Guinea Fowl Let Out?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by crazy4chickens5, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. crazy4chickens5

    crazy4chickens5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    109
    1
    83
    May 26, 2012
    NH
    I have some guineas that are a little bit over 6 weeks old. I moved them from the brooder to the chicken and guinea coop a few days ago in a large rabbit cage, and they're doing well! Just one question though, when can I let them out to roam around in the fenced in area? It's gigantic and has fun things to play on like trees and a few roosts. I guess they could fly out, but I really don't know how. And if I shouldn't let them out yet, should I move the cage in and out of the coop daily? (Where I live it's pretty cold already, not THAT cold though. It's just NH) So thanks for all the help future resolvers! [​IMG]
    -Kyle
     
  2. crazy4chickens5

    crazy4chickens5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    109
    1
    83
    May 26, 2012
    NH
    Please answer soon everybody!
     
  3. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,981
    22
    141
    Aug 8, 2011
    we're relatively new to guineas, this is our second year, and our first hatching our own. we put up at night and free range during the day. we feed a small amount morning and evening, but they range for the rest of their feed. we feed a gamebird starter until we start freeranging, and then a combo of starter and the same pellets we feed our mixed flock until they're near grown.

    here's what we did this year...

    batch 1 (13 keats): we moved their brooder cage from the brooder area to the main run at week 8. started free-ranging around 10 weeks, have lost only 1 of 13. this group has figured out how to get up in our big mulberry tree and is roosting there. they free range mostly hanging with a duck (this ducling hatched with them and was raised with them) or our maran rooster (who's adoped them). they're doing great, near full grown now.

    batch 2 (26 keats): we moved their brooder cage to the main run at week 6, started free-ranging around 7 weeks, and on day 4 lost about half... I think they were out-of-fuel, they were busy busy busy ranging and bugging, and looked good on day 3, but day 4, half didn't come in. day 5 some of them were very sluggish, so we gathered them up and put them back in the brooder. we've lost one more since then but the rest seem tobe doing well. we'll wait 3 more weeks before we put them back in the general population. I may see if I can catch a couple of the teen guineas from batch 1 and put them in with the batch 2 babies for the last week in hopes they'll bond and follow the teen guineas as they forage, learn where to roost.

    if your run is fully enclosed and you're feeding, I'd think your keats would be fine in the run after week 7 or 8. but then, this is my first year with guineas, so if someone else has more experience to share, I'd be interested in hearing.
     
  4. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    965
    26
    133
    Apr 19, 2012
    North Georgia
    Kyle, first, I'd suggest putting a cover on your pen. Guineas are strong flyers. Won't be long before they fly out of your enclosure. Another good reason to cover the pen is to keep predators out. Raccoons for example, will climb your fencing or trees and take what they want. Hawks, owls, etc. can just fly down for dinner.

    If I read your post correctly, covering your outdoor area would be extremely difficult and expensive, so if I were in your shoes, I would enclose part of your space attached to the coop and use that for keeping them in at night. They can go in and out of the coop and into the fully enclosed pen at will if you want them to. Then during the day you can allow them into the uncovered fenced area for free-ranging (they will eventually fly out of it).

    Chickens only need to be confined for a few+ days or so. Not so with guineas. They need about 6 weeks to get the idea. Some people think more than six weeks. If you want to put them outside to start your "6 weeks" confinement, you can add a heat lamp to the coop for night temps. It won't hurt the chickens...If you can, just run a few electrical cords (for indoor/outdoor use) to the coop and plug it in at night. But that depends on how far away your coop is from an electrical outlet. :) If you can't do that, I'd keep doing what you're doing then when they're old enough, put them in the coop/pen for six weeks. But know they're going to get out sooner or later. Try to make sure they know where home is before you let them out.

    People have differing opinions on free-ranging guineas 24/7. I'm an advocate of penning/cooping at night. It keeps them safer and it keeps them closer to home, and they develop a routine that's easy for me to monitor.
     
