Kicked Out of the Flock

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by TNGuineaGirl, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. TNGuineaGirl

    TNGuineaGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2011
    East Tennessee
    I have a flock of 14 free range guineas about the same age. They were all hatched out between March and June of this year. When I would introduce the new keets the older ones would chase them, but as they got older, everyone assimilated and joined together as one flock. And they stayed this way for months. Until about a week ago, two have been ostracized from the rest of the flock. The two stay to themselves and when they get near the flock, they are chased away by the other birds. I know guineas are peculiar birds, however I was hoping some one could explain this behavior. And if there are any suggestions for making the flock whole again, that would be great. Because the two lone guineas are much louder than usual (I don't think they like the new arrangement) Thanks!!
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    There always seems to be low birds in the pecking order when it comes to Guineas, unfortunately [​IMG] As the weather turns colder the bullying seems to mellow out, so maybe this is just left over frustrations from the breeding season and will eventually pass (until they start it all over again next spring!).

    In the meantime, if they are completely full-time free rangers... maybe you can try to catch and pen up the worst of the bullies, or re-home them, send them to freezer camp... whatever, just remove them from the flock (for a while or permanently) to give the low birds a chance to fit in somewhere higher in the pecking order. In my flocks, it's usually 1 or 2 bullies that start picking on a low bird or 2, then the rest of the flock follows suit in the bullying (monkey see - monkey do [​IMG] ). So I always start with dealing with the instigators first and things mellow out tremendously (can't say if that will work for your flock tho). Penning up the bullies up for a while where the others can all see them and vice versa so the pecking order can reorganize has usually worked as a pretty effective attitude adjustment flock-wide for me. Depending on how dramatic the bullies are it can take anywhere from just a few days of lock-up to as long as 2 weeks to change their attitudes tho. Unfortunately, in my experience the ostracized birds in full-time free range flocks are usually the first to get taken by predators, mostly because they don't have the protection of the rest of the flock watching their back and warning of predators etc [​IMG] But... if they do manage to tuff it out and survive it, the pecking order eventually changes on it's own and someone else will be the low bird for a while. And thus goes the pecking order cycle, on and on [​IMG]

    Adding a few new things to their environment like mirrors, new dust bathing areas, a stack of bales of straw in their normal hang out spots etc or just changing things around quite a bit so everyone is out of their element for a while can help give the pecking order a better chance to change/reorganize too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't (sometimes nothing works tho [​IMG] ). Making sure there are extra feeders and waterers for the low birds helps make sure they all get enough to eat and drink.

    Only other thing I have to suggest is get a few new young, but grown birds for the ostricized birds to bond with... so they can hopefully form their own little sub-flock, or at least add a few more targets so the bullying is a little more spread out. When I have bullied birds I usually have the luxury (ha) of adding them to younger flocks and all is fine.

    Best of luck!
     
  3. TNGuineaGirl

    TNGuineaGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2011
    East Tennessee
    Well, that explains it. I have one Guinea who is an absolute terror. His name is “Frostine” pronounced like “Christine”. He is white Guinea and was named by my twelve year old niece. When we hatched him out he was a sweet snow white baby chick. We had no idea he would turn out to be such a troublemaker (and a male:)

    He bullies all the Guineas relentlessly and to make matters worse he tries to bully the dog. I have an eight month old livestock guardian dog, who finds chasing birds far more entertaining than guarding them. And I work and work with her to try and stop her from chasing the Guineas. I will correct her and get her to stop for the moment and then here comes Frostine charging the dog. He will arch his wings and just run as fast as he can and charge the dog. It is a mess, and I would relocate Frostine, but he is my Niece’s favorite Guinea and the most tame. He will eat out of your hand.

    So, it is no surprise that this is the cause of my two ostracized Guineas dilemma. I will try and contain him and see if that works. And the dog, even though she is not actively trying to guard the Guineas, really keeps the predators away. So hopefully the two lone Guineas can make it on their own for a little while.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to help me out with this situation and to help me better understand Guinea Fowl behavior!![​IMG]
     

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