HELP! _ Adding three 6 week old chicks to Guinea flock

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Colettedre, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Colettedre

    Colettedre Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2011
    Whitney Point, New York
    I am putting three 6 week old production red chicks in with 3 year old Guinea Fowl - today is the day. The chicks are still in a rabbit hutch, but after cleaning the coop out today (while the Guinea's were out terrorizing the bugs in the yard) and putting down deep fresh pine shavings, I left the hutch with the chicks in the coop. My questions are:
    In a few days when the Guinea's are more used to the chicks and I let the chicks out of the rabbit hutch do I keep giving the chicks the medicated crumble they are eating now = or can I just let them eat the higher protein Turkey grower that the Guinea's eat. If I keep giving the chicks the medicated crumble and if the guineas eat some of it also - is this a problem since we collect and eat the guinea eggs. Does anyone have any suggestions as to when we can let the new chicks out of the coop to free range - and do you think they will follow the guinea's or will chicks just stay near the coop. When we got the guineas we had to keep them in the coop for 6 weeks so that they would know it was home (they are VERY thick headed birds) are chicken chicks the same - or will these little guys just know to come back home by themselves?
    Anyone have any other suggestions - I would appreciate any and all advice.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  2. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    do I keep giving the chicks the medicated crumble they are eating now = or can I just let them eat the higher protein Turkey grower that the Guinea's eat?I give my growing keets Game Bird (NOT MEDICATED) feed that is 30% until they are about 6 weeks old, then drop them to a 19% Game Bird Conditioner feed. If I keep giving the chicks the medicated crumble and if the guineas eat some of it also - is this a problem since we collect and eat the guinea eggs. No, not a problem. The medicated starter is actually NOT a medication but a thiamine blocker and harmless to eggs and humans. It works by blocking a needed nutrient to the cocci protozoan.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to when we can let the new chicks out of the coop to free range - and do you think they will follow the guinea's or will chicks just stay near the coop? I let some of mine out at 6-8 weeks to free range. I have a group of 4 hen raised chicks, who are 8 weeks old, and they have been out free ranging for about 2 weeks. They are very susceptible to predators, especially the flying kind so only you can answer if you have safeguards in place, I have a good dog and some mean geese. The Guineas will stay with their chick flock-mates and not so much the other way around. Guineas are much more flock oriented especially when they are young. For instance, the wind blew the top off the pen where I was keeping 2 chicks and 5 Guinea keets. The 5 keets had all flown out (only about 3-4 weeks old). I couldn't find them anywhere but at dusk, I saw some small flock of lavender birds fly into the pasture ALL together and then they hit the ground and moved like a school of fish all together staying just an inch or two apart. Yep, it was those little keets. It was heck rounding them up. When we got the guineas we had to keep them in the coop for 6 weeks so that they would know it was home (they are VERY thick headed birds) are chicken chicks the same - or will these little guys just know to come back home by themselves? Chickens are VERY routine and will want to roost in the same place. I take by "thick headed," you mean, they do what they want to, go where they want and they can just change what is "routine" on moments notice-- like suddenly deciding, they are going to roost in a tree high up instead of going in the coop like they have always done. Well, that's just Guineas. Chickens always go in, always go home. Some of my chickens, with the doors open so they can come out, want to stay in their pens. Guineas wouldn't do that.

    Anyone have any other suggestions - I would appreciate any and all advice. A little advice we hear a lot on Guineas is that it is best to have at least 10 Guineas because the Guinea cocks will need sparring partners and you don't want it to be your chickens. There are some exceptions but you are taking a risk if you have too few Guineas. Guineas pair up so it is best to have as close as possible to a 50/50 ratio of cocks to hens. About medicated starter: I don't use it. IMHO, you should keep the living quarters clean (dry litter, clean water daily and good nutrition (i.e. a high quality feed)) but also, I raise a lot of mine right out in the coop, never a grain of medicated feed. They develop natural immunity through direct exposure to the dirty coop floor from day one -- ground fed birds are exposed to infective oocysts throughout their lives. Others, that I must raise in a brooder, I get outside on the ground as soon as possible because the sooner they develop natural immunity, the better. I don't like mine on medicated feeder because I believe it blocks a vital nutrient, and I want birds growing well. If you use medicated feeder, later give a vitamin supplement. Just me.

