at top, ~20 at the bottom. For netting support I plan to attach 1.5" PVC tube hoops spanning opposite posts.

    Any suggestions regarding netting...cheapest source, minimum size/strength, materials...?
     
  5. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2012
    North Georgia
    Poultry fencing works and, I think, is the cheapest. I use that and cover it with a large blue tarp so everybody can see it - including flying predators. It also keeps rain and glaring sun off of them which is nice.
     
  6. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A covered run sounds like it may be the best workable solution for you, at least for when you are not home or you are too busy to check on/keep an eye on the birds off and on. Really tho, if you can spend the time on creating a coop up routine for/with them, and be completely consistent about correcting them every single time they are somewhere they should not be... it does pays off. Many of us have done it/continue to do it.

    Another thing you may want to work into your routine is always using the same call over and over every time you feed your birds or give them treats (some people ring a bell, use a whistle or shake a can full of pennies or marbles etc), whatever you decide to use repeat it A LOT so that they learn to associate THAT call or sound with FOOOOOD. Nightly treats in the coop as a reward for coming in teaches them quick that the sun is going down and the coop is where they want to be. Guineas are very food motivated, use that to your full advantage. Next time you let them out don't let them out in the AM, take away their food about noon and then let them out about 4PM, hungry. And close the coop or pen door, locking them out. (I close their coops/pens each day so they do not have free choice access to their feed all day. Water yes, feed no. This helps create a little coop/pen and food dish separation anxiety, and makes them want back in, lol). Don't give them a treat anywhere but in the coop for a while, so that also becomes routine. And eventually (if you are consistent) when they hear or see you with a scoop full of food or you shaking or filling their feeder in the coop then eventually when it's time to come in they should come running, or at least be a lot easier to get in the coop (and if you have a pen you can start getting them in the pen first, then closing the gate and working/herding them into the coop from an enclosed space that definitely helps establish the routine.. you aren't searching for or chasing birds).

    Sticking to the same coop up schedule until they start to get the hang of it helps things progress even faster, and when I am working in training a new flock to coop up each evening I use the sun starting to go down as their visual cue. Letting them out a little earlier if they all cooperated the previous evening so they can be out a little longer is fine but for a while always get them in at approx the same time each evening. Gotta stay one step ahead of those shifty lil pea-brains of theirs. And once you figure out your nightly plan for them, and they finally seem to be getting it keep continuing with it for a while longer just to make sure, repetition creates routine for them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  7. terrilhb

    terrilhb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2010
    Georgia
    I agree with Peeps. I went through heck getting mine up at night. [​IMG] [​IMG] It was literally terrible. Some nights I was out there until midnight trying to get them up. I got great advice from Peeps and now they go up every night. The only time I have trouble now is during breeding. My one male does not want to go up until the other male is up. Don't give up it takes alot of patience and work at 1st. But they are so worth it. Good luck.
     
  8. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hurricane, WV
    5. Put landing boards, both on top of, and in front of the fence on the exterior side, so as to serve as impromptu steps for all birds too stupid to remember they can actually fly much higher (i.e. guineas ~'-)
     
  9. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Landing boards on a fence do nothing to help keep the birds home, and chances are that the birds will still pace the fence anyway. They get panicked and a sudden onset of tunnel vision sets in focused only on where they want to go (not how to get there) the second they come face to face with wire obstructing their way.
     
  10. Pico de Gallo

    Pico de Gallo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2012
    ABQ, NM
    I really wish I'd had the time to establish a consistent coop-up routine, but even so, my garden's suffered too greatly from their foraging for me to perpetuate their free-range privileges.

    Right now, I'm struggling to settle on the right run topper material. I don't trust most of the less expensive, lightweight plastic poultry netting to last beyond a year or two (if that)...UV in NM is downright BRUTAL on plastics. Hvy duty netting is super expensive, and again I'd be replacing it before too long. Galvanized netting will take forever and a day to stitch together into a canopy, but seems to be the best material for the job. Plastic coated would be awesome, but mucho $$$!
     

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