Guineas are murderous buttholes and I feel terrible...

Sammbalina

Chirping
Oct 1, 2018
85
85
76
Shelby County, AL
So, I somehow missed that guineas are murderous buttholes. I am making this post for those getting into guineas, so that they know... Guineas are buttholes... I have a small flock of 11, got them as keets in April/May. I got 2 more, these are pied, from a swap around July. And this past weekend, I got 4 more, 2 pied and 2 lavender. The first 11 have a pen to themselves, and the 2 that I got later are in our nursery coop. We tried introducing them to the older guineas a few weeks ago, and they got picked on, so we put them back with the chicks and poults in the baby pen. We got these 4 new guineas this past weekend, and we thought, we have 6 to add to the original flock, maybe that will spread the aggression and we can put them all together now. No... Never try to add new guineas... Never doing it again... We put them in at night, like everyone says to do, although I guess that's only for chickens and doesn't apply to guineas... My mom went to check on them Sunday morning after the introduction, and found one of the new ones dead, the other three playing dead/knocked out, and the two from the baby pen ran to my mom for her to save them and let her pick them up no fuss at all. We ended up losing a second of the new ones this morning, poor thing had been scalped all the way to the base of its neck, so its survival was questionable anyways.

I hate myself. I should have researched deeper into introducing guineas... I just assumed they would be similar to chickens, add them at night, let them wake up together, there may be some infighting to sort out the new pecking order... But no, they are murderous little heathens... The 2 newbies that we have left are doing pretty good, just a few cuts and scrapes, one has a broken wing that we bandaged the best we could to keep it from dragging the ground, and we don't have anywhere to put them. I thought about trying to add them to the nursery coop, as the two guineas that are in there are sooo much calmer from being raised with chickens and turkeys, and getting regular treats of BSFL has almost tamed them. They still don't like being touched or picked up(except when they want you to save them), but they come up to us for treats, and don't freak out like the first 11 do every time we walk in their pen. However, we are afraid that either the two older ones will freak out and kill the two newbies, or the two newbies will attack the smaller chicks...They are currently in a brooder in the house at night, even though they are not much smaller than the other guineas outside, and we are putting them in a large wire dog crate, without the pan, on grass during the day. I'm considering releasing the murderous hoard and let them fend for themselves and free range on our 17 acres, and hopefully the two sweethearts and the two newbies can replenish the guinea stock once they start laying.
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
21,558
102,782
1,531
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
So, I somehow missed that guineas are murderous buttholes. I am making this post for those getting into guineas, so that they know... Guineas are buttholes... I have a small flock of 11, got them as keets in April/May. I got 2 more, these are pied, from a swap around July. And this past weekend, I got 4 more, 2 pied and 2 lavender. The first 11 have a pen to themselves, and the 2 that I got later are in our nursery coop. We tried introducing them to the older guineas a few weeks ago, and they got picked on, so we put them back with the chicks and poults in the baby pen. We got these 4 new guineas this past weekend, and we thought, we have 6 to add to the original flock, maybe that will spread the aggression and we can put them all together now. No... Never try to add new guineas... Never doing it again... We put them in at night, like everyone says to do, although I guess that's only for chickens and doesn't apply to guineas... My mom went to check on them Sunday morning after the introduction, and found one of the new ones dead, the other three playing dead/knocked out, and the two from the baby pen ran to my mom for her to save them and let her pick them up no fuss at all. We ended up losing a second of the new ones this morning, poor thing had been scalped all the way to the base of its neck, so its survival was questionable anyways.

