Guinea help for Dummies (ME!)

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by chickenlisa, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. chickenlisa

    chickenlisa Invincible Summer

    Apr 9, 2007
    Can anyone who has raised Guineas from the keet stage help me? I want to get them this spring, but need to know the best way to go about it all. We have a pen of 45 adult chickens (roos and hens) and a separate pen of ducks (Blue Swedish, Cayuga, and Mandarins.) I have a huge backyard with neighbors only on 1 side of us (the opposite side of the yard of our poultry pens.) I do have a big brooder box and heat lamp, feeders and waterers for little birds. How is the best way to brood them (like chicks and ducklings?) and then what age is ok to free range in our backyard? What temperatures can they withstand at what age? Do they have to be taught to stay in our yard or how will they know to stay there? Can they fly easily? If I had them in a big dog exercise pen, would they fly out the top of it? Its 4' tall. What is a good # to buy so they don't pick on our kids or visitors to our house? Sorry about all the questions....We'd love to get them, but want to do it right and not bug our neighbors or have any friends get attacked by them. Where is the best place to buy them- or is MM ok to buy them from? They sell an assortment...or I'd be willing to buy from a BYC member if they had little ones they'd ship too.
    OK- enough ???? for now. I'll appreciate any help you can pass on to me. Thanks [​IMG]

    GUIENALADY Rest in Peace 1956-2010

    May 1, 2007
    Belvidere nc
    [​IMG] hi chickenlisa and welcome to the world of guineas.

    [​IMG] Unless you can buy locally ordering from hatcheries iss good. i personally don't ship live birds. will ship eggs when they start laying about april.
    I raise the keets pretty much like baby chicks. start n grow and keep them warm. if you raise keets without chicks they should have a higher protien feed. but do well on start n grow.

    I have 7 guineas freeranging with the chickens. they were keept in a 5 ft pen till they could fly over it.then i trailned them to go up in a pen with a top along with the rirs for the night. otherwise they wil roost in the trees and become prey for owls ect.

    if you let them stay out permenant feed them occasionally so they know where home is.
    they do roam far and wide. so you might want to let the neighbors know you have them. i am sure i have forgoten lots and others may have other ideas. hopefully more will post.

    i love to watch mine in the yard. they can be mean to other birds and bullys. but never had one attack me unless i disturbed a hen with babies.

    hope i have helped some [​IMG]
  3. Renegade

    Renegade Songster

    Oct 8, 2007
    Griffin, GA
    Hi chickenlisa,

    I have 24 guineas and adore them. They keep the hawks away from my Marans chickens. I have no problems with them being aggressive towards the chickens. I did have problems years ago when I only had about 7 of them. They show more aggression in small groups. We have 6.5 acres that are fully fenced. My guineas fly over the fence all the time. I've talked to both my neighbors and they don't mind. Of course I always worry a little bit that something will happen to them when they leave or that they won't come back. I have lost a couple to a neighbors dog. The only way I know of to keep them from fly is to order chicks and have one wing pinioned. (last joint of wing is removed). I clipped the feathers on mine before I turned them loose but of course they will grow back. Once you let them loose you may never catch them again.
    I hatched mine here from eggs purchased locally. I raised them the same as I do chicks except I fed gamebird starter. I then placed them in an outside pen and turned them loose when they were about half grown.
    I forgot to mention I do keep food and water available to them 24/7 so they know to come home to roost.
    If you have any other questions just ask.

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  4. chickenlisa

    chickenlisa Invincible Summer

    Apr 9, 2007
    Thanks Guinealady and Donna (Renegade) for all the info. I guess i'll keep my eyes open for any local keets. I'm incubatorless right now and none of my hens have gone broody yet. We're cold and rainy still-gross ice, sleet, and snow yesterday and now full on rain all day today. Maybe in Spring my hens will go broody then I'd just buy eggs to put under one of them. That way would end up being the easiest. Then they'd be with chicks and be raised/brooded by a bird mommy. My acres aren't fenced, so that's not really an option. I'd have to take my chances with them out at night or I could always let them back in the pen if they were waiting to go in, but then I think letting them out the next day would be tough, as we don't freerange our chickens much. (just on really nice summer days when we can be out with them.) So I'll see. Maybe once the weather shapes up and I see any girls go broody, I'll look for eggs from you guys to buy. That would be fun!
    Thanks again.
    PS Any others who have guinea advice-chime right in! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2008
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Loved my guineas, but they can be a handful. Had to rehome them when Dodger, my alpha male, decided to kill all the RIR hens. It can be nice like in the following pics or nasty like in the last one, where he's attacking my rooster:
  6. birdnutz

