New kid on the guinea block

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by leonphelps, May 15, 2011.

  1. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2011
    Bucks County PA
    Hello,

    Recently purchased 16 guinea hens as keets. They are now a month old and have their second feathers. They are amazing how fast they grow. I used a box for a brooder for a week, then they were jumping so high that I put them in the coop I had built. I have a coop that is about 6x7x6. There is an underside that is fenced in with some small grass. The coop has a small run next to it about 6x12 with a roof over it. All of this has welded wire fence with chicken wire metal at the bottom. I opted for clips on the gate to keep the openings as small as possible.

    I have lots of questions....

    instead of only pine sawdust, I put grass clippings in my coop. The birds seemed to devour the clippings. I am sure there were insects in the clippings, so I figured this would be a great starter for their life on the lawn.

    Today is the first day with the coop door open to the run. Three birds are outside singing away for the rest of them to hear. I plan on leaving the coop door open for good now. Lows at night are supposed to be in the 60's. Ill leave the heat lamp on for nights but soon they will be making heat on their own.

    Has anyone else had their keets pick up sawdust and put it in their water? Mine do it each day and I am wondering if I should keep my water out of the coop from now on.

    As for my old sawdust and mess from the coop, should I just throw it away? There is feed mixed with the organics and I do not want mice around eating it.

    I have seen my keets eating mosquitos at night already. Pretty neat. I am twelve ticks into the season on myself, so the insect population hopefully will decrease.

    My birds are now making grown up poop, so at five weeks this should tell you their size.

    I have one nesting box on the side and plan on two more. One will be at the top of the coop (10' in the air) and two others will be at 4' on the side. All of the boxes are 1'x2'. Should be able for two to nest as I have read.

    I have cleaned out the coop once in the five weeks. What is the average time to clean out your coop?

    How old will these birds be when they begin to lay eggs?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Recommended coop space per bird for adult Guineas is about4 sq ft, so things may get a little tense come their first breeding season and also during lockdowns during bad weather.

    Since they are eating grass clippings, if you haven't provided it already, be sure to provide them with grit so they don't get impacted crops.

    Keets usually kick bedding material into their waters, while scratching for feed tidbits in the bedding (I've never seen mine put it in their waterers tho). It helps to raise the waterers up on a large brick or block of wood, or get the hanging kind of waterers and try to have the rim of the waterers about level with the hight of their backs. They stay cleaner raised up.

    I usually compost all my used bedding materials... you could start a compost pile away from any areas you might get mice populations started. Or yes, you could throw it away, or bag it up and offer it to someone that already has a compost pile and gardens, it's great fertilizer.

    I clean my coops every 2-4 weeks during wet weather (sometimes weekly if they can't go out at all), less frequently when the weather is dry and they are out free ranging more. The deeper the bedding the less frequently I have to clean mine out, as the birds keep it churned up and the poop spread out so it dries quickly and there isn't a nasty odor. Keeping a dry coop is key to controlling odors (and disease).

    Your nesting boxes sound great... but I wouldn't hold your breath on the Guinea Hens using them. Mine prefer pieces of plywood leaned against the wall (and secured so they do not fall o the birds), but if given the chance they will 9 times out of 10 go find an unsafe place in the bushes to lay their eggs.

    The Hens can start laying at 16 wks of age so you may end up with a few eggs this fall, but they probably won't start laying seriously until next spring. I'd switch everybody over to a good quality layer feed and provide free choice oyster shell starting at about 16 weeks just in case.

    Best of luck with your flock, post some pics if you can [​IMG]
     
  3. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2011
    Bucks County PA
    Here are some photos of my coop/run.

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    where I plan on putting the top nesting box (for the silkie eventually)

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    Cost me about $300 to make. Mostly used/leftover stuff. Have the materials to finish it when the birds start roaming around so I dont spook them with the hammer.
     
  4. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    Pretty fancy, price isn't too bad either, good job! Those are some lucky Guineas [​IMG]
     
  5. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2011
    Bucks County PA
    well the rest of the herd came out of the coop today. they all walked around the small run and then at about 6:30 went back in the house. I put the heat lamp on because it is about 70 and headed down to 60 tonight. They took the hint and all walked slowly back in the coop. It was like on cue. First step on getting them trained to come back to the house.

    Bought them some chicken grit. Container said it was granite. Is that safe? Sounds odd that they would eat rocks.

    They also knocked their small waterer over. Guess they will wait until tomorrow until I bring their large one out of the coop and clean it up.

    Thanks for all of the information. I am now looking for a Silkie. A good mother will be needed and I do not want to wait until the last minute for the chicks. [​IMG]
     
  6. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    Southeast texas
    Nice coop setup,you did a great job.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2011
    Bucks County PA
    now to find me a couple black silkies. [​IMG]
     
  8. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2011
    Bucks County PA
    finished another side of the coop, got me two silkies, and had dinner outside with my flock. good day for me.
     
  9. kyle7630

    kyle7630 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Semora NC
    Quote:Just wait till you see them guineas chasing each other in circles. You'll crack up at them.
     
  10. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

    247
    5
    103
    May 15, 2011
    Bucks County PA
    already doing that. have a pontoon awning frame, they are playing king of the hill on it. then they eat, then repeat.

    doing well going back to coop at night.
     

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