How to get Guineas to go in to the coop at night?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by JimWWhite, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. JimWWhite

    JimWWhite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Any ideas on how to encourage my five guineas to go in to the coop at night? It's getting colder and I want them to go in for the night but I just can't get them to go. They're in the same run as 24 BSL pullets and there doesn't seem to be any problems between them and the BSLs. The guineas and pullets are all about 20 weeks old by now. We have a large 4x8 coop within the confines of a covered and fenced in run but they'd rather roost up on a long pole that goes across the back corner of the run. I'd left one of the front doors of the coop open the other night and they flew up on it and roosted there when I came to check on them after dark. I was able to pick one up from the door and put her in the coop but when I turned back around to get another one they all flew off to other parts of the run and I wasn't able to catch another one. Meanwhile the one I put in the coop popped back out. After I left and came back they were back up on their roosting pole over in the back corner.

    It's going to get too cold for them to be out all night long pretty soon. We live here in central NC and it rarely gets down in the low teens but it will get below freezing a lot of nights this winter. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    removing the pole comes to mind first. since they at least go into the pen. possibly late treats or food in the coop. ours go inth tne coop each night, fill up, then go to roosts with the chickens.

    RobertH
     
  3. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would herd them in late in the afternoon or close to dusk. do it gently. may take a month or so.
     
  4. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Both previous suggestions sound good, over time ... seems they need plenty of patience on your part. And, I wouldn't remove where they currently [edit] roost [/edit] unless they're using one inside (or they might just go find another outside). Guineas prefer more distance from the ground, and tend to face the wall/roof when indoors. Also, they will abandon any roost(s) that they get dropped on from above (one of their few signs of intelligence ~'-)
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  5. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    good point, I presumed that any coop would have roosting space. but I am glad you actually said it.

    RobertH
     
  6. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'[d suggested to another on here the thought of building a containment area w/in the coop itself, so as to allow the extended time req'd to (re)train guineas ... she had a new male that roosted in "his tree" despite havin' a perfectly good coop right below. He may never choose to leave that tree behind ...
     
  7. cackler

    cackler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All of my guineas and chickens free-range during the day and return to the coop at night. I have had guineas that have stayed out of the coop on nights that have been negative 5 so I would say that if you are worried about the cold - they are pretty darn tolerant. (Of course mine that have chosen to stay out fo the coop ALWAYS do it on the most horrid nights - freezing, sleeting or raining!). But in answering your question here are my thoughts. Have you had them confined in the coop that you are wanting them to return to every night? From my experience, I have kept baby keets inside the coop for up to 3 months before I let them out. They need longer than a chicken to learn where to return to at night. Even after I have let them out of the confinement part of the coop, and they have access to the outside - they still take upwards of 2 weeks to leave and explore. They will return without much human help after that. I am pretty sure that I learned about this somewhere on BYC because this website is pretty much where I have learned everything about chickens & guineas. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  8. JimWWhite

    JimWWhite Chillin' With My Peeps

    We let the chickens and guineas out almost every evening about an hour before dark. The guineas return to the run when it's dark or almost dark. The chickens come back about fifteen minutes earlier than the guineas and they go right to the coop and go in and get on the roost. The guineas will go to the run but they prefer to fly up on their bar outside the coop and stay there at night. A few nights ago one of the lavender males flew up on the top of the run but I was able to get the other four inside and when I went back to get him down he flew out across the yard and ended up spending the night way up in a pine tree squawking his fool head off all night long. The next morning I went out and he was waiting by the gate to be let back in. We've never really had the guineas inside the coop except for the first week or so after we got them back in the early summer. We didn't have any of the chickens then. But at some point they just quit and refused to go into the coop altogether. One night I took one off the roosting pole and put her in the coop but when I went back to get another they all freaked out and I couldn't catch them after that. End of experiment. Guess I'll let them sort it out...




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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  9. JLeigh

    JLeigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My guineas and chickens would share a run, but never a coop. I don't know why, but to me it didn't matter. I just built another coop (inside the run) and have two coops - one for chickens, one for guineas. It wasn't expensive but my husband is a good builder. The chickens go to their coop and I close them in so the guineas have their own space and neither feel they have to compete with the other. I decide who sleeps where, not my flock, but it does take some planning and training. They'll often times self-segregate on their own with a minimal amount of training.

    Edit: I'd try to get them into the pen at night. They're far less likely to be taken by predators there, and you can take the pole into the pen for them to roost on. Also, guineas are nearly blind at night, so try getting them into the run before dark. Dusk will work well.

    I agree with RobertH. The first place to start is to get them into the pen and take down that outside pole. Herd them gently into the pen at dusk. Use lots of treats and herding sticks. If possible, two people can herd guineas in a fraction of the time one person can.

    Once they're used to going in the pen, you might have better luck getting them into the coop. Your coop may be too small for all your chickens AND the guineas, though. Evaluate the space you have for them all. More space = less stress for your birds AND YOU. :).
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  10. katt8308

    katt8308 New Egg

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    I have the same problem as you do - can't get the guineas to go inside the coop at night. We gave up last winter, after many attempts to get them inside. Only on the coldest nights did they come inside the coop on their own. Otherwise, they roost on their favorite tree branch next to the house. In all kinds of cold weather, thats where they sleep at night. I hate it, and would much rather get them inside the coop with the chickens at night. But, if they are outside, they scrunch up, tuck in their heads, and seem to be fine. In the morning, no matter what, there they are, hanging out by the back door, looking fine, and waiting for a treat.
     

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