    birdnutz Songster

    Mar 6, 2007
    I've had less problems by not brooding them with chickens. Has anyone else noticed this? I even brooded one with my baby ducks,he's the only one that will chase my ducks now. the same with the ones I raised with chickens. But the ones I raised by themselves just ignore everyone and go about their merry way and leave everyone else alone.
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Mine were not brooded with the chickens. They went into a nursery section inside the coop where all could see each other when the guineas were 4 weeks old and the chickens were several months old. The problems didn't start till the guineas were about five months old, "terrible teens time".
  8. mergmet

    mergmet Songster

    I probably have about 80 guineas, all but 15 raised here from hatching eggs.

    they do fly, early and well. I have raised them with chickens and without. I have found that they do fine with the chickens, but once they are let to free range, they take up with the other guineas pretty fast, then pretty much ignore my chickens. the agression may have to do with space. I have enough room for all my free range birds to stay out of each others way, but still be close and well fed.

    The only time I have seen any aggression in the guineas is during feeding time and if any chicken roosters are fighting. They want the feed to themselves, but I make sure there are multiple places for everyone to eat and plenty, so we do ok.

    as for the fighting, when my young free range roosters started deciding who was going to be king roo, they would scuffle a bit, nothing serious, mostly just jumping around. If someone got knocked off their feet a couple of guineas would run in and stomp on the chicken who was down, they they would run off again. No one ever got hurt though.

    now that I have my breeders separate its mostly the guineas and some batchelor roosters free ranging. they stick to themselves.

    I do find that the guineas will range up to about 1/2 mile (that we know of) but if some guineas are penned, they don't go as far. They like to stick together, and they will hang out near the penned birds much of the time.

    I have left all the guineas wings intact, since they free range and I know that they will, I don't clip or interfere with their ability to fly at all.

    I keep all my young guineas in until they are about 6 months old. I find I loose a LOT less when keeping them protected that long. When I let them out at 3-4 months hawks take quite a few and some simply disappear. I have only lost 2 of the last 25 that started free ranging a few weeks back.

    I also find that they stick very close to the pen they were in for a while after being let out. and if you create a feeding routine, they will be there when its time to eat.

    the other thing is that they draw the hawks here. The chickens take cover, but the guineas will just stand there. I don't let any new ones start to free range in spring (hawk breeding and chick time) because the hawks are much more aggressive and the young guineas who are not "yard smart" yet get gobbled up.

    My guineas don't do anything to deter the hawks, but I have seen five of them in military formation advancing on a red fox. THAT was something!

    good luck, I love the guineas, they are entertaining and the best insect control around, No ticks here at all until you get out of the guineas territory. no fleas, they munch on a huge number of insects.

  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I know my problems had nothing to do with space. The guineas had their own landing board so they could fly out even when the chickens were in the pen, even though the flock freeranged most of every day. They had their own higher roost bar. They got along just fine till one day I had just put my RIR, Rosemary, down in the driveway when they were all milling around outside and Dodger bodyslammed her. From then on, it was war against her, then later, the rest of the RIR girls. They never attacked any of the other chickens except for my rooster.
    The problem is that guineas are nothing like chickens, nothing. They have an entirely different mindset, different habits, different everything, including the way they fight. If you never have problems with them, you are very lucky. I may get more some day, but I'll let a hen hatch the eggs and raise them, then see if there is any difference. I miss them and their tick control abilities! They are great birds.
  10. mergmet

    mergmet Songster

    speckled hen you are so right, guineas definitely have their own mindset! they are NOT chickens, even when raised with chickens as they grow up they will "revert" to guinealike behavior. Very flighty from the start and wild!

    that might be the best ever description I have heard of them!!

    if you are raising them you need to keep that in mind, get to know them. Its about the only way to really understand the difference.

    I am sure we could both go on and on about our experiences with them. They are fascinating!


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