New! Need help! Looking for birds & advice!

BusyBearMama

Songster
5 Years
Apr 25, 2014
712
29
128
New York State
Hi! This week we made the decision to start our homestead with guinea hens, up to two dozen we are thinking? We have over 5 acres and the land has gone pretty wild or been wild I guess is more accurate, back in the day it was a hayfield mostly but now its people's homes And a state forest/ park. Behind us is a farm and the forest but we are residential enough that we can see neighbors from the road! Its perfect but there are ticks and its going to be so much work to get everything going and about 6 years before its a functioning 'farm' small but what we need you know. Chickens are our project next spring and setting up for goats but this year we are just clearing the land or everything, doing some tilling and planting a small garden. But we're having a hard time with pests. Its no fun and my husband is all over my guinea hen idea ( which really stems from watching a pheasant eating bugs in my back yard sneakily around a goose doing the same a few days ago. I looked it up and it seems these lovely birds love to clean land for people. I could probably get the tractor store to order keets as I do want a couple dozen but I'm hoping to get at least a few hens off the bat and get them out patrolling. We will build them a nice little house they can sleep in at night and I read they can be enticed in with some mixed grains. But otherwise they'll be loose. Which is where question number one comes up. How do I convince them to stay on our land and out of the road and away from my neighbors land... If possible. We don't know people yet and I do think they will be somewhat irritated if suddenly there is a flock of hens in their garden. I have a dog. She won't go after them or bark but will they be afraid? Or are they cocky like roosters and geese and ducks and just ignore everyone who isn't chasing them. If I get a few males will they form family groups and reproduce and possibly add to my flock? Will eagles take them? I feel like they look tough like they won't have much to worry about. Chickens always look like prey to me like I think I will keep our chickens in a run but these could run loose? Do they leave and go live in trees? They fly right? If I can find some for a good price ( speaking of... What's a good price for a yearling/ any other age?) how would I transport them? Dog kennel? Oh the questions I have. If I can't find them and I must start with keets... Can someone please describe a cost effective way if growing these birds well and at what point I can release them. Any and all advice is appreciated I firmly believe in all things one must do the best they can so I need info ;) and I would love photos of enclosures. Also if anyone knows anywhere I can get them ( Owego Ny ideally or Newark valley?) I would love a reference, I would happily take a family of very destructive hens off someone's hands and I promise not to eat them I just want their services for which they will earn their keep. Thank you all for reading and for every response.
 

livenwpeeps

Chirping
8 Years
Jun 6, 2011
129
2
91
King William
I want to welcome you to the forum and you have come to the right place for answers. I ususally don't post a lot here but right now, things are soooo slow at work so I thought I would answer some of your questions. First, I want to say is that guineas do roam and they may get into the road and into your neighbors yards. I live on over 900 acres and the road is my biggest problem. It's like they are attacted to the road and the big field across the street. Guineas are also very loud birds. They will yell and scream at the littlest thing and your neighbors might not care for all the noise. So you might want to talk to your neighbors to feel them out because some people will want the tick and bug petrol in their yards. But there are some people that won't . Guineas march to their own drummer and are not like chickens. They are great for bug control. They have personality and are fun to watch. They are not like roosters or geese. They won't chase a dog, cat or person but they will stay right there and scream bloody murder for what seems like hours. My barn cats are terrified of the guineas because of all the noise they make. I have seen my guineas (around 40 of them) stand around a big black snake and scream so loud that the snake if it could have, would have jumped up and ran away screaming.

Ok, if you get adult guineas you need to keep them locked up in a coop/run for about 4 weeks (straight - no out time at all) to teach them where home is. So you will need a coop built before you bring them home. If you just turn them loose when you get them home, they may leave. Plus you want them to learn to go back into the coop at nights so they will be safe. If not they will roost in trees at nights and are highly likely to be something's late night snack. Yes, if you add males they will pair up for that season and then you will get eggs but finding the eggs and hatching eggs is awhole different aspect. Yes, eagles will eat them. So will owls, hawks, foxes, bob cats etc...... Yes they can fly.

As for the price for an adult guinea, I don't know. I started out with keets that I purchased from a farmer for $5.00 each. Now I hatch their eggs with either a broody chicken and/or in an incubator. When I want to add different colors, I have ordered eggs from ebay or on this forum and incubating them. So you are right to learn as much as you can before you get them. They aren't as easy to raise/keep as most people think. I have chickens, turkeys and guineas. They all go into the same coop at nights and they all free range during the day. They all do their own thing. I hope I answered most of your questions but please feel free to ask away. There are some really nice people on this forum and they know their guineas. Good luck!!
 
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