    P.S. Welcome to BYC Forum.​
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  3. Colettedre

    Colettedre Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for all of the information. I did start with 10 keets 3 years ago, mine are French Guinea's and I have lost 5 total to various problems, one frightened to death by a hawk, two just ran across the lawn and died mid -step, one I had put down because it could not stand up (splayed legs and toes that went the wrong way, tried to correct, did not work), one keet died at 2 weeks old. The remaining 5 are hardy and very predictable once they and I understand their rules (lol). They always go into their coop at night, have never roosted in trees etc. I have 2 females and 3 males and they chase each other around once and awhile but generally behave with each other. I am adding 3 production red pullet chicks to the group. If I understood your information correctly they will be just fine with the turkey grower pellets. I always keep 6-8 inches of dry pine shavings on the coop floor (small coop, 8x10 ft) and have never had any problems with disease in my birds, I change their water frequently, coop is off the ground and predator protected (no holes or gaps that don't have hardware cloth nailed over them).
    I have been watching the guinea's since I put the rabbit hutch with the young birds in the coop (last night) and the only thing they have done differently is they roosted last night facing the rabbit hutch instead of the wall - keeping an eye on the newbies I guess - this morning they were all on the floor sitting quietly. I expected them to scream and carry on some when we put the hutch with the little ones in the coop - but they don't seem to be very concerned. We keep the guineas in the coop until they lay their two eggs each day so that they don't lay them in the field and go broody on them since I do not want oodles of keets to worry about and only have a small coop to house them in.
    You answered most of my questions - thank you again - I do not know how chickens behave so I will do like I did with the keets when we first let them out and watch them carefully. We never let our birds out of the coop unless we are home in-case there is a predator around. We see an occasional hawk, but I encourage crows in our yard and they are very good a chasing the hawks away. I have seen a coyote or two in the area (more hear them than see them) but that has not been a problem so far. The coop is secure at night and I suppose that has keep many problems at bay.
     
  4. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NE Alabama
    Oh, you are already a pro with Guineas. We can learn some things from you. I hear the French Guineas are calmer.

    My 14 adult Guineas are just the Helmeted Guineas (hatched last August), and I have a tough little group I am very proud of: 1 solid white female, the others are mostly Pearl and some with various Pied about them. They seem pretty tame at times walking around me & up to me but then the silliest things alarm them. I hatched the group under hens and let the chickens raise them.

    Their first keets produced a few Lavenders, a lot of (more) Pied and some Pearl so I am guarding the Lavendars especially. I have a Game hen raising a group of 20 keets but I am raising the Lavenders separately inside in a brroder because I found they were failing initially outside in the coop with a hen (they seemed weaker and I lost one lavender keet).

    Right now I have 33 keets of different ages.

    The Production Red Chicks should grow better on the higher turkey starter. Compared with my Helmeted Guineas, all Chickens I have ever had are tame and easier that way but less independent. The Guineas do their own thing and go places I wouldn't permit my big Buckeye hens -- they'd surely become a meal for some predator out in the woods.
     
  5. Colettedre

    Colettedre Out Of The Brooder

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    Holy cow - 33 keets - just boggles my mind - That many would over run everything in my yard and up and down the street too !
    I think you must be right about my French Guineas being calmer - they can be really really nuts sometimes -- like don't ever try to catch and pick one up - heaven help me if one does get sick and I need to get hold of it - I am not sure either of us would survive. I threw a towel over one of them after a hawk tried to get hold of it the first year - (big guinea, not so big hawk) - feathers everywhere) and when I finally caught it to take a look at it it was huffing and puffing and totally ticked off. I have a friend who has scars from trying to catch one of his Guineas. But mostly they do their thing and I let them do pretty much what they want and if they roam so far that I can't see/hear them or they go across the street then I call them in offering some white millet treat - they always come in for that.

    My little production reds caught on to the millet treat in one day. Now if one jumps up out of the rabbit hutch when I am changing the water I call 'treat', put some millet in my hand and the chick comes directly to me so that I can grab it with my other hand and put it back. I am hoping this will be useful.,

    Do I need to start mixing some of the turkey grower pellets in with the chicks 'crumble' for a few days before I let them out of the hutch? I am thinking that because the openings to the hutch are on the top that perhaps I should move them to an old dog kennel with a door on the side so that they can go in and out in-case they need to get away from the Guinea fowl ? They are darling little chicks at 6 weeks, almost completely feathered and have nice personalities - I am a bit afraid of letting them loose with the guinea's. I do suppose that if there is going to be a problem it will happen pretty quickly not hours and hours after I put them all in together....

    Also, the Guinea Fowl just knew to go and get grit and oyster shell when they need it - both are in holders mounted on the coop wall - or should I put some in pans for the chicks?

