New Guineas: Your patience is appreciated

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by Dmontgomery, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    We have a mixed flock of 39 chickens. Last week a young Guinea hen showed up at our property. She has decided to stay, for some reason. She hangs out with some bantam Cochins who are about her size. Everybody was getting along fine, but my wife decided the Guinea (Ginny) was lonely. So today she went and bought 2 adult Guinea hens to keep her and the other 39 birds company. Ginny has slept in the coop with her adopted sisters since she got here and has free ranged with them since day one. Never any problems with her sleeping in the trees or wandering off.
    Now I get home and find out, from this forum, I have to keep the 2 new hens locked in the coop for 2 months before they realize they live here. Like I said my other chickens free range all day, sunup to sundown. They go in and out of the coop to lay eggs and do chicken stuff all day long. I have no way of isolating the Guineas in and still allowing free access for the chickens. I do not have another coop/run nor an isolation area to keep these new ones in.
    I'm not concerned that the new ones may choose to sleep in the trees, but I'd be a little upset if I let everybody free range tomorrow morning and the new Guineas left town permanently. Are the new ones going to run off or just act a little wilder than my chickens?
    I hope this rant was understandable.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Guinea fowl tend to be wanderers ()which is how your first bird arrived) and they may very well leave if released before bonding to your property. There is also the possibility that they may take your first bird with them.
     
  3. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Thank you for the response. I won't miss them.
    I left them in the coop by themselves for a few hours. They ate, drank, snacked, and walked the fence back and forth. They seemed to be settled down so I let about 1/2 my flock in check out the interaction. No major problems with the first meetings. After about 20 minutes Ginny came up with to the fence but wouldn't enter the coop. The three of them tried to chew a hole through the wire to get at each other. This went on for a few minutes and one of my chicken hens went over to see what was going on. One of the Guineas attacked her. (This same Guinea had already pecked at a couple other hens who were getting too curious about her). My top rooster came over to break up the fight and the Guinea attacked him! I let them go at it for several minutes, figuring they would work it out. But it's really hot here and I didn't want my lead rooster dying of heat stroke, so I grabbed the Guinea and separated them. I held her tight and gently explained ladies shouldn't be mean. I sat her down about 15' away and she ran back and attacked the rooster!
    Right now the door is wide open and they are free to stay or go. All my chickens went back to free range for the rest of the day, the 2 new Guineas are still in the run. Apparently they either can't find the gaping whole 6' away from them or they have decided to hang around. My wife won't be home for a couple more hours so I'm going to open more doors to the run and see if they will come out. If they sleep in the trees and free range all day, there might be less conflict. It doesn't appear Ginny wants to be with them anyway, so no loss to me.
     
  4. ludwing

    ludwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was a good question.

    long time ago, we hatched 15 guinea eggs under a chicken,the mother hen raised the keets nicely. out of 15, only four made it. 3 hens and one male. were happy about that having a male. the guineas were very tame and never roosted in trees or nest in the woods outside. although they were never cooped,froranging all day long with the chicken. one hen died with a sickness, left with 3. the other hen got attacked by an dog while she was protecting her keets.
    down with 2, the left hen seeiming to be sterile (not sure) because she never lay an egg (3 years old)
    we decided to buy a new guinehen that will raise the family again. our guineahen (VuVu) is smaller than the new hen. the guy who sold us the hen, said "you must lock her,or else she may run away and never come back" we were afraid of losing her.
    the first we decided to lock the three guines in one coop so they could get along, The male guinea was Displaying happly and catching food for her to eat. were afraid that the hen would fight over. although it is rare they sometimes take on. on the next morning we decided to let the hole three to freerange. It was like they were all hatched together,they bonded,but she was afraid of feeding in the hand like the others. about a week,she layed an egg,after three weeks she was broody.the family was back again. were so happy.
    thank you for the post. I' would also wish to know, why did my hen never lay an egg while her sister did?

    thank you
     
  5. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Update. Not only did the 2 new Guineas not leave, but now they have names. Gerdy is the nasty mean one. The rather docile one is now named Gertrude. Gerdy still attacks the original one (Ginny) whenever they are in proximity to each other. Fortunately we have plenty of acreage that they stay separated most of the time. The new ones don't seem to have a problem with any of the other chickens and come running for treats every morning and afternoon. They scratch the ground along side the RIR's, BR's, and RSL's with little fuss, but a fight starts if my big rooster, Elvis, or Ginny come within sight. When the fight starts, Gertrude just kinds of backs off with her head down like "I don't know these people".
    Both of Gerdy's feet are terrible deformed. The guy we got them from told us one of her feet was bad because she had gotten tangled in some string. She was already caged when we got there so we didn't inspect her. It is obvious someone had abused her for a long time for her feet to look like this, so now we understand why she is so mean. She's probably been picked on her whole life. She doesn't have any trouble walking or running, so she has adapted well, but it has got to be painful. So now we feel sorry for her too. Dang it. Does chicken math count if it's a Guinea?
    So last night was their 3rd night here. They waited until after everybody was already on the roost, then they snuck into the coop after dark and got up on the roost right next to all the other chickens. (They had been roosting in the trees until now). My wife locks them in at night and didn't tell me anything about it when she came to bed. I got up about 4am and went out to drink coffee on the back porch. I didn't know anything until the sun came up about 6:30. Then all of a sudden the ruckus started. That's when Elvis realized Gerdy was in his run. If Gerdy didn't fight so dirty, it would be funny to watch. When she and Ginny get into it, it's mostly just a lot of running and jumping. Nobody is getting hurt. But Gerdy grabs Elvis' neck feathers and pulls them out. If he had spurs the fights would be bloody.
    Getting Guineas for Ginny hasn't worked out because she has decided she only wants to be with the 3 Cochins. The 2 new Guineas are perfectly happy to be to themselves all day. I think this will all work out in the next weeks, if they still decide to stay. Since they have names now, I'd probably miss them if they leave, darn it.
     