I hate myself. I should have researched deeper into introducing guineas... I just assumed they would be similar to chickens, add them at night, let them wake up together, there may be some infighting to sort out the new pecking order... But no, they are murderous little heathens... The 2 newbies that we have left are doing pretty good, just a few cuts and scrapes, one has a broken wing that we bandaged the best we could to keep it from dragging the ground, and we don't have anywhere to put them. I thought about trying to add them to the nursery coop, as the two guineas that are in there are sooo much calmer from being raised with chickens and turkeys, and getting regular treats of BSFL has almost tamed them. They still don't like being touched or picked up(except when they want you to save them), but they come up to us for treats, and don't freak out like the first 11 do every time we walk in their pen. However, we are afraid that either the two older ones will freak out and kill the two newbies, or the two newbies will attack the smaller chicks...They are currently in a brooder in the house at night, even though they are not much smaller than the other guineas outside, and we are putting them in a large wire dog crate, without the pan, on grass during the day. I'm considering releasing the murderous hoard and let them fend for themselves and free range on our 17 acres, and hopefully the two sweethearts and the two newbies can replenish the guinea stock once they start laying.
Guineas aren't chickens. They have their own unique behaviors. Do not apply your chicken knowledge to guineas.

To successfully introduce new guineas to your flock, place them where the other guineas can see but not touch them. Do not attempt to release the new guineas until after all the attacks at the wire stop. I just successfully introduced a 2 month old keet to my flock of 13 adults. It was in the introduction cage for a full month before I released it with the rest of the flock. It is doing well and has been accepted by the flock.

It always helps to have plenty of obstacles and hiding places so that lower ranking members of the flock can get away from higher ranking members. It can also be helpful to more than one water and feed station.

I strongly do not recommend brooding keets with other poultry. The imprinting causes them to lose the ability to understand that the other poultry are not guineas. Everything can seem great right up until the first breeding season. At that point the guineas revert to what they really are and start using their guinea ways against the other poultry. Only another guinea can understand a guinea. The other poultry can become highly stressed from the races, chases, attacks from behind and the feather pulling and breaking.
 

Sammbalina

Chirping
Oct 1, 2018
85
85
76
Shelby County, AL
I strongly do not recommend brooding keets with other poultry. The imprinting causes them to lose the ability to understand that the other poultry are not guineas. Everything can seem great right up until the first breeding season. At that point the guineas revert to what they really are and start using their guinea ways against the other poultry. Only another guinea can understand a guinea. The other poultry can become highly stressed from the races, chases, attacks from behind and the feather pulling and breaking.
I raised the two that I did with chickens and such because I heard that it makes them calmer as adults. I listened to the Mother Earth News Podcast and they did a few episodes on guineas, and they said they could be raised with chickens, and that they are typically calmer when raised with chickens and were more likely to return when allowed to free range, not as prone to completely vanishing, because of the attachment to the chickens and other fowl. Though they did also say to keep the guineas in groups of at least 10, which was why I was trying to put the guineas together into one flock. The first 11 guineas were actually raised with turkeys, but that didn't seem to calm them down at all, though they do pitch a fit when the turkey toms get to brawling. The ones with the chickens are nowhere near as jumpy though. I was wanting to try to get some hybrids out of them as well.
 

southwind00

Chirping
Jul 29, 2018
92
181
91
Western New York
I've found the best info for Guineas is this forum on BYC. Tons of real experiences from people that have had all sorts of combinations of poultry. I'm on my third year with just guineas and find the dynamics are finally settling out but not with out major set backs. If you think guineas are butt holes now, wait till their hormones kick in for pairing up and the real fights start. They are little Velociraptors for sure but they can also be very endearing, like when a cock guinea catches grasshoppers for his hen or hens. Good luck.
 

My2butterflies

Songster
Apr 14, 2020
540
1,244
143
Minnesota
The information here is the best by far that I’ve come across.
Unfortunately, being misinformed from the start has set you off on a bad foot Don’t give up.
Have you done much reading here in the guinea forum? Introductory pens inside the coop are very effective when introducing new members just like R2elk already mentioned.
Ive made a chicken wire pen under the roost bars when introducing a larger number of keets and more recently a large dog crate when adding just a few. My guineas are a range of ages now. 1 1/2yrs, 10wk olds, and 5wk olds. No losses from the adults killing anyone. They are all in their own flocks by age, but will roost together at night.

