Help. What can I do about guineas being mean to chickens?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by 4 Chicken peeps, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. 4 Chicken peeps

    4 Chicken peeps New Egg

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    We have 7 guineas (2-female and 5-male) and 3 chickens...all hens. 1-New Hampshire, 1-Barred Rock, 1-Silkie- all sweet docile hens. Although we like the guineas, mainly because the help a LOT with bugs, they've become very mean and aggressive with the chickens. They constantly attack one in particular. Need to find a way to stop them OR get rid of the guineas! Appreciate any help or suggestions you may have.
    Thank you!!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Guinea fowl at times can act like a gang of teen aged brats. The only sure way to stop this behavior is to separate the hens from the guinea fowl. They may very well kill their 'target' hen, and then most likely they will start on another. It's just the nature of the beast in my experience.
     
  3. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I got my first guineas the alpha male would go after my chickens and his two buddies would join the 'fun'. After I sold the alpha the other guineas never bothered the chickens. I've added a lot of guineas since then but have never had the problem again. Sometimes there is just a bad apple in the bunch that instigates the trouble.

    You do need to protect the chicken hens until you solve the problem tho. [​IMG]
     
  4. mommaguinea

    mommaguinea Chillin' With My Peeps

    They really do have different personalities!
     
  5. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there -

    We keep our guineas and chickens together with no problem (now), but starting out we had to work out some bugs and I will share that with you, because I think could be helpful to you.

    Guineas need more space per bird than chickens or they go bonkers. Even for guineas. In my coop, I have a very high guinea sized window/door that I open during the day so the guineas can get out if and when they want to and the hens cannot or should not be let out for some reason. Personally, I like to keep the hens in the coop until about 1pm, it cuts down on the "secret nests", but the guineas need to be able to get out or they get aggressive towards the hens.

    While this coop was being built, I had some hens & guineas in a portable thing but with the generous end of the recommended stocking rate for chickens, not guineas. There was no way to let out the guineas but not the hens and we were having some dog troubles at the time so they couldn't all be let out for a while - a few weeks. Our one male guinea literally went nuts and would attack the other rooster and one hen in particular, and also continually ram himself against the side of the portable pen. It was really sad. We couldn't get them separated for a while longer, we knew, so we ate him (!). He was really tasty, BTW.

    We do eat our livestock, but if we didn't we would have put him in a dog kennel and craigslisted him free or cheap to a home where he could range, maybe advertising him as a tick vaccum. ;) The other remaining guinea fowl were not a problem at all as far as bullying or crazy-even-for-a-guinea behavior, even before the bigger coop was operational.

    It does sound like there is too much testosterone in your coop at the moment. I would consider eating or selling the more aggressive males, and keeping at least one (relatively) docile male in case you want fertile eggs.

    Are there any differences in lower breast patterning you can discern in the alpha male? Sometimes there is a slight difference - I have a daughter who can tell all my pearl guineas apart. She's always like, "no, that's not Polka-dot, it's Air-horn!"

    It isn't as easy to catch them at night like it is for chickens, but holding a flashlight really close and walking slowly toward them (all people need to be out of/behind the light) and then quickly grabbing the body while holding the wings down is the easiest method for everyone. But of course, the classic barnyard chase with a fishing net will do the job, too. Especially if you need to catch the alpha male in the act & cannot distinguish him from the others.

    Well, I hope this helps. Once we figured out how to keep peace & give everyone their space, the guineas have been so much fun to have around. And of course they help with those ticks.

    Are you in east central MN by chance? My only male was taken by a fox recently, and I am looking for a male to keep for fertilized eggs.
     
  6. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    Highly disagree with it being a space issue. I've had guineas several separate times and every time they caused so much problems they were got rid of.

    Every time, except for the very last pair, all were completely free range... sleep in trees, never confined, not even in a coop for the night. Can't get more spacen/on-confined than that.


    Some have claimed there is basically a magic number- the idea being above this number, the guineas do all their behavior nonsense on each other and leave rest of the flock alone. Below this number, they get 'frustrated' by not being able to be their 'fullest guinea selves' and take out some of their behavior on other species.

    I'm not so sure about that, as a couple times I started out with flock of 15 guineas or even one time, 50 keets.

    My guess it's more of a gamble than anything else- for every success story, there's a failure story.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  7. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kev, what kind of problems did you have? Just curious.

    I've only had about 6 adults at a time. I'm not disagreeing with your comment about the space; it seemed to be the answer for me. However, your experience makes me wonder if it could just be that that one male was too aggressive and needed to be eaten, because the problem went away after he did. I have read that they need more space than the chickens, but of course real life experience trumps that!! I've only had two small flocks of guineas over the past few years, nothing like what you've dealt with.

    "Their fullest guinea selves" ROFL
     
  8. 4 Chicken peeps

    4 Chicken peeps New Egg

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    Thanks everyone for all the helpful info. We have almost 5 acres and the guineas are never kept in the coup. We did coup them when they were young, but free after about 4 months. Chickens free range during the day and are in coup for the night. We targeted the alpha guinea and got rid of him yesterday. Ever since then, the remaining male guineas (4) and 2 female have been quieter and have NOT targeted my hens!!
    Grateful for the help!!
     
  9. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for letting us know. Sometimes just getting rid of the troublemaker can change the attitude of the whole flock. Enjoy your flock. [​IMG]

    By the way.............[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  10. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's wonderful news!!
     

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