  6. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Keep us updated. I like reading about your guinea soap opera lol.

    @ludwing If they were free range, likely she was laying and you just never found her nest.
     
  7. GlennLee

    GlennLee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, it's a game changer when you give them names! I think you're hooked. And you never know, they may eventually get used to each other and settle in. They're a bit like teenagers - bff's one day and fighting and shunning the next. One thing's for sure - with Guineas you never know what's going to happen, the unpredictable is the norm. Have fun and keep us updated. Sorry to hear about Gerdy's feet... that's a sensitive part for them. Sounds like she's got a good home now.
     
  8. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    The saga continues then...
    Just like y'all said, the fighting is getting less and less. Elvis the rooster seems to have accepted that Gerdy and Gertrude are staying. He passes by them without even a glance now. In the last 2 days, Ginny and Gerdy only argue when everyone is in the run together in the mornings. And the chasing back and forth only lasts a few seconds. Once I let them all out to free range, there doesn't appear to be any fussing. There is interaction, but no fighting.
    [​IMG]

    This is Ginny the Guinea with her new adopted family during breakfast. The rooster, Rufus, and Ginny are inseparable. The other 2 girls are Lucille and Henry (long story).
    [​IMG]
    This is Gerdy and Gertrude, left to right.
    [​IMG]
    The new Guineas stayed in the coop by themselves pretty much all day Wednesday and Thursday. I thought that was odd considering everyone said they like to roam. I started to worry they might be sick. We passed out snacks about 5pm last night and they sprinted out to get their share. They've been out most of the day today. So they weren't sick, just lazy and they really, really like the layer pellets in the hanging feeder. You said unpredictable...
     
  9. GlennLee

    GlennLee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for posting the pics. You know what they say about pictures - you've at least got 3,000 more words there! Great!

    I only have a flock of guineas - got them as keets 3 months ago - and those are all the birds I've ever known. I don't have to worry about them interacting with other poultry, just themselves and they do get very aggressive at times.

    I did have to get rid of one male. He was an adult bird given to me by a friend around the same time I got the keets. He had a history of aggression with his mate and all of the other poultry in his previous flock - ducks, chickens and turkeys. He ran out two favorite (of course) hens and they never came back. We had hoped that he might be okay when he was put in a flock of just Guineas. For the first 6 weeks, the keets were completely separate - under the heat lamps and Henry had the run of the roost - not ideal. I then moved the keets in the coop in 3 large connected dog crates - again not ideal, but all I had to work with at the time.

    When they finally interacted it was a bit rough. He was VERY aggressive with the keets. My BYC Forum peeps (so thankful for them) gave a lot of support and encouragement and said it was all normal - which most of it was. That was something I wanted to know not having a reference for working with Guineas or poultry of ANY kind. So, it's good to get feedback from the forum - great place to learn and share. I did end up getting rid of Henry after working with it for a month. He just wasn't allowing the flock to free range in peace. He was a bully and would dive bomb CONSTANTLY, breaking up the flock and pulling off the females for his little harem. Can't say as I blame him for trying, but the bottom line for me was - it wasn't "good for the flock" and that's my criteria on dealing with individual members' behavior.

    It sounds as though you are trying to do the same. Making sure there's an acclimation period, but always keeping the overall welfare of the flock in mind. I'm glad that they are working into your existing gang of peeps. It can be touch and go with other poultry from what people have posted. Some have good results and some don't. Seems as though you are making progress. Good for you! They are quirky birds, and you never know what you're going to experience. Keeps you on your toes and there's always an element of surprise. Most of us who have them like that about Guineas - that's why we keep them.

    As far as them wanting to stay in the coop, another member posted that hers did the same. They must feel real safe there - that's not a bad thing. Guineas basically just do what works best for them - it doesn't matter what it is and that's why they came out for the treats. You are right, they probably would rather stay in and eat the crumbles than be out foraging. I only feed mine in the early evening about an hour before sunset to get them to come back to the coop. I know it's different when you have other poultry to consider. It's a lot of trial and error, observation and modification.

    You have a beautiful set up there to work with. That's a big help in the process, having options. Keep posting and enjoy! We all appreciate listening to the tales!
     
  10. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Due to bad weather all the birds started copping up a little earlier than usual last night. It was only 7pm and a bunch were already inside and up on the roosts. I walked in to find all 3 Guineas on the same roost, sitting side by side by side. Gerdy and Gertrude got spooked and flew down. I kinda think they didn't want me to know they actually like each other. (Note to self: always carry your camera in the coop. You don't know what you will find)
    I came in and told my wife, who didn't seen surprised. Then she shares a picture she took the night before. Come to find out Rufus, Ginny's rooster man, sleeps on the roost with one of his wings covering Ginny. Apparently that is the chicken equivalent of spooning. She took this picture Friday night before they were all settled in.
    [​IMG]
    Elvis is the rooster to the left that Gerdy fights with or at least used to fight with, 3 whole days ago. There is another roosting area this same size on the opposite wall of the coop, so it's not like they had to sleep together. Flock integration at work. I can't take any of the credit.
     

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