Guinea fowl questions

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by chicksducks1, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. chicksducks1

    chicksducks1 Out Of The Brooder

    57
    0
    34
    Mar 11, 2017
    I'm thinking about adding maybe some new birds into my flock, I was thinking about maybe some quineas. However my questions are what do you guys uses your guineas for? Pets, eggs meat etc. Also, do you keep your quails in with other bird types like chickens or ducks? What's everyone's experience with rasing them? I have done a little research but I'd like other people's opinions since they aren't as popular as other birds. Thanks!
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    25,645
    1,834
    463
    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I think guineas would be difficult as pets - at least if you define pet as something somewhat tame and friendly. They are relatively "pure" unlike chickens and just seem hard to tame. They also make an incredible amount of noise - for no real purpose or so it seems to me. As they are still a reasonably wild bird they do not like coop confinement. I herd mine into a coop (their own coop) nearly every night. On the nights they are too sly for me they will nest high up in trees or even on the peak of the roof. Unsure why I haven't lost one to an owl yet.
    They will coop with my chickens on their own on super cold nights. Here's a link to keeping different poultry types together: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-keep-different-poultry-types-living-together-in-one-coop
    I keep mine for meat. They are tasty - more like pheasant than chicken. In fact I have read on BYC that the pheasant you order in a restaurant (something I can't afford!) is really guinea fowl. Not sure of this is true but...
    Oh, also, hens seem to like to nest and lay eggs wherever they want - not wherever you want.
    Not trying to dissuade you form getting them - some people love them, some, like me tolerate them. Others don't like them at all. If you have neighbors, keep in mind, they are noisy buggers!!!
     
  3. GlennLee

    GlennLee Chillin' With My Peeps

    603
    111
    121
    May 13, 2016
    Central New York
    Hello chicksducks1 and [​IMG]

    I have a flock of 12 guineas - 8 are French jumbos and 4 are regular domestics - no other birds - I keep them for tick and insect control. They free range and travel about a half mile from end to end. Something to keep in mind depending on your property and neighbors. Mine come into a coop each night and I have trained them to respond to a bell to make sure I get them in at least a half hour before sunset each night. We do eat the eggs, but are hoping to hatch some this spring and raise / sell some keets.

    I have only had guineas since the beginning of May 2016 and this will be my first spring with them. Based on feedback from others and the differences I've noticed, my French jumbos are quieter, calmer, interact with me more and don't fly - only hop and glide. I prefer them to my regular domestics.
     
  4. Flight4761

    Flight4761 Just Hatched

    11
    2
    15
    Mar 5, 2017

    I'm unsure if I should get Guineas..
    Chickens control the pest problem, however guineas also are predator-alarms.
    How noisy are yours? Do you eat them? (You said 'jumbo', how big are they?)
    Can I see pics?
    Oh, and how much are they?
    I'm planning for chickens, and am trying to decide whether to add guineas.
     
  5. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    2,783
    428
    286
    Oct 24, 2009
    Thailand
    All the Guinea Fowl I have had have been 'tame'.

    And not sure how tame you want them to be? They will not let you hold them or pet them... but they will loose all fear of you and follow you around.. or come running to you when they see you (as they think you have food). Mine will feed out of my hand no problem and are not at all flighty.

    They were all really scared and wild when I got them as young birds... but after a while they just calm down on their own once they realise you are not going to hurt them or try to grab them.

    The can be noisy.. in term of being VERY loud. But this is not for long or constantly all day. Mine only do it in the early morning when they fly down from the trees... and a bit more at roosting time. During the day they are mostly quiet... perhaps a few times they go mad.. but only a couple of minutes.

    My roosters are more noisy, as they crow all day (and even at night sometimes).

    I keep mine for pets... I just have small groups of 4 or 5. The most I had was 8.

    If you have close neighbours they will not like to hear your guinea fowl... same as roosters.

    I like them as they are different and funny to watch. They don't dig up the garden as much as chickens, and they eat a lot more bugs. They also are really hardy and don't seem to get sick (my chickens have had many illnesses over the years).

    They are naughty sometimes... like flying over the fence and refusing to jump back in for hours, and occasionally like to paly a game of 'jump on a chicken'. They don't hurt the chickens.. but like to sneak up on one and jump on it before running away 'laughing', much to the chickens annoyance.

    I would not keep G Fowl in the same coop as chickens, as in a small space I think the G Fowl might bully the chickens.

    They are very smart in some ways, and very stupid in others. They are great as recognizing birds that are not part of the flock and will run and chasse them away.. so handy to keep pigeons and neighbours chickens out of my garden. But they leave my chickens and fancy pigeons alone.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. GlennLee

    GlennLee Chillin' With My Peeps

    603
    111
    121
    May 13, 2016
    Central New York
    They range in about a quarter mile radius from their coop - so a half mile end to end, so when they are noisy, it's not a big deal. They tend to "sound off" to other noises like a plane going overhead, a train, loud trucks, crows, etc. or if something startles them or it is new. They can be very loud when they go into that machine gun alarm mode, but it's not a problem given the amount of land they free range on here.

