Guinea newby questions

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by brandywine, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    I have been looking for guineas for a while, and when someone had keets for sale at the fair setup yesterday, I jumped at the chance. Only had enough coin in my pocket to buy three, so that's what I got. They are 3 weeks old, and I've got them quarantined in my chick brooder, which is plenty big for just three birds.

    Questions:

    Is three too few? Should I get more? Foolish me, I didn't know that they pair-bonded until after I bought them. Of course, I've no way of knowing the genders of the keets.

    I'm feeding them the same 20% chick starter that my pullets are getting. Should I supplement with something higher protein, like cat food? I don't want to buy a whole bag of game bird starter and have most of it go bad.

    I've already given them some Japanese beetles. They had clearly not seen yummy bugs before, but quickly figured it out.

    How early can they free range? There are no grown poultry here, so they'll be on their own. My whole reason for getting guineas is pest control, so I'd like to put them to work as soon as possible.

    Any other general guinea tips? I'm going to get them some white millet today and start taming them -- they are very flighty and shy.

    And I already posted the question in the diseases section, but how long would you all quarantine before putting them in with the pullets?
     
  2. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

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    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    I put mine in with the chooks after 1 month in the brooder. Don't let them free range until they have been exposed to their coop for about a month (which means they should be 2 months old before you let them out).

    I only have three. They are fine. You won't know the sex until they are full grown.
     
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    I have my first guineas this year so I'm no expert but have learned a few things already.

    They should be fine on chick starter/grower. Some people use the gamebird feed (and I think that would be best) but I didn't nor did lots of others here and the guineas do fine. I didn't because mine have been raised with my flock. If I'd just had guineas I'd have used the gamebird feed.

    I've been told by more experienced people that you should actually keep them locked into their coop for at least 2 months before letting them out to free range. That's IF you want them to come back to roost there at night. It seems that people who raise them with their chickens see the guineas coming back with the flock to roost more than people who didn't raise them with chickens.

    I was told that more is better with guineas. Of course, I learned that one after I only got five. This may be just if they are with a flock of chickens. It seems that the guineas will keep to themselves more and be less likely to 'mess' with the chickens if there are more of them to keep themselves occupied. Does that make sense?

    I could tell the sexes on mine by the time they were two months old. The three girls were already very vocal with their 'buckwheat' calls by that age. I didn't hear the two boys vocalize until they were closer to three months old. I don't know if that's normal or if I was just 'lucky'!

    I do love them and am really glad that I got them. They are most certainly LOUD!!! Well, the girls are... I rarely hear the boys - I think they spend the whole day looking at each other and saying... "can't get a word in edge wise with these chatty girls never shutting up!"
     
  4. swampducks

    swampducks Overrun With Guineas

    Feb 29, 2008
    Barton City, MI
    I started with 3 and wished I'd gotten more especially as I accidentally killed one. [​IMG] Mine hang out with the 4 chickens they were raised with and they all get along famously so far (though the guineas have had a couple fights with each other making me pretty sure they're both male.) I let mine out to free range with the chickens at 5 weeks and have had no problems with them returning to the coop.

    I had not heard that they pair bond. Is this true? Why haven't I seen that anywhere before?
     
  5. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    Swampducks -- I don't know whether it is "true" that guineas pairbond -- but it is mentioned on several guinea sites on the inter tubes. I'll let you know next year!

    Back to the fair today, and I bought five more keets. These are about a week old or less -- four lavenders and one more pearl. They are doing fine all in one brooder -- the bigger keets seem to have adopted the little guys. The little ones are not as paranoid as the older ones.

    They are out there in the mudroom, making their weird little robot noises. So far I like their chatter.
     

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