I hope with some changes made you are able to get everyone used to each other. Guineas are such awesome birds to watch and be around. I can’t imagine my farm without them.
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
21,558
102,782
1,531
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
I raised the two that I did with chickens and such because I heard that it makes them calmer as adults. I listened to the Mother Earth News Podcast and they did a few episodes on guineas, and they said they could be raised with chickens, and that they are typically calmer when raised with chickens and were more likely to return when allowed to free range, not as prone to completely vanishing, because of the attachment to the chickens and other fowl. Though they did also say to keep the guineas in groups of at least 10, which was why I was trying to put the guineas together into one flock. The first 11 guineas were actually raised with turkeys, but that didn't seem to calm them down at all, though they do pitch a fit when the turkey toms get to brawling. The ones with the chickens are nowhere near as jumpy though. I was wanting to try to get some hybrids out of them as well.
It is sad that there is such a lot of bad information out there about guineas.

I have raised guineas both with chickens and alone. I will never brood guineas with chickens again. My keets are brooded with other keets. My guineas are housed only with guineas. I can let my guineas free range in the same area at the same time with other poultry without any problems. The guineas keep to themselves as do the chickens.

I don't know why you want guinea - chicken hybrids since they are typically short lived and infertile. Most guinea - chicken hybrids do not happen naturally. They are normally created by putting a guinea hen with a chicken rooster in a small cage. The guinea and chicken breeding habits are just enough different that it is very unlikely to happen naturally.

Guineas will bond with turkeys very easily. It still is not a good idea. It may seem funny to see a turkey dragging a guinea around when the guinea is latched onto the turkey's wing or tail feather but the turkey does not enjoy it. The guineas are enough faster than the turkeys that the turkeys can't catch the guineas. If they could catch them, they would kill them.
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
2,867
7,346
526
Stillwater, OK
So, I somehow missed that guineas are murderous buttholes. I am making this post for those getting into guineas, so that they know... Guineas are buttholes... I have a small flock of 11, got them as keets in April/May. I got 2 more, these are pied, from a swap around July. And this past weekend, I got 4 more, 2 pied and 2 lavender. The first 11 have a pen to themselves, and the 2 that I got later are in our nursery coop. We tried introducing them to the older guineas a few weeks ago, and they got picked on, so we put them back with the chicks and poults in the baby pen. We got these 4 new guineas this past weekend, and we thought, we have 6 to add to the original flock, maybe that will spread the aggression and we can put them all together now. No... Never try to add new guineas... Never doing it again... We put them in at night, like everyone says to do, although I guess that's only for chickens and doesn't apply to guineas... My mom went to check on them Sunday morning after the introduction, and found one of the new ones dead, the other three playing dead/knocked out, and the two from the baby pen ran to my mom for her to save them and let her pick them up no fuss at all. We ended up losing a second of the new ones this morning, poor thing had been scalped all the way to the base of its neck, so its survival was questionable anyways.

I hate myself. I should have researched deeper into introducing guineas... I just assumed they would be similar to chickens, add them at night, let them wake up together, there may be some infighting to sort out the new pecking order... But no, they are murderous little heathens... The 2 newbies that we have left are doing pretty good, just a few cuts and scrapes, one has a broken wing that we bandaged the best we could to keep it from dragging the ground, and we don't have anywhere to put them. I thought about trying to add them to the nursery coop, as the two guineas that are in there are sooo much calmer from being raised with chickens and turkeys, and getting regular treats of BSFL has almost tamed them. They still don't like being touched or picked up(except when they want you to save them), but they come up to us for treats, and don't freak out like the first 11 do every time we walk in their pen. However, we are afraid that either the two older ones will freak out and kill the two newbies, or the two newbies will attack the smaller chicks...They are currently in a brooder in the house at night, even though they are not much smaller than the other guineas outside, and we are putting them in a large wire dog crate, without the pan, on grass during the day. I'm considering releasing the murderous hoard and let them fend for themselves and free range on our 17 acres, and hopefully the two sweethearts and the two newbies can replenish the guinea stock once they start laying.
Wow - very traumatic experience! I’m sure that was a heartbreaking sight, walking into that coop in the morning... :hit I really despise poultry introductions, and I can’t introduce new birds to my chickens via the easy nighttime roost method either because our chickens are also very mean to newcomers.

