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New Guineas- how to keep them home?

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by CurlyLindsay, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. CurlyLindsay

    CurlyLindsay In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2009
    I am picking up a trio of year-old guineas tomorrow morning. I've been told guineas have a tendency to fly away especially when they weren't raised on your property- what can I do to keep them from flying off?

    (I don't have a big coop to keep them in. We're working on putting a ceiling on a horse stall but for now all I have is a giant breed size wire dog crate)

    How soon can I let them free range? We are getting eaten up by ticks and these birds could feast! [​IMG]

  2. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    The best way is to keep them up for a few weeks. At least 1 or 2 weeks. Then I turn 1 out wait 2 or 3 days and turn another out, and so on.
  3. TriciaHowe

    TriciaHowe Mother Hen

    Nov 11, 2008
    Trenton, FL
    B. Saffles Farms :

    The best way is to keep them up for a few weeks. At least 1 or 2 weeks. Then I turn 1 out wait 2 or 3 days and turn another out, and so on.

    Yep, just make sure you only turn 1 out at first. It will stay close. They do not like to be seperated. They are seriously goofy birds!​
  4. feathersgalore

    feathersgalore Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    Central Ohio
    I keep new birds penned up at least 6 weeks. It takes guineas a long time to learn to come into a coop at night and if they don't they usually end up being eaten.
  5. maine chicks

    maine chicks Songster

    Nov 10, 2008
    Yes, six weeks where they can see who they will be living with. They will take off if you don't let them know where home is, and they are laughable to watch but not fast learners. SIX WEEKS. Sorry about yelling-just need to get the point across [​IMG]
  6. ShadyGlade

    ShadyGlade Songster

    Quote:I have to agree with this I would not let them all out together for at least six weeks. If you are getting breeding trio after a week or two let one of the females out, and alternate who you let out so that they all become accustomed to being out and being penned up. At first you DO NOT want to let a bonded pair out together because you could lose them both if its his "best girl". If you put the wire crate in your barn, shed etc.. & set food and water next to it for the one who is out they'll get in the habit of returning there at dusk. You really do want to get them in doors to roost if you can because sooner or later you'll lose them if you don't. A group of mine roosted for several years with no problem in a tree behind our house. They were only 20 foot off of our back patio so I'd always smugly assumed that they were safe. As we were enjoying a late cup of coffee & conversation out there one hot summer night before bed guinea fowl started fleeing the tree (in the total darkness) and landing around the picnic table. We got a spot light & found a large mama 'coon had climbed that tree without our noticing anything and grabbed a guinea off the foost under our noses. So I'll repeat myself here - you will not regret teaching them to roost indoors. Enjoy your guineas they are entertaining AND very useful birds.
  7. CurlyLindsay

    CurlyLindsay In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2009
    Would they be happier/more productive in regards to insect-easting if I clipped their wings just this once and set them up in a medium sized fenced area? (I'd shut them in their cage at night, if I could get them in)

    I feel bad keeping any animal confined in close quarters 24/7 [​IMG]

  8. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    You won't be able to catch them. They're seriously quick. Just keep them up for 6 weeks knowing that two hours after you release them, they won't remember any discomfort. Guineas are about as smart as goldfish, but much more fun!
  9. ShadyGlade

    ShadyGlade Songster

    Quote:Yes they would be more productive in their role of insect eating if they were loose during the day. However having said that clipping their wings won't keep them on your property. Most of the guinea fowl I've had leave just walked away. One of my males made it over seven miles from home. The odd thing was he was hatched at our place. He simply left after he lost his mate. I don't really understand guinea fowl any better after having them for seven years BUT I can fairly accurately predict their behavior now.
    From my experience & steep learning curve in guinea fowl I can say with confidence:
    #1. If a guinea fowl up to and including fully feathered out ends up in water it will die. We lost some that were roosting in the goat shed one bitterly cold winter stretch. We could not understand why we were finding dead guinea fowl regularly in a water bucket in the goat shed. It seems that they were enjoying roosting on the rim of the bucket for the heat that escaped overnight from the surface of the water. Unfortunately when one would slip into the bucket there it would stay and drown. Keep in mind that if they had stood up they were tall enough to breath & certainly they could have jumped high enough to get out of the bucket. Yet we lost at least half a dozen to that particular guinea death trap. I have found them drowned in mortar pans that we fill with water for our ducks to swim in. A mortar pan is what maybe six inches deep?
    #2. Even if you clip the wings a guinea will climb a six foot fence. This lesson was brought home to us when we started keeping some for breeding purposes one summer in chain link dog kennels. We at first could not understand how we were finding them out again in the evenings. Eventually we saw a guinea flapping like a hummingbird while climbing foot over foot up the chain link.
    #3. If you decide to let them raise their own offspring - lock them up until the keets are completely feathered out. We had been fairly successful one summer at getting the hens to hatch their own broods but learned that the moms would take the keets out into the dew covered grass and lose a whole clutch at a time. If a guinea keet gets damp it WILL DIE. SO we kept them in the next summer for about four weeks. We finally were allowing the moms, dads & keets out to free range during the day when we got a sudden torrential down pour. Yep, you probably guessed it the mostly feather out keets died. I went looking when I realized they hadn't come in from the rain and found dead and dying keets strung out across a field.
    #4. Contrary to what I believed male guineas will fight. And if you have an extreme imbalance in male to female ratio (say 8 out of 13 male) they WILL KILL EACH OTHER. Our first year we started with 24 keets. The next spring we noticed that the thirteen surviving guinea fowl were doing that "cute lift the wings and race like road runners" competition for pairing rights. Then we noticed every couple of days we'd find a ratty looking beat up dead male guinea fowl hidden somewhere at evening chores. We thought that maybe one of our roosters was beating the tar & feathers out of them as we had seen kicking matches between guinea & roosters as well as guineas & turkeys. Nope eventually we find a pair locked in mortal combat behind a calf hutch.

    I hope that some of this helps you with your "adventures in guinea fowl".
  10. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    I agree, keep them enclosed in a run for 6 weeks. Then remove the top. They will fly out and fly back in.

    This is the method I have used for 3yrs.

    If you keep guinea's enclosed all day long, what is the purpose of having them? They will rid your yard of ticks and bugs. They will also eat weed seeds and lots of other stuff. I wouldnt clip the wings. They can fly quite well and it keeps them safer from prey. They will come back in the coop at dark. That is when I go out and lock up my coop for the night, just to be safe. In the summer when its really hot, they will roost high in the trees and camoflauge really well.
    Last edited: May 2, 2009

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