  5. crazy4chickens5

    crazy4chickens5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    109
    1
    83
    May 26, 2012
    NH
    Okay. Thank you both. It helped! So should I keep them in the little cage a little longer, or a lot longer?
     
  6. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,981
    22
    141
    Aug 8, 2011
    I'd think maybe keep them penned until at least 8 wks, then allow them in-and-out in an enclosed area, put up for the night.
    we're going to keep our current batch penned until week 10, but we don't have an enclosed area to keep them in, it's open range, no lid.

    on flying: our adults don't seem to be particularly adept flyers although they'll get over a 4' fence. the teens do pretty well, getting up on car hoods and wood fences, then from there to higher locations. our adults roost with our chickens, but the teens prefer to be high in the tree. it's not so much that they fly up there, rather that they fly up to a low branch, then hike up, or hop from branch to branch as they go up.

    we anticipate some losses, but we have guineas primarily for bug control so keeping them penned would be self-defeating. the fellow we got our hatching eggs from keeps his full free-range (and tree-roosting), and he loses a few each year, but he's got an established colony that maintains 20-30 adults that he only feeds during the winter. we're emulating his method and hopefully we'll have enough to bring our tick problem in check.
     
  7. jbirds2012

    jbirds2012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,724
    24
    171
    Aug 14, 2012
    paicines, ca.
    i read, keep them penned for 12 weeks on a different web site
     
  8. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    965
    26
    133
    Apr 19, 2012
    North Georgia
    People have differing opinions and experiences. I think if you're starting out, it's better to keep them penned for longer, but I'd say 4 weeks is the absolute minimum. I have a friend who let hers full free-range after they had been penned until they were 7 months old. When she let them out at the beginning of this summer, she had 15. Before August 1st, she was down to 3. Your predator population makes a big difference. Evaluating your predator threat is a good idea.

    For example, my BIG predator threat comes from nocturnal animals: raccoons, opossums, owls. I don't have a fox population here (yet). During the day, hawks are my number one predator, with stray dogs being #2, and uncooperative neighbors being 3rd. We even have a few bears who will come through our property from time to time, so keeping the feed put up is a good idea. We keep our feed in the basement - more for our own safety than the guineas! :).

    My advice is to keep reading, learning and evaluating your situation to make your best decision. What works for me may not work for others. That's cool. :). But consider your guineas - they got under my skin in a big hurry. I wanted bug control, but I also wanted "pets" and they soon became more pets than workers.
     
  9. TexasDDL

    TexasDDL New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Jun 3, 2016
    I bought my guineas as adults this past March 2016. I kept them penned for two weeks in their new coop, and then let one out for an hour the first day; two out for about two hours the second day; four out for most of the afternoon the third day, and then let all nine out for the afternoon the fourth day. They were hard to get back in at night for the first couple of weeks, especially the first week. Now I let them out in the morning and they free-range all day. They will range at least one-half mileafter they get used to your area (that I know of--maybe farther) so think about any problems they might have in that area around your house/pasture. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get them all back in the coop for the night now. Sometimes I go out at dusk and they are all already in, waiting for me to give them their nightly feed. It does help to get them in at night when they know that they will be fed some grain when they come in. I have 21 two-week old keets and plan to keep them confined until they are at LEAST 8 weeks old, maybe 10. We have too many predators here to let them out any earlier. Good luck!
     
  10. theguineaman

    theguineaman New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Jul 11, 2014
    My guinea pen has a keet proof house, where the keets cannot find a way out, and it is attached to an outside pen with a net cover. In my experience, anything less will not work. I leave the keets in the coop until they are too big to go through my chain link fence, then let them out into a big fenced area covered by the net. After maybe 20 weeks I open the door and they are my yard guineas from there on. Most stay, but guineas, being guineas, some walk on down the road and leave. I love my guineas.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by