I’ve recently been adding all birds via hatching and brooding eggs from within the flock because the integration is otherwise so difficult. With the guineas, I tried to let the guinea hens incubate eggs and brood keets last year, but it didn’t work. These incubator hatched guinea hens didn’t understand their own keets and killed or abandoned them. So, I added juveniles to adult guineas last year, using the look don’t touch method for six weeks. Even after a year now, the original and new groups are distinctly separated and there is some friction. So I tried again with incubating and brooding from within the flock this year, and it finally worked. I sincerely hope that your future introductions go much better. :fl
 

BennieAnTheJets

Songster
Mar 4, 2016
339
651
177
Virginia, USA
So sorry for your loss and the terrible experience but please don't take it out on the Guienas.

You could blame yourself for not doing more research but I would recommend against that, too. You only know you should have done more research after you find out what happened. How should you have known ahead of time. It is something you could argue, back and forth, but it won't help the dead or injured brids to blame yourself now. I'd say forgive yourself and committ to learning from this experience for the good of the Guineas and yourself in teh future.

>> that means not blaming the remaining Guienas!

They are what they are. Always have been. When they work out around us, we have provided them with what they need, when they don't we are at fault. Period.

I hope you can enjoy your flock and they can have a good life with you (minus the dead ones - hope they are in Guinea heaven).

I have made mistakes before. One of our keets was killed by the adults in a neighboring pen since it snuck under the wall and obviously could nto find its way back until being pecked to death - that was one of ScoobyDoo and Baby Blue's keets this year. We had 7: 1 killed by Guineas, 2 killed by the snake. It happened. Afterwards I sealed all the walls in the bottom more carefully. Was I mad at the murderers? Yes!!! But I got over it.

About introducing new birds: I am not as successful as @R2elk, it takes us years! Guineas do not like newcomers, unless it is a girl they want to woo. Our 8 and 7 year old flocks are finally together, and they still sometimes split on free-ranging.

If a mule kicks you, you don't cut its legs of - you're just more careful not to get kicked again. That's how I see the Guineas. So sorry for the ones that died, that is for sure. But there is nothing we can do about it now to help them. My husband says: Help the ones that are still there now!

I did (every time) and I am glad I did. I still love them very much.
 
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Sydney65

Songster
Aug 2, 2019
420
954
136
Indiana
Pretty much chiming in to agree. I had a struggle bc himself made the coop door very narrow so getting a cage inside wasn't going to work. For a brooder,I use a big clear tote box, so I just added an entry door infront big enough for keets and slid it under a drop board. They stayed in there safely until they felt brave, and can quickly return to it when the elders get testy. During the day when the cocks are free-ranging,they swap places w/my hen between the run or the kennel.
To be fair, we can all become murderous buttholes when we feel threatened or find an intruder in our domain. The 1st time my "favorite" went missing, I swore someone was going to become Sunday dinner. But he came home and lives to fight another day, and has gotten pretty good at getting his own back these days.
 

yakitori

Chirping
Jun 22, 2020
264
371
93
New York
The information on this forum is very accurate and helpful. I also jumped on the guinea + chicken brood train because sooo many sources said to do it. By the time I came on to this forum, they’ve already been together for 3 weeks and I didn’t have another set up to separate them. Right now they’re 14 weeks old and are getting along fine for the most part - the guineas are definitely a lot meaner to those under them in the pecking order. 3 of my chickens make it their business to avoid the guineas. They free range together just fine, but I leave the guineas outside of the run as they’re not as docile in the confined space. I always knew the risks I was taking and am prepare to either give the chickens or guineas away should the need arise. They’re simply doing whatever it is in their nature to do, and we are the ones who chose to raise them a certain way... can’t really blame them if something goes wrong.

On the other hand, I keep reading that guineas are really tasty.. if you’re for that route. I wouldn’t be able to kill my own, but if I could get it from the store I would love to try it oneday 🙈
 

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