How do we know if our guinea is sick/injured or just a loan wolf?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by HoneyDreameMom, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. HoneyDreameMom

    HoneyDreameMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 5, 2013
    We have seven guineas and about a month ago, one of them just started staying away from the other six. We jokingly said she must think she was a goat, because she would spend most of her day hanging out in the pasture with our goats instead of following the rest of the flock around in their usual pattern around the house and barn. It seemed like she was staying away from the group of her own accord, and whenever she did want to rejoin the flock, there was no issue. However, just the past few days, whenever she has tried to integrate herself back in with the flock, the dominant male is having nothing to with it. When she approaches any of the other guineas, he chases her off. The only exception to this seems to be at night when he lets her roost with the flock. Any thoughts on this one?
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Male Guineas chasing other birds in the flock is normal/typical male Guinea behavior, especially during breeding season. I have plenty of males in my flocks that pick on/chase off any Hens that are not in their little "harem's"... my birds don't pair up, they usually form trios or quads (sub-flocks), with the males being very possessive/protective of their own little sub-flocks.

    It is possible she's being ostracized from the flock (low bird in the pecking order) tho, and you are just catching the beginning of the process of it happening... but are you sure she doesn't have a nest of eggs she's working on building somewhere out in the goat pasture? I'd keep an eye on her, and how the male and the rest of the flock treats her, and I'd be sure to check around for a hidden pile of eggs. If she suddenly stops roosting with the flock at night, or disappears completely all day/night except for a quick bite to eat or drink then she may be on a nest.

    If you don't find a nest anywhere and the chasing off gets worse... I would catch and confine the offending male for a while and see if the Hen is allowed to rejoin the flock while he is penned up (for at least a few days).
     
  3. HoneyDreameMom

    HoneyDreameMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Pretty sure there aren't any eggs - our guineas aren't fully grown yet. Close enough I'll definitely check, but we weren't expecting eggs for another month or two, or given guinea egg laying habits, possibly not till the Spring. She doesn't seem to be hiding or going off for extended periods of time either. She just hangs out with the goats - sometimes with the chickens - and forages for food on her own.

    We were observing her pretty closely yesterday, and for the first time we've seen the male guinea try to chase her away from the flock at evening/roosting time. However, every time he did, all the other hens went crazy calling for her, so she'd come back, but just roost a little further away from the rest of them.

    Sounds like your idea of confining the male for a few days might be what needs to happen. Thanks for the advice!
     
  4. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Young Guinea Hens can start laying as early as 15-16 weeks of age (some have reported they've gotten eggs at 14 weeks), and the males even become sexually mature a little sooner than that... right now is the normal time of year for breeding and laying. If your Guineas were hatched earlier this season it would not be uncommon to see eggs before the the seasons change, temps cool down and daylight hours shorten. But yes typically they lay (regularly) the following Spring after they were hatched.

    So since you don't think she's laying, it sounds to me that your Alpha male is just a flock bully. She's his target and knows it, so she chooses to keep her distance. Can't say I blame her.

    Some males, especially young males that are really flooded with the rush of hormones as they mature get a little too big for their feather britches, and need to be taken down a peg or 2... usually caging/penning them up alone for a week or so lets the flock settle down, regroup and reorganize the pecking order so that when the bully is finally let back in with the flock his place as Alpha has been taken by the next in line. This doesn't always work, but it may at least give the little Hen a chance to get some of her confidence back. If while the bully male is penned up the rest of the flock starts picking on her... I'd just let her hang with the goats and chickens [​IMG]. Typically all the bullying in my flocks subsides once the weather gets cold and rainy... then it starts all over again come Springtime. Welcome to the joys of Guineas... lol [​IMG]
     
  5. HoneyDreameMom

    HoneyDreameMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 5, 2013
    Thanks! They are a bit crazy, but we love them already. I can honestly say they do something everyday that makes me laugh. [​IMG]
     

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