    Guineas will control insects / ticks better than chickens because they need a higher protein diet. I'm not saying chickens won't eat some bugs & grubs, but guineas will eat more. It could go either way with a mix of chickens & guineas. I only have guineas. Of the people I know who have both, it's about 50/50 - half work out, half don't. Those who seem to have the best luck already have an established flock of chickens and add the keets to their existing flock. Guineas are a strong flock bird and tend to want to take over and boss other birds around. Sometimes they can be aggressive doing so. I'm not trying to dissuade you from getting guineas, but it can be a bit trickier with a mix. If you have chickens with a docile personality, and a lot of male guineas, you could have problems.

    We don't eat our guineas, but we do eat the eggs. If we had too many guineas and they weren't named yet (I do name mine) we might consider butchering some. I'd have trouble eating those I've have currently since I raised them by hand and have them all named. Just me... French Jumbos are about 1/3 larger than regular guineas and mine probably weigh about 5-7 pounds. I bought them online through JM Hatchery and had great luck with the keets. They were very healthy and everyone survived being mailed. I paid about $66 with shipping and handling for 16 of them. I ordered 15 and they sent 16. It sounds like a lot, but things happen. We lost 1 to an injury, 1 to a car and 6 to predators within 5 months. Here's the site.

    http://www.jmhatchery.com/shop/french-guinea-keets/

    Since French Jumbos 1/3 larger and grow quickly as keets, you'll have to be aware of that fact and make sure to provide enough room or they will get aggressive - they may anyway, but I find mine are usually fine as long as they have enough space. It's recommended to provide 3-4 square feet of space per bird, so I'd say with the French Jumbo they need at least 4 and 5 square feet of space per bird is even better.

    [​IMG]


    I love my flock. They are just a sweet group and keep us entertained all day long. You never know what they are going to do next. I have seen them band together to "machine gun" and scare off a skunk. Some people reported that they scare off and/or eat snakes or mice. I haven't seen any of that yet. Unfortunately, they are no match for coyotes, foxes, owls, weasels, or hawks. But chickens aren't either.

    Here's a video of mine in the tall grass. This is what they do all summer long and most times, I can't even hear them until I am about 15 yards away. They usually spot me first and start to whistle. You can see how close they were here and how quiet they remained. Good luck with your decision. I guess you'll have to weigh your options and decide on what's best for you. For me, it's a flock of guineas!

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Flight4761

    Flight4761 Just Hatched

    11
    2
    15
    Mar 5, 2017
    Is that 4-5 sq feet of indoor or outdoor space?
     
  8. GlennLee

    GlennLee Chillin' With My Peeps

    603
    111
    121
    May 13, 2016
    Central New York
    I guess I never thought of it in terms of indoor / outdoor space before.... good question. It would be wherever they are kept.

    If they are kept in an enclosed coop or combined coop and outdoor run, for any length of time (inclement weather), you would need that amount per bird. So if you had 10 guineas, the coop would need to be 40 to 50 square feet minimum - that's FREE space, excluding feeders and roosts.

    I have my 12 free ranging on 10 acres of our property plus about 10 more acres of my neighbor's property! I am fortunate to have such good neighbors. When the guineas are inside, they are in a small barn coop that's 12x16 - 192 square feet. In my mind, I wouldn't put more than 20 birds in that area - that's about 9.5 square feet per bird, but I also have several bales of straw and have built caves out of straw for them to hop on and hide in to encourage them to nest inside. During the winter, they do spend an ample amount of time in there.

    If you are free ranging and only need to keep them in at night, you could probably get by with just an enclosed covered roosting area. We originally had a smaller shed 8x10 - 80 square feet with an attached 10x10 - 100 square feet (180 total) for 16 guineas. That area would have worked to keep them in as long as they could use both areas, but it wasn't enough for them to be housed inside just the coop area during the winter - not enough free space by the time the roost, feeders and waterers were added. I have to say - although the combination of the coop space and outdoor rung would have met the minimum requirements, it wouldn't have been ideal for them if they didn't get out to free range. You will find guineas at the zoo - I've seen them with pigs, buffalo and peacocks, but they have an ample area to range. If guineas are only kept confined to an area that's a minimum size, you will probably see signs of stress.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Flight4761

    Flight4761 Just Hatched

    11
    2
    15
    Mar 5, 2017

    Thanks for the great info!
    I just don't think it would work. We would have them for guard-birds for our chickens (and the occasional meat and egg).
    I've seen some nieghbors with some, so I'll ask them about their experience later this spring/summer
    Thanks for the reply!
     
  10. Tacampbell1973

    Tacampbell1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    564
    36
    146
    May 26, 2013
    Washington State
    Hello guinea kinfolk,
    First year my hen successfully raised 12 keets. Every year after they were found dead, 3 years running. .. im done. Nothing sadder than finding dead keets in the nest. I am buying an incubator this year....no more dead keetlets...can anyone recommend or give advice. Do i need an ovascope and im getting an auto turn. Bought a cheap pos didnt work with chicken eggs, gonna do this right regardless of cost. My birds ARE my world and i'm gonna do right by them, with help...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by