How do I integrate new keets with old chickens?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Pico de Gallo, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Pico de Gallo

    Pico de Gallo In the Brooder

    Jan 18, 2012
    ABQ, NM
    First off, apologies if you've been following my dilemma in the peafowl section. It's morphed into a more guineafowl-centric issue, and thought it'd be more appropriate over here...

    I'm about to order 3-4 peachicks and 12 guinea keets, but I'm still at a loss as to how I should integrate all these fowl.

    Here's what I have to play with:
    Main chicken coop + uncovered run. Selling some hens right now, by the time guineas arrive I hope be down to 4-5 speckled sussex and black star hens + one polish rooster. IF he doesn't piss us off. The coop's plenty big enough to accomodate 20+ chickens and guineas, if I decide to go that route.

    Chicken tractor. 4x8' with two overhead roost/laying areas.

    Large auxiliary 'summer' run. 15 x 50', fruit trees, and one fenceline backs against my vertical veggie-garden arbor. A regular foraging paradise.

    10 x 20' fenced-in (6' cyclone fence) utility run. Used to store building materials until it got to small, then used for raising meat birds, and right now it's empty. Would be a cinch to cover with netting, if necessary.

    Early plan:
    Raise keets and peachicks in separate sunroom brooders until weather/age permits outdoor accomodations. Move peachicks into utility run, keep in here until they're old enough to freerange.

    Tentative plan A:
    Move fledgling keets into Chicken coop, keep them cooped up for another 4-8 weeks, then release to free-range. Meanwhile I'd move chickens OUT of coop and into tractor + summer run, and once the keets are big enough, integrate the two species in the main run. This plan makes the keets more likely to imprint on the coop while keeping them locked down, but it segregates them from the chickens...less likelyhood of being picked on while young at the expense of not socializing with chickens during early development. I'd rather they spent their youth as kids in one, big, diverse, happy family...but I could be totally off!

    Tentative plan B:
    Move fledgling keets into tractor (inside summer run), keep them in tractor for another 6-8 weeks, then release to free-range. They might still join the chickens. Or not. I'm fine with them adopting the tractor as their permanent home.

    Tentative plan C:
    Move fledgling keets directly into the Chicken coop/run, keep them with the chickens (albeit unconfined) and hope they don't feel wanderlust. Don't know whether this'll work...when do guineas begin flying? Will the chickens make their lives hell? I like that the keets will get that early chicken socialization, but I don't like that they won't be strictly confined within a covered run during that initial, seemingly ubiquitous 6+ wk prison sentence.

    Alternative plan D:
    Buy eggs, not day-olds. Stick keets in the coop and allow broody hen to hatch them, in accordance with plan C. I should just hope no chicken turns egg-eater on me. I'd incubate the peafowl eggs myself...the girls are pretty good, but still, every 3-4 wks I do find splattered egg wreckage and with peafowl I'm not taking chances.


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