Naive guinea w/ chickes question (I'm a semi-suburbanite too)

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by bantyshanty, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

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    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    I've probably scared off almost everyone with the posting title & set myself up, but here goes:

    I've been tempted to try guineas(s) out this year due to the warm winter here and the increase in bugs we're seeing already.
    I went to a poultry workshop this weekend and the instructor said that if you keep a single guinea--hen--with your chicken flock raised by a broody chicken or by hand by yourself, and you socialize it with you and the chickens from day one there won't be a problem with the guinea bullying the flock, and after a long acclimation period, the guinea hen will come back to the coop & flock at night.

    Is there truth to this? Could I brood a few guinea eggs under a good broody silkie, have her raise them, rehome the males at 8 weeks or whenever their calls come in, and keep one (with luck) female to be with my chickens, always in the run until about 6 months of age & out free ranging days, with a few chicken buddies, in again at dusk?
    Is this preposterous?

    I have a 2 acre property that's covered in pachysandra, vinca, is all hilly, and mostly wooded. Does this sort of property work for a guinea's insect needs? There is no grass. It's well-shaded, and there's plenty of cover from hawks.
    Will a guinea hen raised with very domestic chickens try to cross the busy road 500 feet from the coop, or will she fly to the forest across the creek?
    Will clipping wings make her want to stay with the chickens?


    A few loud "buck-wheats" during the day won't phase the neighbors at all, and cooped up at night are fine.
    We'd welcome the predator alarm and so would most of the neighbors.

    We have four roosters with our flock of about 30, all bantams.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    I don't scare easily, so I'll take this one on.. lol

    Hens, especially single Hens, raised with chickens generally won't have aggression issues (it's usually the males that get stupid in mixed flocks), BUT besides the fact that Guineas are most always happier in bigger flicks of their own kind, you can never say never and never say anything is for sure with Guineas, and your instructor should know all that, lol. The best single answer to all your questions is maybe. It really depends on the dynamics of the entire flock, the temperment of the lone Guinea, your coop/run set up and space per bird, the flock's diet and free range time etc. Sometimes a pair or trio of Guineas can be perfectly content in a flock of chickens (even a 50/50 split), and just keep to themselves (but typically the males do get stupid... and some chicken flocks can deal, some can't). Again, never say never with Guineas, because they WILL make a liar out of you eventually, lol.

    One Guinea will sound the alarm, but IMO... you are better off with an entire flock of Guineas (so they can watch each other's backs and there are more eyes looking out for danger) having a more effective alarm system, raising them in their own coop and working with/training them to come in at night and just allowing them to free range with your chickens by day. I do not own chickens, (just a ton of Guineas) but if I did, that's how I'd raise and house everybody. And just to repeat... never say never with Guineas, some people have perfectly happy/content mixed flocks of 20-40 birds or more that live together 24/7. Some have nothing but issues no matter how many Guineas they have.

    Your property sounds fine for one Guinea that's integrated into a flock of chickens, but unless your flock of chickens wanders far from the coop, neither will a lone Guinea. If she's raised with the chickens and thinks she's a chicken, she'll act like a chicken and want to stay with the flock. Guineas enjoy grass and greens so maybe you can plant a bed full of grass seeds for everybody to forage in.

    As far as will the Guinea cross the road goes... again, a big ol maybe. Clipping the wings only makes a Guinea more vulnerable to being taken by a predator, it does not slow them down much if they want to wander or scale a fence, until they go stupid on the wrong side of a fence or while being chased by a predator, then all of a sudden the clipped wings become an issue/handicap for them.

    Anyway, I say go for it, give it a try... hatch some Guineas under a broody, raise them with your chickens. If noise or aggression becomes a problem... re-homing, or freezer camp is always an option.
     
  3. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

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    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    Wow, thank you, PeepsCa, you are the educator, aren't you! I'll take it all as food for thought, and I definitely won't clip wings, for one thing. I'd love to have more guineas, but there is a post office within earshot, and the customers probably would complain with a flock of them, not to mention the neighbors waking in the night from them in summer. I'd have a separate coop for the couple guineas probably, as my flock is mostly bantams, and I would plant a patch of grass in a raised bed in the middle of the run. Grass won't grow on our hillside --it's rocky & wooded. Lots of weedy plants in the cracks to eat, though, and plenty of bugs living in the old forest timber & rocky crags. We have a flock of turkeys that crosses the road many days. The guineas may well be safe, and our chickens rarely go 20 feet from the coop & run. They know where it's safe. My dogs patrol that area often.
    I can 't wait to hatch some! I'll rehome them if they don't work out.
     
  4. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Glad to help, I've been thru heck and back with my Guineas so I've learned what typically works and what doesn't... I'll gladly share the good, the bad and the ugly of what I've learned along my "Guinea Journey" if it can help someone else get along with their own difficult, quirky but useful birds!

    Post some pics when you hatch some keets!

    [​IMG] Good luck
     

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