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Introducing chickens and guineas. Anything I should know?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by cupman, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I was thinking of buying some guineas off craigslist but I am afraid to introduce them to my flock of chickens. Is there anything I should be careful about? Should I isolate them so they can see each other but not physically get to each other?
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011

  2. 1st_chicken

    1st_chicken In the Brooder

    Sep 26, 2011
    They should do fine. My chickens and guineas roost side by side at night, and they share a coop.

    The guineas might bully the chickens a little bit at first (very mildly) just to show who's boss.

    My guineas sometimes gang up on one of the roosters, but that's about it.

    They don't mind sharing their food either.
  3. Slike

    Slike Songster

    Dec 1, 2007
    Puna, Big Island, HI
    I got mine as 3-day-old keets, so if you're getting adults, it will be different in some ways. They were kept in a make-shift wire "pen" which was several feet of fencing wire looped around back to itself (with a net covered in branches and leaves to deter them from trying to fly up through), right next to the chicken coop and in their foraging territory during the day. This way they were able to interact minimally with the chickens but not be bullied, and I would intentionally feed them right next to each other on either side of the fencing so they would get used to sharing personal space. I have several silkies, dark Cornish, and an Old English Game hen in this area, and of them all the only one who tries to intimidate the keets is... of course, the silly little OEG hen. While she's smart, they're much smarter and quicker, and seem to take great pleasure in messing with her - their actions aren't violent in the least, but they play around and do things they know will tick her off just to get a rise out of her.

    Just a few nights ago I decided to see if one of my two loner silkie roosters, Brockles, would get along sleeping with them. They're about half-grown as I write this. The nights are getting chilly here, and I don't like him sleeping off by himself. Turns out they get along great. They all hang around him during the day when outside.

    From what I have been told by guinea keepers around my area and read online, they are much better with chickens if they are introduced to them at a young age. I've heard a lot of people say they will bully the chickens (not sure of the extent) at roost if they grew up separate from the other. They think on very different wavelengths than chickens, and have great differences in their body language and mannerisms, so if they don't have time while younger and more impressionable to get to know each others' ways, it feels more likely that they'd not get along as well in shared space.

    Another thing I'd like to add is that, in my own experience being around them and observing behavior, the white ones seem to be the most "mellow" in their temperments. So the particular coloring you're getting may also effect their chances of getting along. Then again, each individual is different.

    Is it possible the ones you may buy have been raised around chickens?
  4. Mara

    Mara In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2009
    Wayland, MA
    My chickens and guineas get along great. One of the chickens even took over hatching and raising some guinea keets when the mother guinea had had enough. Now the guineas will go off together but roost with the chickens and take baths with them etc.
  5. taprock

    taprock Songster

    Nov 1, 2010
    Northern L.P. Michigan
    They are just one of the flock. My two youngsters were taken in by my bantam roo. I have one hen who would rather hang out with the adult guineas than other chickens.
  6. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    BFE, CA
    Quote:If you can house them side by side for 4-6 weeks so they can see and get used to each other before integrating, (by keeping the Guineas in a large cage in the coop or their own wired off section in the coop), that typically works best. The time they will need all depends on the temperaments of all birds involved. I wouldn't just buy Guineas and turn them loose in the coop with the chickens right away tho... that normally results in aggression and other problems, (some have gotten away with it tho).

    When you finally do integrate everybody... 2 feeders, 2 waterers and extra roosting space is always helpful. So are hiding places for picked on birds to run behind and hide, but not get trapped behind.

    Good luck, hope all goes smoothly [​IMG]
  7. birdygal

    birdygal Chirping

    Sep 12, 2011
    No trouble with putting a full grown guinea in with our chickens at all.

  8. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    BFE, CA
    Quote:That's a little different situation, one lone Guinea is completely out of it's element no matter where ya put it. They are flock birds by nature, and usually always prefer the safety/security of being in a flock, so it was perfectly comfy being in with your chickens. Adding more than one, of both sexes can lead to aggression, especially at breeding time when they are protective of their mates and also very hormonally unstable [​IMG]
  9. PeepsCA has the best advice and I would suggest following them....anyway, most of what she said I was going to
    say but she added more detail and so much more advice for you....
    when I introduced my chickens to the guineas I put them side by side as Peeps said and after a month or so when
    everyone got to meet and greet face to face ( bill to bill), there were no problems.....did the same thing in introducing
    our peacock to the group......
    it will all be fine...good luck! [​IMG]
  10. terrilhb

    terrilhb Songster

    Dec 11, 2010
    Quote:[​IMG] that is what I say. I am learning and all Peeps has told me is working great. She is awesome.

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