Guinea Newbie

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by trailhound, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. trailhound

    trailhound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    My neighbor talked me into going to pick up a batch of Cuckoo Marans to split (I was good, only kept 2), and on impulse I got three guinea keets as well. They are about 1 1/2 weeks old, two lavenders and a purple. I have wanted guineas for years, and have had chickens for a bout 6 years, but I am wondering what I need to do differently for the guineas. Right now I have them in a brooder with the two chicks, and plan to house them in the same coop as my chickens - is this okay? Do they need different food than chicks or laying hens? I have Purena Start and Grow right now, hopefully I can feed that to the guineas as well.

    I am so excited to have them!

    Andrea
     
  2. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    MERRY LAND
    Feed them same as you are feeding your chicks, they will be fine. Mine are housed with the chickens and have had no problem. Mine for the longest time followed a chicken as thier "leader"
     
  3. FlockEweFarm

    FlockEweFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2008
    Flagstaff,AZ
    The keets I have are about a month and a week old, and let me tell you, they are like chickens on Speed in both development and temperment. I did a lot of research on them, and I dont have much hope for actually keeping them in my coop without keeping a roof over then entire pen or keeping their wings clipped. They are stand-offish, flighty, and very much like leghorn chickens, in that they seem to not enjoy much in the way of human contact, though I have been told that with a LOT of work, you can tame them to a reasonable level. The ones that my family had when I was a child, were able to fly great distances, and they stayed up in the trees quite a bit. They are great for guarding your property and create and unholy racket that makes multiple roosters in metal trash cans sound like a symphony. They do best in hot weather, and they eat bugs mainly, but I have been feeding mine Start and Grow and they have done just fine. I introduced Alfalfa hay a few days ago, and they went nuts over it. You have to keep them crazy warm though, I was told to keep them at 95 for the first couple of weeks and then lower it 5 degrees every week there after until full fethered out.
     
  4. Jaybr

    Jaybr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My keets are 10 weeks old and I've had them in the run/coop with my chickens (about same age) for 4 weeks now. I've been feeding them medicated turkey starter.

    Like said above, they are very stand-offish, but I've got mine taking food from my hand now. They will grab and run, where my 6 week old BR chicks that I got at the same time will now fly up and sit on my shoulder.

    You will need a fully enclosed run, they fly pretty well at a young age. I lost 1 the first couple days I let them out of the coop into the run, it flew up to the top rail on the 6' chain link fence, then squezed thru the 2"x4" welded wire up top and got out.

    I plan to let mine freerange in another couple weeks.
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    For everyone who hasn't had any problem housing their guineas with chickens, there's one who has had to rehome their guineas due to them beating up and bullying the chickens. I'm one of those. I love guineas, dont get me wrong, but I was forced to choose between my four and my chickens. I did everything I could, but guineas do not behave at all like chickens, so if you expect them to act like remotely the same animal, you'll be shocked.
    Guineas actually do better raised on gamebird feed with higher protein content, especially as keets, but will survive okay on regular chicken feed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  6. mylittlehof

    mylittlehof Out Of The Brooder

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    I have had Guineas for year or so now and have a love/exasperation relationship with them. The girls are LOUD - the boys can make a racket - but tend to be less apt to alarm as the girls. Our flock has dwindled so we are now down to two boys. We did have 4 boys for a good amount of time, but I bought a puppy in Dec and she decided to "play" with them, so now we are down to two. I used to try to get them in the coop every night, but one Guinea would always stay out - the others would bully that one into staying out. When we were down to the four, all four would refuse to go in. I started to take a oh-well attitude and would put the millet in anyway to lure them in, but leave the ramp down. Then I discovered they were a great weather predictor. If it was going to storm, in they would go. Once a storm was threatening, so I ran out to put in the millet, they didn't go in, the storm blew around us and we didn't get any of it. Now I leave it up to them if they want to go in or not. Seems to work fine. They are great at eating bugs and I am hoping they will be good protectors for the 5 lady chickens I have in the brooder right now.

    Sarah
     
  7. trailhound

    trailhound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    Thanks for the input- I am approaching this batch as an experiment, knowing that they are kind of wildcards. Has anyone read the book Gardening with Guineas? It seems to have good information and advice and a plan for trying to get them to stick around and come in at night. I am going to try and find a copy, will let you know how it works out.

    I am in the process of building a new coop for the guineas and chickens to hopefully share. If they need their own coop, we will cross that bridge when we get there. It will have a covered run, and will probably just let everyone out to free range when we are home to supervise.

    Should be a fun adventure!

    Andrea
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Quote:I read that book before getting guineas. My issue is that it really didn't mention alot of the hard problems keeping them because it was really promoting them. The problem with them bullying and sometimes even killing roosters wasnt talked about. She just said something cryptic about "guineas rule". Well, they certainly do. Larger groups of them can be better than just a few and if you get them through the terrible teens and on to laying age, they calm down a tiny bit. I miss my goonie-birds! I'll have them again some day, I'm sure.
     
  9. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    Guineas are alarmists. My four can see the chickens as of yet I have not let the chickens out. They seem to be doing ok right now, getting to know each other thru the fence.

    I have heard from people who free range chickens & guineas that the Guineas sound alarms when hawks are in the air and the chickens dart under bushes & trees. That seems to be working here. When the Guineas squak the chickens run inside.

    Good luck and enjoy your Guineas
     
  10. trailhound

    trailhound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    Speckledhen wrote:
    The problem with them bullying and sometimes even killing roosters wasnt talked about. She just said something cryptic about "guineas rule". Well, they certainly do. Larger groups of them can be better than just a few and if you get them through the terrible teens and on to laying age, they calm down a tiny bit. I miss my goonie-birds! I'll have them again some day, I'm sure.


    Do they just attack the roosters? Was it your male guineas- like having more than one rooster? Did you raise them all together or mix the two flocks? I don't have any roosters (well I am trying to rehome the two babies I ended up with), but that social aspect is interesting. I will sure keep an eye out for abusive behavior.

    The guineas I have are week old keets, so they will be the smallest bunch of birds in the coop and I am going to try and raise them with the two chicks I got at the same time. I just saw the idea to build a 'nursery' under the nesting boxes in my coop, so as soon as they are old enough to move outside they will have an adjustment period of living with, but being separated from the the chickens. Hopefully, this will help everyone get a long.

    Thanks for the heads up!
     

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