WallyBirdie

Songster
Aug 2, 2019
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I like to say "Guineas are stupid people." And I say this with humor and affection.
They can be clever... to an extent. But how smart are they?

ALL of my guineas can easily jump/fly over the fence to free range. They do this regularly. This is intentional.
But... getting them BACK into the pen? Any time they want in, they don't jump/fly back in. They run back and forth along the fence instead. If they try to make the jump and fail the first time, they panic until I come over to open the gate.

My adults rarely go back in without me opening the gate.
My juveniles- just today, 5/6 went in on their own! I was so proud. But... is this luck, or learning?

It's probably a one time deal.
 
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R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
I like to say "Guineas are stupid people." And I say this with humor and affection.
They can be clever... to an extent. But how smart are they?

ALL of my guineas can easily jump/fly over the fence to free range. They do this regularly. This is intentional.
But... getting them BACK into the pen? Any time they want in, they don't jump/fly back in. They run back and forth along the fence instead. If they try to make the jump and fail the first time, they panic until I come over to open the gate.

My adults never go back in by themselves.
My juveniles- just today, 5/6 went in on their own! I was so proud. But... is this luck, or learning?

It's probably a one time deal.
The trouble with judging the intelligence of guineas is mistaking instinctive behavior and intelligence. Much of what guineas do is because of instinctive behavior. Guineas are capable of learning which implies that they are not stupid. They can be taught new behaviors through treats, discouragement and repetition.

My guineas learned very early on that they are required to go in the coop before night falls. I don't use treats, I have not taught them to come to a call but they have learned to understand that when I holler at them that it is time to quit dawdling and head to the coop. I normally herd them into the coop every evening. If I happen to be late, they will already be in the coop waiting for me to shut them in. The only exception is when a hen or hens has decided to go broody on a hidden nest. In those cases, I have to chase the hen off of the nest and herd her into the coop.
 

WallyBirdie

Songster
Aug 2, 2019
567
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The trouble with judging the intelligence of guineas is mistaking instinctive behavior and intelligence. Much of what guineas do is because of instinctive behavior. Guineas are capable of learning which implies that they are not stupid. They can be taught new behaviors through treats, discouragement and repetition.

My guineas learned very early on that they are required to go in the coop before night falls. I don't use treats, I have not taught them to come to a call but they have learned to understand that when I holler at them that it is time to quit dawdling and head to the coop. I normally herd them into the coop every evening. If I happen to be late, they will already be in the coop waiting for me to shut them in. The only exception is when a hen or hens has decided to go broody on a hidden nest. In those cases, I have to chase the hen off of the nest and herd her into the coop.
I herd mine in without a problem every evening. They know the route without much proper. Otherwise they wait outside the gate for me to put them in. I'm curious as to why they run along the fence when they could easily get in.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,184
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Natrona County, Wyoming
I herd mine in without a problem every evening. They know the route without much proper. Otherwise they wait outside the gate for me to put them in. I'm curious as to why they run along the fence when they could easily get in.
That appears to be a bird thing and not just a guinea fowl thing. I have watched chickens, guineas and turkeys run back and forth along a fence for maybe a 10' length. There may be an open gate just beyond the area they going back and forth in but they just won't go far enough to get to the gate unless something distracts them from the direction the gate is in. In both cases of the turkeys and guineas, they could just fly over the fence but won't unless some outside influence causes them to take flight.

My conclusion is that it is just normal bird behavior.
 

WallyBirdie

Songster
Aug 2, 2019
567
1,268
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That appears to be a bird thing and not just a guinea fowl thing. I have watched chickens, guineas and turkeys run back and forth along a fence for maybe a 10' length. There may be an open gate just beyond the area they going back and forth in but they just won't go far enough to get to the gate unless something distracts them from the direction the gate is in. In both cases of the turkeys and guineas, they could just fly over the fence but won't unless some outside influence causes them to take flight.

My conclusion is that it is just normal bird behavior.
That is delightfully quirky! I don't know much about turkeys, and I'm always learning more about chickens, but guineas- I often wonder how they work. I've consulted the internet on the past but the information wasn't reliable. In fact, I read that guineas cannot be herded and are loud and- etc.
I know they can be loud but, to me, that is part of their charm, and I love the happy little whistles when they get food. And, like you mentioned, they can be herded. So, it's hard to be sure about internet accuracy.

I like your bird behavior theory.
 

mkeawsh

Woody Hollow
Premium member
12 Years
Sep 23, 2007
458
117
221
Beaufort, MO
The trouble with judging the intelligence of guineas is mistaking instinctive behavior and intelligence. Much of what guineas do is because of instinctive behavior. Guineas are capable of learning which implies that they are not stupid. They can be taught new behaviors through treats, discouragement and repetition.

My guineas learned very early on that they are required to go in the coop before night falls. I don't use treats, I have not taught them to come to a call but they have learned to understand that when I holler at them that it is time to quit dawdling and head to the coop. I normally herd them into the coop every evening. If I happen to be late, they will already be in the coop waiting for me to shut them in. The only exception is when a hen or hens has decided to go broody on a hidden nest. In those cases, I have to chase the hen off of the nest and herd her into the coop.

My guineas go in the barn on a high beam every dusk on their own. If I am late coming to turn off the light, I can hear them in the house screaming at me to get out there and turn off the light. The second it is off, they quiet down and I close the door. Sometimes I will have to make a trip in after they are asleep and I really believe that several of them snore and others whistle in their sleep. :)
 

The Angry Hen

Crossing the Road
Dec 17, 2016
3,720
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Maine
My Coop
My Coop
I've been down to one older Guinea for awhile now (he lives with my chickens and his name is Henny). He is a very clever bird. I used to have had seven- but they passed from a predator and natural causes.
As a flock- they VERY much had their routines and Henny does now. Maybe not schedules, but routines. They'd wander the bottom of the barn every morning at a specific time, they'd used the stairs like I taught them, going back up before dusk... until a fox got 2, I merrily free ranged them.

Every night, Henny will roost in the rafters and whistle from beneath his wing. I tend to think that Guineas are amazingly- in discreet- smart creatures. As @R2elk had mentioned... most of what they do is by instinct and perception. Each person has a different flock and a different way of training them. :)
 

WallyBirdie

Songster
Aug 2, 2019
567
1,268
226
I've been down to one older Guinea for awhile now (he lives with my chickens and his name is Henny). He is a very clever bird. I used to have had seven- but they passed from a predator and natural causes.
As a flock- they VERY much had their routines and Henny does now. Maybe not schedules, but routines. They'd wander the bottom of the barn every morning at a specific time, they'd used the stairs like I taught them, going back up before dusk... until a fox got 2, I merrily free ranged them.

Every night, Henny will roost in the rafters and whistle from beneath his wing. I tend to think that Guineas are amazingly- in discreet- smart creatures. As @R2elk had mentioned... most of what they do is by instinct and perception. Each person has a different flock and a different way of training them. :)
I am sorry for your losses but Henny sounds incredible!
I know that guineas can be intelligent. But they behave silly sometimes and are fun to watch.
I actually think my juveniles may he smarter than the adults. It os getting late and they ALL went inside without any help! Smart little ones. If they keep this up, maybe they'll teach the adults! (Maybe?) Goodness, I'm stoked!
 
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