    Thanks again for writing back - I am sure it will all work out - I am just not experienced with what these little guys are going to get them selves into and what the Guinea's are going to decide is OK while dealing with them... [​IMG] I also no not have any sort of run for the birds - when they leave the coop they are out in the yard - woods to one side, field on another, road way out front. Do chickens go really far from the coop like the Guinea's do?

    Oh - you mentioned vitamins for the birds - what kind - is it something you add to the water?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  6. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    I am interested in the progress.... [​IMG] Going to be in the same situation eventually. Just learning... [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. snyd08

    snyd08 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] my neighbor put in young cockerals with 3 of his large pearls. He called me two days after i gave them to him and he said they killed them. very pretty EE roosters. i was very upset. so be careful guineas will express dominance and pullets are not the most bossy! some can be tho [​IMG]
     
  8. Colettedre

    Colettedre Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2011
    Whitney Point, New York
    Yea, I am trying to err on the side of caution. I have the 6 week old pullets in a wire dog crate in the coop right now letting the Guinea get used to them. When I finally decide to let the chicks out I have the door to the crate facing a wall so that the chicks can get out and get back in but the guinea can't follow them in.

    They have been together for 3 nights so far and 2 partial days, no problems so far, but the guineas have not had them moving around on their roost or near their food or water. Sooo, when I let the little ones out I will be right at the coop window watching and if I am not there watching I will be listening from not too far away.

    If the Guineas refuse to let them blend in I am prepared (well, my husband has volunteered) to build an addition onto the coop so that they can be kept separately. I certainly hope it does not come to that.

    All this for three little production reds... [​IMG]
     
  9. tennesseekorn

    tennesseekorn New Egg

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    I am new to guineas and chickens and have a flock of ten guineas that are nearly 1 year old. I just introduced 8 new chickens into the house this spring. My best luck has been to screen off three sections of my coop with plastic screen, 2x4's , zipties and fencing staples. I use caribiners and clothes pins to close the screen doors at night and for many weeks kept the new chickens from the guineas. I had one incident of pecking when one of the chicks escaped and lost that chick. I have just now started to let the little chicks out during the day and they are learning to keep out of the way of the guineas. When they see a guinea coming they run the other way. A lot of little hiding spots works well in my coop. The guineas have definately made it known they are the bosses of the house. I will not feel 100% secure until the chicks are full grown and can hold their own against the guineas. I love my guineas and chickens! (I also have a 1 year old RIR rooster that I don't really love so much right now.) Good luck!
     
  10. Colettedre

    Colettedre Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2011
    Whitney Point, New York
    Your method is how it is going to go - I think.
    I opened the dog crate door in the coop a little this morning (and whereas the guineas did not pay much attention before), wow as soon as one of my little girls left the kennel all hell broke loose in the coop. The pullet chick ran back inside the crate -(OK, so now I know they have enough sense to run back to the dog crate fro safety).
    Then when I was changing the chicks water (I open the top of the crate to do this) all three ran out - ALL - 5 guineas reacted immediately - the chicks made a "b line' back to the safety of the crate, one of the guineas followed and almost squeezed itself into the crate with the chicks. Glad I was right there. Needless to say I closed the crate door and latched it. I stood at the coop window and watched the guineas for awhile and a few of them pecked at the crate a few times, one got itself behind the crate (there was a small 6" space between the crate and the wall) and made a fuss getting itself out again.

    So, what I have learned today is it is OK if the chicks stay in the crate but the guineas do not want them moving around the coop. I am thinking it is some sort of instinct - if it moves they will make a meal of it - or try to.

    So this is going to take a lot longer than I thought it would and I am thinking that they may never be able to share the coop at all.....

    I think I will speak to my husband about adding the addition to the side of the coop to make room for the chickens, they certainly can't stay in the dog crate for long - they are going to grow out of it) . My coop is only 8'x10' and the roost ladder takes up most of the space, no room to put a chick run inside of this coop. My husband I spoke about putting chicken wire between the sections so the birds could see each other but not get to each other and then put another door for the chickens to go in and out through. I wonder if I am going to need to keep the chickens in a run to keep them safe from the guineas outside too - until they are used to having them around - which could be months and months - guineas are not very accepting of change. I don't know why I thought that having feathers would help ease the transition ! [​IMG]

    Thanks for the input - I am going to be able to write a book about this if I can keep the chicks and the guineas in the same small coop - lol [​IMG]

    ~Colette
     

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