Let the chase begin!

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by NancyP1, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. NancyP1

    NancyP1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Must be spring is in the air! The great guinea chase is on. Man, can those things run. Time to cover the run and keep them locked in. Seems the girls should be laying eggs by now, but I haven't found any. They are at least 8 months old..I would think I should get some eggs soon!
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Actually letting them run around chasing each other is probably a better idea, their aggression gets pent up when they are penned (too many hormones) and they can end up fighting and drawing blood (on each other or on your other poultry if you have a mixed flock). The breeding season chasing routine is how the males show off for the Hens, trying to win them over, and it's how they eventually pair up and breed... the best runners are usually the first to get chosen, lol. Your fertility rates will most likely be higher if they are let out to free range every day... but yah, hunting eggs can be a hassle.
     
  3. NancyP1

    NancyP1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Peeps, you are right as usual. I was planning on keeping them in the run in the mornings, letting them out to free range in the afternoon. (hoping for morning eggs!) But wow! Those nuts sure can run! And they just keep it up, sometimes they will do the chase for 1/2 an hour or so. Totally fun to watch, but sometimes I also step in to give the one getting chased a break!
    I was thinking of trying to make them some hiding places in the run, it's a pretty good sized area....maybe with some milk crates on their sides with some pine branches on top to "hide" a potential nest? Life is just too short to spend hours looking for guinea nests! (spent a couple of hours yesterday looking in the places in my pasture where they hang out) Nothing here is getting green yet, I am in upstate NY...weather has been great, but I think any eggs I did find would be frozen, nites are still quite cold.
     
  4. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    I was just speaking from personal experience with my flocks... breeding season and being penned is not always the best combo for Guineas, they are just too high strung. Even if they just get out part of the day, it definitely helps the season go more smoothly.

    Private places in the run for the Hens to lay eggs behind is a good idea, but I'd make sure it's nothing that a picked on bird can get trapped/cornered behind, you don't want to find a bloody or dead bird. My Hens like to use the medium sized dog crates bedded with straw (with the door taken off), a recycling bin with hay or straw in it, and also pieces of plywood leaned against the wall (secured so nothing falls on the birds). I also made them a wooden frame out of some scrap lumber that I stapled a bunch of small pine branches to and leaned that up against the wall too.... that ate all the pine needles off of it in about a week, but it was still a favorite shared laying spot most of the season, lol.

    Your Hens may start laying in the mornings, but they will progressively lay a little later and later each day until they skip a day (my Hens skip a day every 10-14 days or so). And not all Hens lay at the same time or skip the same day. I keep my breeding flocks in until the Hens lay each day... and some days they do not get much free range time, or none at all, but it definitely saves me the egg hunting hassles. And I don't lose any broody Hens or piles of to predators. During the off season they free range all day tho.

    Good luck, hope you get lots of eggs!
     
  5. NancyP1

    NancyP1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Thanks Peeps. I didn't think about one getting beat up in a little hiding spot. I have all kinds of stuff to make little nest boxes out of. I will have to come up with something with an exit too! This bunch has been out free ranging since they were big enough. It is time to keep them penned for part of the day. They decided to go into the road a few days ago and stop the school bus. (not a bad thing, that bus driver flys down this road). But I can't have them in the road. They do come pretty good when I call them though.
    I would love to try to hatch some out again! Seems everyone around here is wanting keets. It's suppose to be a bad year for ticks here due to the mild winter. Have you ever used a black netting stuff for a run cover? I am not sure what it's called, it might be deer netting. My run is pretty good sized and I'm thinking of using some high-tensile wire fastened to the coop to the posts of the run, then zip ties to attach either that netting or some chicken wire. Hopefully it will work.
     
  6. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Yep, penning them part time becomes necessary sometimes... especially for safety reasons.

    If there's a way to kill itself or get hurt in the coop or run, a Guinea usually finds it [​IMG] If I have learned one thing about these PITA birds, it's that it's always safe to assume if somethin' stupid can happen to or with a Guinea, it will [​IMG] So I always try to plan around all their stupid moments and think of all the what-ifs before they do, lol.

    I've never used just the netting on top of my runs except to hold tarps down so they don't flap around in the wind and wear out so fast (usually shade tarps), but I know many that do use the netting to cover their runs and it works great for them. I am sure it will work fine for you too, especially they way you have it planned out. They make different strengths/qualities, some are inexpensive, some are outrageous. The major draw back to that stuff (no matter what ya pay for it, lol) is that it's not predator proof. But if you are going to be closing everybody in the coop each night you shouldn't have any losses. Oh and there's always the off chance that a bird will get tangled in it some how (leave it to a Guinea!).

    Good luck with your project, and your egg collecting!
     

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