Guineas "stolen" by neighbor's flock...

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by RobG7aChattTN, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. The next big hurdle is turning them out to free-range. Hopefully the older birds will teach the young ones to watch for predators and to put themselves to roost in the barn at night.
     
  2. MrsRobinson1

    MrsRobinson1 In the Brooder

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    Nov 6, 2013
    We know a few people here locally that have only 2-4 and they seem to do fine.
     
  3. There is a house down the road that only has one pair of guineas and I've seen them off and on over the last few years. They seem fine, but I know that when a flock gets knocked down from a larger flock to this size the birds themselves tend to act far less bold and relaxed. The smaller flock will stick to cover and act nervous all the time. When added to a larger flock they move about in open spaces making happy whistling noises. Part of that might be just the fact that there are more eyes looking for predators and part of that might just be that each bird is less likely to become prey. I now know from experience that when you have a small flock (5 birds) they will quickly add themselves to any passing flock. I just hope that the new flock of 44 birds is large enough to keep them happily here and hopefully territorial enough to keep the neighbor's flock from mixing in.
     
  4. Granny Hatchet

    Granny Hatchet Tastes like chicken

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    44? oh my, how is your hearing? heheheh
     
  5. Granny Hatchet

    Granny Hatchet Tastes like chicken

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    may i ask, what you are feeding? since cold weather came and the bugs are gone my guineas keep begging and i am their best friend. i have increased protein and gave everything i can think off. any suggestions?
     
  6. I give the guineas a 22% protein pellet and regular chicken scratch. I kept the protein high because most of the birds are still young. They didn't seem to eat much of it so I added a hopper of chicken scratch and they really dove in...but maybe just because they were bored with the old food. The other day I threw a few handfuls of grass up there and it started a riot. I know they are missing their greens now that they are confined. I don't think guineas even WANT to eat bugs as much in the fall and winter. I threw some mealworms to my adults back in early fall and they didn't even go for them. I was shocked! I even offered the adults some chopped up hard-boiled eggs which they had eaten in mid-summer only to have them completely ignored in the fall. On the other hand I dumped a few hundred crickets up in the coop when only the young birds were there (while the adults were mixed in with the neighbor's flock) and they went bananas chasing them down and gobbling them up. So...I actually did read somewhere that free-range guineas switch from bugs to weed seeds later in the season but I don't know if that reflects their change in preference or just a change in what is available...but I'm starting to guess that it is due to preference. Since I added scratch to their diet I also added oyster shell grit and the little piles I dump up there seem to disappear...so they must like that also. It will be interesting to see if their preference seems to change as the laying season and warmer weather approach. I do plan on turing them loose to free-range soon so I might not get a really accurate picture of their true preferences and dietary changes.
     
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  7. Granny Hatchet

    Granny Hatchet Tastes like chicken

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    thank you rob, i will try the scratch and see if it helps. they have everything else you mentioned. except the crickets, and thats not gonna happen.lol the lady bugs did a infestation and they didnt eat them. i couldnt imagine dumping that many crickets and them getting on me.
     
  8. Well, so the latest is that the birds "let themselves out" yesterday. After all my delay somehow the door fell open and the 5 adults and about 26 of the 39 young birds took off and started foraging as one flock. I scared the remaining young birds over into the smaller part of the loft and locked them in so I could keep them in but still leave the door open so the escaped birds could return. The adult guineas were seen to be trying to get the younger birds to fly up to the loft...much too early to roost but maybe just to teach them how to do it. My big fear had been that either the older birds would leave and go back to the neighbor's or worse...they'd lead the young birds over there with them. Instead the older birds put themselves up in the loft to roost but the 26 young birds did not return. I wandered all over with a flashlight and couldn't find them anywhere. Luckily, they all showed up this morning (I might have lost a few but I couldn't seem to count them) and all the birds free-ranged all day. I spent the morning building additional free-standing perches to "stair-step" the young birds up into the loft. I was worried that they were a bit too fat and unconditioned to fly up to the main perch that leads into the loft. I waited until I felt that they should have roosted before disturbing them only to find zero birds in the loft. Instead of the younger birds following the older, more experienced birds the older birds had followed the clueless young birds and were smack-dab in the middle of a field as the darkness settled in. I herded them over to the barn where the older birds seemed to very meticulously use the stair-step perches as if they were showing the younger birds what to do despite the fact that they have no trouble flying up to the main perch. The young birds apparently really were too fat and unconditioned to fly up to the main perch from the ground (about 8') as a few struggled to try it. They very slowly moved up from the ground to each successive perch but eventually it got too dark for them to see and some of them were stuck out on the perches and appeared to be settling in to roost. I managed to pluck a few up by hand and put them into the loft. Then I turned the lights on in the barn and herded the last 6 or so into the barn. I turned the lights off and had to try and keep my flashlight beams from giving them a chance to use the light to find a hiding spot. Eventually I found them all (there's a lot of stuff stored in the barn so they weren't all that easy to find once they had scattered). So, tonight they are all in the loft and since I'll be out of town for a few days I locked them in. When I get back I'll try letting them out in the evening so they don't have time to roam too far and I'll just have to be there as the sun sets to make sure that they are on the right track. Eventually they should figure it out.
     
  9. Granny Hatchet

    Granny Hatchet Tastes like chicken

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    geez, what a mess! i guess they are hard to count. i dont know if this would work for you but it is worth a try. put a few mirrors in the coop, they do love looking at themself.
     
  10. I did lose a few birds the night they spent out. I probably lost 6 birds. I let them out on Thanksgiving and they seemed to have a great time all day (a few spent most of the day in the coop instead of with the flock) and I watched them most of the day while the whole family enjoyed the Thanksgiving festivities. That night I hearded them back to the coop as it started to get dark and all of them seemed to get the idea except for a few that flew up to the roof of the barn. They were trying to figure out how to fly down to the main perch so I gave them some privacy so I wouldn't distract them. Well, I went out after it was completely dark and found 10 birds perched on the power line going to the barn. They had to spend the night out there and it was in the low 20's. I left the loft door open so that they could get back in in the morning. They next day they were all milling about as one big flock. I mentioned that I lost 6 birds but some might have been from that first night that 26 or so spent the night out and some might have been lost the night of Thanksgiving. Anyhow, later that day I did lose a bird to a hawk, but it was a runt that had a leg problem and it's days were numbered. I hearded the flock toward the coop/loft as the sun started to set but much earlier than when they usually roost and the adults flew up immediately and all but 6 of the other birds stair-stepped up to the main perch and went into the loft. The remaining 6 needed some encouragement and I had to cut them off as they tried to go either into the bamboo grove or into the blueberry grove. As it started to really get dark they stair-stepped up to the main perch and scooted into the loft and I locked them in for the night (and really, for the next four days as I was going out of town and there was, after all, a hungry hawk in the area). I think they have the basic idea and I'll be interested to see how they do.
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